Traveling 101
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TRAVEL EMERGENCY 3W’s! What do you do - Where do you go - Who do you contact?

Friday, 19 April 2013 02:07 by Admin

It is with an angry and broken heart that I am writing this- as I hear and read these horrific reports of Monday’s Boston Marathon Bombings along with the Baghdad Bombings that killed some and injured many. While I am beside myself as you may be too wondering what kind of evil is consuming our country/world today with these recent unsought massacres, rogue attacks and terrorizing bombings, I ask: “what would I do?”

In some of the news reports relating to Boston I kept hearing how people could not get a hold of loved ones to see if they were ok or vice versa via cellular networks. Others resorted to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to reach out. Able bodied locals were able to navigate there ways to safety, but what about the masses that were visitors? Reports of participants and supporters that had traveled afar to be part of the events were suddenly in a more vulnerable state than locals, they were not only devastated by what had just happened but completely lost and out of their surroundings. Luckily they were still in the U.S. what about those out of the country? What about being completely out of your element, out of your country, different laws, language barriers, foreign geographical locations and experiencing a “Travel Emergency”. This would prompt me to ask myself these TRAVEL EMERGENCY 3W’s after the initial what just happened?!

What do I do?

Where do I go?

Who do I contact?

In a Travel Emergency, what is the protocol? Are there centralized locations to go to for further instructions, an emergency number aside from 911, is this posted in plain site for visitors, or are they debriefed of such protocols upon arrival? It seems as though these unforeseen tragic circumstances are becoming more of a trend and at that I say, “we must mobilize to be prepared in the best way possible!”

My advice: Get to know your surroundings and there emergency protocols.

LOCALS: Contact your city/county and see what systems are in place and get connected and share this with your family and friends, establish a plan to get to safety and meet up in a designated area.

VISTORS: No matter where you’re traveling to if it’s out of your surroundings, get educated and be prepared! Research your destination, see if they have specific locations, numbers, etc. to go to in case of an emergency, plot and save those in your smart phone, device or notebook. Make sure to share this as well as your accommodations info. with a trusted source from your hometown that may be able to help others contact or track you in a case of emergency.

Examples of helpful systems in place- Upon doing some research I’ve found different ways that Govt., State, County and City entities have put systems in place just for this purpose. Most heavily rely on a landline, internet or satellite connection, but prove to be very effective. As a local to some of these I never even knew these existed so please check with your local community and GET PREPARED TODAY!

Govt. Emergency Website: Source for Travel Emergencies and Crises: Travel.State.Gov - A Service Bureau of Consular Affairs/U.S. Department of State http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html

City/County Websites- San Diego Emergency Websites: http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/ http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/oes/

SD Emergency App- Though this seems more directed towards natural disaster preparedness “the App can be customized to address any emergency situation, it’s an informational platform”- William Smith, County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services), some of the APP features that would help any extreme emergency are: • Maps • Get involved (where your help may be needed) • Shelter locations • Social Media • Latest News stream http://www.readysandiego.org/SDEmergencyApp/?nomobileredirect=true

As humans we have a “fear of the unknown”, while we may not be able to predict what can happen, we can harness that fear and have better control of it by being prepared to handle any situation in any surrounding. Unfortunately in our world today it seems as though “being prepared” is necessary and becoming a way of life. Instead of just earthquake and fire drills our children have terrorism drills and security with special ops training. I don’t know what is going so wrong with the world today, but I know we can’t live in fear, instead live in the state of mind “We won’t stand down!”

Traveling before Marriage?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 06:36 by Admin

 

Want to stay in one of those amazing overwater bungalows in Bora Bora? Maybe you’d like to climb the Swiss Alps, or perhaps you may be geared up for a South American Jungle excursion…

From what I’ve experienced and gathered, by the time you are able to afford these types adventures you’re generally more settled down in life; a career, steady income, possibly even married and/or children (fur babies included, naturally). That being said, at this point you now have somebody else to plan with, be considerate of and ready to brave unknown circumstances together in new places. Completely out of your comfort zones.

