31 July 2013

Travelling With Your Dog

Travelling with your dog requires some planning and preparation, but according to a recent online survey conducted by poller Harris Interactive, almost three-quarters of pet owners worry about their pets if they travel without them. This article offers some guidelines to help make you and your furbaby's trip as safe and stress-free as possible.

Your dog needs an identification tag or microchip with your current contact information, and to have his or her collar on at all times.

Make sure your animal is in good health, and that all vaccinations are up to date. If you are flying or crossing a border, check to see what sort of health certificates will be required.

If your trip requires a new travel kennel, don’t introduce it to your dog at the last minute. Let your pet get used to the kennel before you take him or her on the trip. Place some treats and/or a favorite toy in there to build positive associations, and if possible, take him in the kennel on a short outing to a place they enjoy.

Travelling by air

If you are flying, make sure that you have made a reservation for your dog, and expect to pay extra. If possible, book a direct flight. Familiarize yourself with your airline’s pet policies. For example, a typical airline will require that a dog being brought into the cabin as carry on be healthy, have proof of up to date vaccinations, weigh 22 pounds or less (with carrier) and be confined to a ventilated kennel that will fit under the seat in front of you.

Pack some kibble, a collapsible water bowl and poop bags in your purse or carry on, just in case your checked luggage goes missing. Walk your dog before you head for the airport.

Your pet will need to be taken out of its carrier to pass through the airport’s security screening and metal detector with you, so this is not the time for studded collars and any unnecessary tags.

During the flight, most airlines will require that the dog remain in its kennel. Bring along a chew toy or treat to help keep it occupied. You can also ask the flight attendant for ice cubes to give it.

Larger animals will have to travel separately as checked baggage or cargo in a hard-sided ventilated kennel with no wheels. The kennel must be big enough for them to stand, lie down and turn around in. During the summer months, many airlines place restrictions on or prohibit pets as checked baggage or in cargo do to extreme heat in cities such as Miami, Las Vegas, Houston and Phoenix.

Consult with your vet if you are considering sedating your dog before traveling, as the medication can impair their breathing. Some vets recommend you give your pet Gravol – consult a professional about the dosage. Herbal calming remedies like Bach Rescue Treatment or Comfort Zone are also helpful for animals. Spray some in its mouth, or on its paws for it to lick off.

American airports are now being legislated to provide “doggie rest rooms” for those traveling with assistance animals, and many Canadian airports are following suit. Most are outdoor, but some airports offer indoor pet bathrooms – San Diego’s is complete with a fire hydrant and turf. If your dog is pad-trained, you can always carry one with you and use it in a regular washroom.

Travelling by car

It’s recommended that pets ride in the back seat, not in the front – if you are in an accident, your car’s airbag can injure, or even kill, your pet. Doggie seat belts and car booster seats are also available for the safety conscious. Don’t leave the windows rolled down enough for them to jump out, and be aware that dogs that hang their head out the window can suffer dry and gritty eyes.

Try and keep the direct sun off your pet using a window shade. Give him water and a chance to stretch his legs every couple of hours. If you’re crossing the Canada-US border, be aware that there are restrictions on what types of dog food can be brought into the US – products containing sheep, lamb, or goat are not allowed. Bring your pet food in its original unopened packaging.

NEVER leave a dog alone in a car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked, even in the shade. A car in the shade can be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the outdoors. On a 78°F day (25.5°C), the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120°F (37.8° to 48.8°C) in just minutes. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), your pet can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes.

Pet-friendly accommodations

More and more motels and hotels are accepting pets, including high-end hotels.. If you’re travelling in style, New York's Hotel Pennsylvania won the Pet Friendly Hotel of the Year award in 2012. A host hotel for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Hotel Pennsylvania offers a large 24/7 in-door doggie spa including a canine gym with doggie treadmills, a walking area, bathing, grooming, and a beauty salon, a comfort station, his and her doggie bathrooms, and even a canine masseuse and an animal communicator.

John Hoskins is a travel consultant. He also is a proud dog owner and his articles mainly appear on travel websites. Visit the Visitors to Canada insurance link before your next trip.

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30 July 2013

Choose The Right Number And Type of Luggage For Your Travel

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right luggage for your travel and how many you should take.  Not all countries will have the same baggage size restriction as the US does. It pays to be aware of them too so you can take that into consideration when you choose your luggage and decide how many you will take.

My family and I have been traveling for more than a decade since we became employed in the airline industry. We actually have several luggages at home. I know, how can one have too many luggages. Well, to be honest, we have 2 hard cases and 3 soft ones and because there is 3 of us traveling, having 5 luggages in possession is reasonable. Why you might ask, here's why and some other tips to consider to choose the right luggage for your travel.