While notable wedding sites such as theknot.com advertise beautiful Bliss Honeymoons for those who made that leap, Ryan Murphy’s widely acclaimed “Eat Pray Love” portrays a woman who discovers she needs to travel and find herself AFTER the fact of being married. Coming to this conclusion leads her down the road of divorce and through a long journey of self discovery. It’s a great movie, I highly recommend it, however I’m not meriting divorce to find yourself in another country.

Now there seems to be a trendsetting of traveling BEFORE marriage hitting the bucket lists. However this doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. In the fourjandals blog It’s actually recommended that before settling down, every couple should experience a couple’s travel together for at least six months and more than somewhere that’s full of relaxation and romance. In this article, they discuss how this can be the perfect test for a relationship because you both will be out of familiar areas and can be put into your most vulnerable state and have ONLY your partner to help you through it. See the full article for details and also couples travel tips. Maybe this still isn’t for you and you want these experiences all to your self before the ol’ ball and chain… Well you’re not alone (figuratively speaking), studies show that getting married has taken a backseat to traveling beforehand. In a recent research poll by Bing, a woman’s desire to get married before seeing the world seems to be sliding down the To Do list

So what’s your take? Do you say “to hell with it” and start this exciting journey, together? Do you table it and file in the “things I should’ve done before marriage” memory bank? Or do you fly solo and see the world and all it has to offer before committing yourself to someone that you can “tell” those stories to, rather than “with”?

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Quiet Zones VS Kid Friendly Airlines

Wednesday, 6 February 2013 07:17 by Admin

“My Personal, recent flight with kids Story” Last year about this time my 3 sons (ages: 1, 4 and 7) and I took a trip to Hawaii to visit family. The whole process was a task getting a ride, getting unloaded, checking in the drama at security because of freezer packs for medication (my youngest has heart medication that I had to take on board and needed to be refrigerated). Nevertheless we made it through the airport and were finally aboard and excited for our family getaway! After having all 3 kids sleep on me for 4 hours, they awoke and I had the much-awaited need to take a bathroom break! Face to face, told my two oldest how important it was that they be on their best behavior while I take their brother and myself to the bathroom and that it’d only be a few minutes, they nodded in complete understanding sipping on their little cups of water. Five minutes later, I strolled down the aisle back to my seat only to find that my 7 year stand there eyes big & wide, hand over mouth trying not to scream and my 4 year old justifying what he’d done and to top it off, an elderly woman in front of me pleading on their behalf “oh they were being so good, trying so hard, they’re just tired”… I then asked my boys “what happened?” long story short- the 7yr old year old accidentally bumped the seat tray that was holding the 4 year old’s water, causing a bit of a splash so my 4 year old punched his brother in the mouth, knocking out his loose tooth which he then swallowed! Laughing about it now, but it was very embarrassing and frustrating for me as a parent and annoyed fellow passengers.

Quiet Zones VS Kid Friendly Airlines

As many of you may have read yesterday, AsiaAirX announced their implementation of a “Quiet Zone” aboard their flights (for an $11 fee), banning children under the age of 12 from specific sections of the plane. A new trend that seems to be on the upswing, a Malaysian Airline “Budget Airline” announced today that they also implemented Child-Free Zone” FREE of charge.

With respect to “Sans-Kids Travelers” business-based or otherwise, it seems as though the airlines are capitalizing on what they/sans-kids irritated passengers consider “inconveniences” and charging you even more money for premier seating. Adding to the long list of “upgrade fees” already being offered wouldn’t it be smarter to instead, initiate a plan that will help provide comfort to ALL passengers alike, further diffusing from situations such as upset children which displaying their discomfort by acting it out (the way most children know to communicate)? In the plethora of passenger-convenient options that are offered during ticket purchase, airlines have constructed many costly plans that almost make it impossible (financially) to travel with children; charges for car seats, not allowing pre-made bottles, no longer offering the ability to warm up formula, not allowing you to purchase seating together and in some cases not allowing some children to even sit with their parents (I’ve personally been in this situation)! Then some people wonder “why won’t that kid shut up?!” How else would we expect children to act out of their comfort zone, no bottle amenities, not seated with the people they are secure with, no entertainment- while poor Mr. X is irritated and has a beverage on ice watching the newest blockbuster release with a neck pillow and internet capabilities to keep him entertained.