Decide on the number of bag you will carry according to the weight restriction and duration of your trip

That is why we have 5 but we don't all use them in one go. We only take a maximum of 3 checked ins and 1 hand carry (usually the hard case stroller to put our gadgets in) when traveling to Asia and Europe. However, it is a different in the US. If we know we are going to shop and not go to other states, we carry the usual allocation of 2 pieces of luggages. In this case, we take 1 hard case luggage for check in and the rest soft ones.

Consider the weight you are willing to spare for a hard case versus the soft one

If you are like me who loves to shop overseas, then consider carrying a soft case because you can spare the extra weight for your purchases. Do carry a small hard case trolley for any breakables you will buy to protect your fragile purchased goods.

Note how many of you are traveling

If it is just you then stick with the airline restrictions in the number of luggages and the weight. Usually, if you are a sole traveler, you tend to carry less stuff so a backpack or an overnighter will be right. If the whole family are traveling then it is okay to have few hard cases and few soft ones to balance the weight around.

Take note of the things you will pack

What you will pack in your bag will be a factor to note of since a hard case bag will be suited to protect fragile objects while the soft ones will be good to carry clothing stuff.

Take your pick.

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29 July 2013

Spice Up Your Travel with a Bit of Activity

Photo credit: yahoo.com/images

Train Tour of India

Indian train tours have been a delightful source of inspiration for film makers, poets, authors and even just normal travelers seeking a charming break from boring routines. They offer an exclusive view of the Indian country side: from the tea estates in the Southern most point of India to the Western most corner of Gujarat.

You can fly cheaply into India with Go Air, and then hop on board The IndianMaharaja Deccan Odyssey which is commonly known as the Palace on Wheels as only the royalty of India travelled in this elegant train from Mumbai to Delhi.  Enjoy fascinating onboard activities as the scenic beauty of the Thar Desert passes by. This is just one of the 5 luxury trains that ply through India. For royal treatment, book early and relax deeply aboard these opulent trains.

The Toy train that connects New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling is a fascinating tiny steam train once used to transport potatoes. The hill railway is now considered as a World Heritage Site. The train trudges through the dense forests and vast tea plantations giving you a splendid close view of tea pickers with baskets strapped on their backs.

Photo credit: yahoo.com/images

Golf Holiday in Turkey

Turkey is a place of mysteries, a melting pot where the Middle East meets the Mediterranean. It has a fascinating heritage bragging of thirteen successive civilizations. Turkey also boasts of some of the finest golf courses in the whole of the Mediterranean region.

For a relaxing seaside Turkish golf experience, Belek is ideal located in the Antalya region. Antalya is also home to the PGA Sultan course curved through lush green eucalyptus and pine described as one of Europe’s finest and attached to Turkeys finestgolf resorts. The magnificent National Antalya is reasonably routed across gently rolling terrain and mature pine and eucalyptus trees. The Antalya Pasha winds its way through the trees and crowns the Sultan beautifully.

If you are awed and inspired by nature visit the Old Course at Gloria golf resort which lies at the beautiful forest at the feet of the Taurus Mountains. It is a challenging course: to score in this course you have to hit the ball well because of the tight tee shots and greens.  

Photo credit: yahoo.com/images
Surfing in Morocco

Morocco is a place where seemingly all adventures take place: surfing is still in its bucket list of exciting activities you can engage in. Agadir is endowed with some of the best waves and most diverse surf spots in the world.  From the most experienced surfers to the basic learner, Agadir is ideal for a memorable surfing holiday.

Essaouira beach has the perfect conditions for beginners, the excitement of catching your very first magical wave, the fear of the waters and the desire to become one with nature will hook you on to surfing forever. For experienced surfers theTaghazout region has more challenging spots like Sidi Kaouki, The Cave and Imessouane.

Imessouane is a small fishing village with two renowned surfing spots, the Bay and the Cathedrals. At the Bay you can catch a wave as high as 500 meters from the harbor all the way to the beach. You will also be fascinated by the goats climbing trees!

This post comes from Tom at Top BackpackingDestinations

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27 July 2013

17 Reasons Why Canada Is A Better Place To Live Than The USA Infographic

17 Reasons Why Canada is a Better Place to Live than the USA [Infographic] - Via WebHostingReviews.ca
Source: WebHostingReviews.ca

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Find The Perfect Cabin at BrokenBowLakeCabins.com

While you can find Beavers Bend cabins at BrokenBowLakeCabins.com, you still need to learn how to make your new getaway as cozy as possible. After all, that is the main draw of a cabin. It has a warm, rustic feel that truly lets you relax in a way that may just be impossible when you are at home. As far as decorations are concerned, there are a few key points to consider. 

The main thing to think about, at least when it comes to creating an inviting atmosphere, is the color scheme. You need to choose colors that are warm, rather than those that are cool. For example, red and orange are considered warm, while blue is considered cool. This is not to say that you cannot use blue at all, but it should not be the dominant color for bedding, wall hangings, paintings and whatever else you have in the cabin. You want your dominant colors to be warm, and it will give the whole place that sort of atmosphere. 

Next, you should think about actual comfort. Use things that are soft and cozy; this is especially important when picking out couches and chairs. You want every piece of furniture to look like you could fall asleep on it. You can extend this principle to your other decorations, though. You can use blankets as wall hangings or to hang over the backs of chairs. They add color and design, but they also add warmth and comfort when it is needed.

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26 July 2013

Review - Centro Yas Island in Abu Dhabi

I haven't stayed in any Rotana chains of hotels. Some of the properties of Rotana are expensive and some reasonable. Centro Yas Island Rotana Hotel is an exception. It is a 3-star hotel with a feel and look of a 5-star property.

The moment I stepped inside the mod-looking lobby of the hotel, I wondered if it was really a 3-star property because it didn't give that vibe. I felt I was inside a 5-star hotel and nothing less than that. My perception about how this contemporary hotel could be a 5-star rather than 3 was further validated with the remarkable customer service. I think, in all our travels, this was the first time we checked in for less than 5 minutes. And we have our rooms keys after that, no fuss at all.

Here are my findings on the hotel to help you decide to book your stay accordingly when you are in Abu Dhabi based on the room type we booked.

Room type: 2 Double Bedrooms last 3-4 May, 2013
Rate per night per room: AED 200 using our company's discount code
Breakfast was not included but we booked ours for AED 45/person as opposed to AED 60 if you dine directly to the restaurant/bistro.

What I like:

The very spacious rooms with floor to ceiling window which makes the room bright and provides a great vista of the surrounding community.

The beds are so comfortable.

The rooms are very clean and organized.

The bathroom is spacious and a wide vanity area.

The linens smell so good; not those typical industrial-scented fabrics.

The wifi is FREE! What can I ask for?

The free use of gym/pool/parking facilities for all guest.

The very efficient, effective and cordial staff (everywhere in the hotel premise!).

The location is in Yas Island, just in front of the DU Arena and near the beach front. And a mere 5 mins. drive to the Ferrari World.

A very quiet community with clean surrounding and well maintained road.

Fast check-in and check-out.

Other amenities:
Complimentary coffee/tea/water
Hair dryer
Flat TV
A/C rooms with thermostat control
Free covered guest parking (basement)
Free access to the pool/gym
24 hours deli-shop
Extra pillow
Safety deposit box
Wake-up call/alarm

What I don't like:

Very expensive commodities in the deli-shop.  I bought a soda can for Dhs 11! It was like 650% mark up on the normal selling price of a small soda can which is Dhs 1.50 if bought outside.

There is a small chip on the night stand's marble top in our room (Room 480)

The broken sliding door in Room 483 (where my mom-in-law stayed)

The peeled wall paper near Room 483 (see photo below)

My recommendation:

A big yes! The little nuisances can be overlooked compared to the great service, affordable price and wonderful location the hotel has to offer.

The whole experience in this hotel is nothing but very satisfying. This is one property I will not shy from recommending to family and friends. I am seldom impressed in most properties but Centro Yas Island Hotel in Abu Dhabi definitely left a positive mark. So, if you're in the UAE and will visit Abu Dhabi, consider this hotel.

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24 July 2013

Three Tips for the Perfect Wedding Day

Most brides have dreamed about their wedding day since they were little girls. Some have long-since picked out their colors and know exactly what food they want served. Others have a basic idea of what they want, but are open to creative suggestions from friends and family. Regardless of how you approach your wedding, your wedding day can be a day that will live long in your memory as a perfect day or a terrible disaster. Following are three suggestions to help you create the perfect day for your wedding:

·       Don’t sweat the small stuff
·       Put your money where your memories will be
·       Use services like the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for help finding wedding services

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

A newly engaged woman was given advice from a newlywed: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.” As the wedding day approaches, plans will change, problems will arise, and disasters might even happen. In the end, though, what does it really matter? The only thing that matters is that you and your future spouse enjoy the day together. When the wedding is over, all you will have are your memories; and you can choose what type of memories you will have.

Put Your Money with the Memories

Some weddings have a large budget while others have a small budget. Regardless, there will always be more services to spend money on than you will have budgeted. As you come face to face with the decisions of what to cut out, remember the advice to put your money where your memories will be. For instance, a videographer might cost a lot of money, but how much enjoyment will you get out of watching your wedding video in the future? It will probably be a lot more enjoyment than the memory of the perfect refreshment table.