Most airlines and countries worldwide are campaigning for tourism to boost the economy wouldn’t we want to make it more inviting for everyone? Family vacations=more seats sold right, happy family traveling=repeat business. Let alone let’s not forget the ultimate, but true cliché “our children are our future” that being said remember they are our: future travelers, pilots, flight attendants, airport attendants, travel agents, tour guides, etc… So let’s display the same “quality of service” that each and everyone one of us as a consumer desires and expects, especially when we pay for it. I see this trend of banning children in select areas of planes being the beginning of potential unruly and costly effects for air travel as a whole, here’s why: Price hikes to accommodate family block seating drives away business due to budget constraints Implementing “quiet zones” further take up sections of seating making it even harder for families to book desired flights Eventually someone will turn this into a discrimination issue and demand a “rude, inconsiderate, Sans-Kid Free zone” catering to children and their parents only, then a tourist zone, those who voted for Obama zone and so forth…. I was impressed to see that Emirates Airline provided a variety of child-friendly amenities that kept the little ones occupied, entertained and pampered, literally. This solution proved to be a “win win” for ALL passengers, children were happy, parents were happy, providing a more calm and enjoyable atmosphere for the duration of the whole flight for everyone aboard.

I think this is a great solution and money well directed and spent! As a parent (and by my short story above), I can personally vouch for the fact that we do NOT enjoy when our children act up on flights, in the movies or even in the grocery store- but I don’t see local grocery chains making “kid-free” lines for an extra cost to avoid the meltdowns! It’s life, people have bad days and children are not exception, instead of segregating ourselves from “life” let’s work together to make it a little better, why not try what’s been proven to work in other airlines worldwide- let’s try offering a few perks to our little ones to make their experience an enjoyable and unforgettable one.

Resources that have kid-friendly traveling (feel free to post additional suggestions): Emirates Airline and Southwest Airline Reserve airport parking online and make the check in, boarding process that much more seamless: airportparkingconnection.com

Best Travel Websites of 2012 – Airport Parking Connection

Thursday, 13 December 2012 03:31 by Admin

Here at Airport Parking Connection, we pride ourselves on being able to find you the best deals on airport parking across the country. We are also keeping a keen eye on the travel industry, constantly keeping tabs on the movers and the shakers in the business. As the end of the year approaches, we’ve compiled a list of the best travel websites of 2012. These are the companies that we feel are genuine in their business models and progressive in their means of delivering outstanding travel services.

Trip Advisor – Trip Advisor syncs with your Facebook page as soon as you enter to provide you with real time updates of all the travels and reviews that your friends have posted. Search for any city and find real reviews from real people for everything from the cheapest hotel deals to the best local hole in the wall eateries in town. 

http://www.tripadvisor.com

Lonely planet – Do you know that you want to travel, but don’t know where to go quite yet? The Lonely Planet is a great place to start your research. Seasonal blog posts, stories, and adventure ideas give you the best ways to travel depending on your budget and time frame.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com

Virtual Tourist – Get the best insights from the locals through by using Virtual Tourist. One the largest travel markets, New York City, has over 7,000 local members who live in the city providing almost 20,000 tips of the best food, lodging, and entertainment. 

http://www.virtualtourist.com

Pinterest – Yes, seriously. Forget what you heard about what, and who is supposed to go on Pinterest and take a look. This is one of the best sites for travel ideas. Why? The travel images posted aren’t sponsored and the community is absolutely massive. The users simply post their favorite travel locations and the cream rises to the top. Still not a believer? Head over to Pinterest, click the “Travel” category, and start browsing – you’ll have a Pinboard full of travel ideas before you know it!

http://www.pinterest.com

Air BNB – Young, single, and looking to meet new people? No, this isn’t a creepy dating site. Air BNB is a worldwide community of people willing to put your up in the guest room of their apartment or home, or rent the entire room or apartment to you for much cheaper than any hotel. We highly recommend this for any classic Euro-backpacking-trip you embark upon. With a community rating system that lets you know exactly what you’re getting into, it’s one of the best ways to travel cheap!

http://www.airbnb.com

Travel and Leisure – Professionally written, engaging, and frequently updated travel articles can be found on Travel and Leisure. A polished, aesthetically pleasing resource for travel ideas and destinations.

http://www.travelandleisure.com

Airfare Watchdog – Looking to fly at the drop of a deal? Head to Airfare Watchdog when you’re looking to fly cheap. This is an amazing site for spontaneous weekend endeavors. As of the moment of this blog posting, I could book a flight from San Diego to Portland for $40 round-trip! The site also allows you to set alerts for deals flying to locations of your choosing – a great money-saving resource.