Find the Right Wedding Services

Finding the right photographer, cake decorator, or caterer can be overwhelming. Fortunately this task is much easier when you use companies such as the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. These types of agencies collect and provide information about businesses and the different services they offer as well as contact information. In addition, most companies registered with professional or non-profit organizations are reputable businesses that you can use with confidence.

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Discover Winery At WineMaps.com

Are you a traveler who loves to visit wineries or vineyards? Do you take tours to majestic wineries around the world or even in your locale? Or, are you a traveler who is adventurous enough to try out various activities while on vacation including wine-tasting and vineyard excursions?

If you answered yes in the questions above or at least did in most of them then you need to check WineMaps.com.  WineMaps.com is an interactive travel map which gives you information about the wineries, vineyards, wine bars and wine-related events around the world. It also has an app for your mobile which will pick up the nearest wineries, vineyards or other wine-related stuff and you can post reviews about them right on your fingertip.

WineMaps.com is a fledgling company run Ryan Ornelas, a stay-at-home dad and this "San Francisco startup" company will welcome any Angel investors to help him propel the business a notch higher. If you are an investor and wish to offer assistance, please feel free to contact the website owner here: https://angel.co/wine-maps

It is still in its beta stage so be one of the early birds to try and check out what WineMaps.com has to offer. Sign up for the newsletter here and get fresh information straight from the WineMaps.com.

My husband will surely be one of the firsts to try out the phone app and features of the interactive site. This will definitely be a plus factor in my husband's iPad and iPhone when we venture out on our next family trip abroad.

(Photo credit: winemaps.com)

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17 July 2013

A Unique Vegas Experience: Top 7 Things To Do in Vegas Besides Gambling

Las Vegas is a gambler’s heaven and it is certainly a prime vacation spot for anybody who wants to hit the tables—but what if you want more from your holiday? Hidden by the bright glare of the casinos’ neon lights, there are plenty of activities to take up in Vegas away from the slot machines; it’s perfect for anyone under 21 or who simply needs a break from the blackjack table.

1.  The Freemont Street Experience

The Fremont Street Experience is no longer the hidden gem it once was, as more and more people hear about this great night out away from the strip. While a little far from the main hotels, Fremont Street brings all the glitz and glamor of old-style Vegas to life—perfect for anyone who loves the 50s or simply has an interest in the local area. Drink in hand, you can wonder up this canopy-covered street while watching a free concert, taking in a light-and-sound show, and feasting your eyes on all there is to see in vintage Vegas.

2.  Play Pinball In Style

Pinball is an addictive game that can keep you busy for hours, so why not visit the largest collection of vintage pinball machines on earth? The Pinball Hall of Fame is perhaps the most extensive pinball museum in the world, and makes a fun visit for children, old-timers and even the most casual of gamers.

3.  Face Your Fears at the Stratosphere

Most people don’t associate Vegas with roller-coasters and thrill rides, but there are plenty of options for thrill-seekers who want to go to extremes away from the roulette tables. Free fall 108 floors with SkyJump, tumble above the city on the Insanity, or go completely over the edge (literally) on the X-Scream. It will be more than enough to get your adrenaline pumping.

4.  Day Trip Out to the Canyons

Whether you choose to stay in Nevada or journey out all the way to the Grand Canyon, there is plenty to see and do for nature lovers out in the western wild. There are plenty of opportunities for nature hikes, lake visits and peering over into vast abysses, and all usually for a reasonable price. Get out of the city and into the open air, and see all  the nature that Nevada and even her neighbouring states have to offer.

5.  Checkout the Wildlife

While there is plenty of local wildlife to inspect, you will probably be surprised at the amount of unusual animals you can find at the big hotels. The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage are a sight to see, and if you miss the big cats from the MGM Grand, then you can journey out to Henderson to see them at their new home at the Lion Habit Ranch. If Flamingos are more your thing, then why not go to the Flamingo Hotel—they keep a bunch of their namesakes out in their Wildlife Habitat.

6.  Relax at a Spa

One of the less obvious benefits of Las Vegas being a veritable cornucopia of hotels is that most of these hotels also contain reasonably priced spas. If the desert heat is getting to you and you need a break from the fast-paced strip, then why not splash out on a spa day. Not only is being pampered a lot of fun, but also it will set you up right for the rest of your holiday.

7.  People-watch along the strip
Sometimes simple pleasures are the best pleasures, so why not put on a pair of comfy shoes and stroll down the strip. Grab some street food, people-watch and perhaps pop into a hotel or two for an entire day’s worth of sights to see. Vegas is filled with sights from around the world, and its hotels are almost like amusement parks in their size and scope. Just having a wonder about is plenty fun, so why not get out there and start looking?

This is a guest post by Jo Tumble, a freelance blogger and travel consultant. Currently writing on behalf of lastminute.com, she gives travel tips and advice to readers on various travel blogs.

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