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com

StumbleUpon – Stumble is still a great choice for finding interesting articles and photographs, regardless of the topic. Link with your social media pages to save your favorite stumblings. If you want to dodge the agendas of the major travel sites, head over to StumbleUpon for the best of the web, wherever it may be. You’ll never know what will come up next!

http://www.stumbleupon.com

TravelPod – With 64,439 travel experiences shared on TravelPod this week alone, there is no arguing that this is a massive community of travel bloggers. Browse by location or author to read the best adventures and how to plan for your own travels. After you trip is over, blog your own experience and share it on the site!

http://www.travelpod.com

Yapta – Always wondering what the best day to book your flight is? Worried that the difference in booking on a certain day could potentially be hundreds of dollars? Yapta’s M.O. is to save you money by tracking changing flight prices before and after you buy your airline tickets. After you book, simply enter your information into the Yapta system and they will send you alerts with price changes so you can fly for less, even if you book for more.

http://www.yapta.com

Overweight Traveler Procedures to Blame for Death?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 02:35 by Admin

The travel section of NBC News recently covered a story of a 425-pound woman who, while attempting to return from an overseas trip, was turned away by three different airlines and kept from returning to the United States. Vilma Soltesz, unable to receive proper treatments for her weight condition, died overseas, resulting in legal action from Soltesz’s husband and family. Amidst statements being spun by airline representatives, questions are being asked of overweight traveler procedures and which responsibilities fall on the traveler and which fall on the airline.

Before I go any further with the discussion, I feel that it is important to state that this is a tragedy that could have been avoided. The loss of a human life was completely unnecessary in this situation, and that it is now our responsibility to question procedures in an appropriate manner to make sure situations like this can be handled rationally and in line with the safety of all parties involved.

Vilma Soltesz’s death was tragic and avoidable, raising the discussion of how it could have been avoided, who is responsible for accommodating who, and how things should change moving forward. There are a number of questions that need to be addressed to come to a reasonable and fair solution to the issue of accommodating overweight passengers:

At what point does personal responsibility take precedent over the responsibility of the airline carrier to accommodate an overweight passenger? The article discusses how the flights would not take Vilma because they did not have seatbelt extenders large enough to fasten around her. Is it Vilma’s responsibility to make sure she is physically capable of travel, or should airlines, as a whole, carry extenders that can accommodate any person of any size? At what weight or size do you draw the line?

Vilma took the initiative of booking two seats next to each other from her departure flight out of New York and landed overseas in Budapest without a hitch. Why are some airplanes equipped with appropriate means to accommodate a passenger her size and others are not?

The family’s attorney, Holly Ostrov Ronai, is suing the three different airlines for 6 million dollars on the grounds that they violated the Air Carrier Access Act by not providing the proper accommodations, ultimately leading to her death.

DOT Spokesman, Bill Mosely, counters by explaining that every airline has a right to deny a passenger service if they deem that it endangers the safety of the other passengers and thus, the flight.

Both sides have completely legitimate and viable stances and it will be interesting to see how the case is resolved. The issue seems to be in the grey area that exists in the policies for providing travel services for overweight passengers. Apparently, some airlines are more lenient with the size of the person flying on their plane, while others have stricter standards. While numeric and steadfast standards could possibly be seen as a solution (example: you must be under [this weight] to fly), airlines would suffer backlash from customers feeling as though their freedom of lifestyle is coming under attack, continuing the trend of hypersensitivity towards obese passengers (or “customers of size”, as some say).

All of the public relations spinning and framing does not detract from the fact that someone lost their life because of the lack of set standards that exist for these situations. How do you think this should have been handled? Are airlines responsible for accommodating any sized passenger, or should travelers be held to a set of standards before being allowed to travel? Is there another solution?

One thing is certain, something needs to change.

You can read the original story here: http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/obese-flier-turned-away-airlines-dies-overseas-1C7277987