Sweeten the Kitty: Tips for Easier Traveling with Pets

<b>Sweeten the Kitty: Tips for Easier Traveling with Pets</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – You look forward to your vacation, but leaving your furry friends behind is more than you can handle. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to bring your pets along for the ride.

There are plenty of pet -friendly lodging establishments, restaurants, and a slew of gear and other pet products that make traveling with Fido and Fluffy more comfortable. Consider trying the following tips before packing your pets’ travel bags:

* Plan ahead. Prepare to include your pets in the fun by making a list of the extra gear and supplies that you will need and any special reservations that you may require. Include food, litter, leashes, toys, beds, medications and pet carriers. Just to be safe, carry notes regarding your pet’s medical history and your veterinarian’s contact information.

* Have a practice round. If your pet is not used to car or plane travel, introduce him to the carrier prior to departure. Toss in a favorite toy or familiar object and take a spin around the block. Make sure that the carrier is airline-compliant and sturdy enough to make the trip.

* Travel green. Leaving home does not have to mean abandoning planet-friendly habits. Use biodegradable waste disposal bags when cleaning up after your pooch. If traveling with a cat, use a cat litter that offers odor control, clumping for easy clean-up and all-natural, flushable ingredients, such as World’s Best Cat Litter (www.worldsbestcatlitter.com).

* Keep moving. Just like humans, your pets need as much exercise away from home as they do in their own environment. Make sure you make plenty of stops along the way and allow every member of your family to stretch his or her legs and breathe fresh air. Once at your destination, include your pet in hikes, walks on the beach or a visit to a local park.

* Drink up. Make sure that your pet has access to clean water throughout your travels. A pet’s body is comprised of 80 percent water– proper hydration is key to good health at home and on the road.

* Have fun. Enjoy this extra-special time with your pet. Include him or her in your vacation photo album. Visit a local dog park. It’s likely that your pet will “introduce you” to new friends along the way.

A Helpful Tip for Summer Road Trips

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – When 39-year-old Tricia Martin was a young girl, summer vacation often meant a three-day drive from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to Denver. It …

Turn Your Home into a Cabin Retreat

<b>Turn Your Home into a Cabin Retreat</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Vacation. Every year, millions of Americans take planes, trains and automobiles to escape to their favorite destinations, whether it’s for relaxation, adventure or something in between. But if a dream vacation is not in your budget, consider other options.

Each year, DIY Network gives one lucky winner their very own state-of-the-art vacation retreat that is designed by the viewers. Online, viewers vote on the many different phases of each home project, then watch as construction is documented in TV’s only interactive home-building series, Blog Cabin. Locations for the three cabins thus far include mountain-side retreats and lakefront getaways that encompass everything about a vacation destination.

If you are not lucky enough to win the Blog Cabin, there are several ways to incorporate some of the cabin’s design elements into your home to experience the relaxation or adventure and create a destination of your own while investing in your home:

* Take it outside. More than ever, homeowners are expanding their living space to the outdoors. Whether you add a fire pit or an entire outdoor kitchen to the backyard, the space will inspire gatherings and a break from the norm.

* Upgrade your landscaping. Replicate your favorite vacation spot by trying to mimic its vegetation. If you like the tropics, plant lots of lush, brightly colored plants. Add a tiki bar to the design, and you’ll never want to leave home again.

* Create a sanctuary for the man of the house. Build him a man cave, a man-only zone in the house where only he has decorative input. Transform the basement, the garage or even the attic into a place where he can play without interruption from his wife or kids. The women of the house will benefit from the man cave by enjoying the rest of the house without interference from the guys.

* Get the kids outside by building them a tree fort or play house. Get them involved in the design, and have it reflect their interests and hobbies. Once it’s built, let the kids direct you in how they would like it to be furnished.

For more information on DIY Network’s Blog Cabin or ideas on creating a home retreat, visit www.diynetwork.com.

Refueling the Tanks: Learning to Value Time Off

<b>Refueling the Tanks: Learning to Value Time Off</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Why do many Americans suffer from burnout, reduced productivity, diminished creativity, failed relationships, stress, depression, heart disease and stomach ulcers? The answer may be as simple as a failure to rest and relax.

America’s puritanical work ethic emphasizes effort and extra hours, but overscheduling can destroy creativity, not to mention mental and physical health. Consider Denmark, the world’s happiest country, according to independent studies from the University of Leicester and the University of Michigan. Danish workers receive 31 days of paid vacation each year — the most in the world.

American workers, on average, only accumulate 10 paid vacation days per year, which many employees skip. According to a Harris Interactive research group, Americans failed to take 438 million paid vacation days in 2007.

Working nonstop doesn’t make workers more productive. Instead, it hurts effectiveness. Relaxation clears frenetic energy from minds and bodies, dramatically improving mood and attitude. Taking time off helps workers regain their bearings, so that, when they return to work, they feel more focused and productive.

Darren Hardy, publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS Magazine, offers these tips to Americans who need to recharge their batteries:

* Rephrase “time off.” If you can’t handle the idea of taking time off, call your down time something else. Hardy calls his time off “Rejuvenation Time,” which sounds purposeful, productive and worthwhile.

* Schedule time for yourself. Mark vacation time on your calendar, then treat it like an unmoveable appointment with Oprah or the Queen of England. When you do take time off, turn off your e-mail and Blackberries.

* Declare when you’re going on vacation. Tell everyone what your doing and that you won’t be available.

* Measure your time off. Measure the number of times you eat dinner with you family, take naps, meditate, read for pleasure, watch movies and engage in activities that you enjoy. If you only have fun every once in awhile, concentrate on building more time for yourself into your busy schedule.

For more tips about balancing your work and personal life, visit www.SUCCESS.com.

Time for Vacation? Send Allergy, Asthma Symptoms Packing

<b>Time for Vacation? Send Allergy, Asthma Symptoms Packing</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Whether your summer vacation plans include the beach, a road trip or camping, one thing’s for sure — suffering from allergy and asthma symptoms can quickly interrupt a good time. If you’re among the millions of people with allergies or asthma, a little preparation will help make sure that sneezing and wheezing don’t derail your vacation fun.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and its member allergists — doctors who specialize in treating allergies and asthma — offer the following checklist to keep the conditions at bay while you’re on vacation:

– Destination makes a difference. The beach and mountains are excellent year-round destinations for allergy sufferers. Ocean breezes are generally free of allergens, dust mites are fewer at elevations above 2,500 feet and mold spores can’t survive in snow.

– Pack it to go. In addition to your favorite flip-flops, consider packing these items to keep conditions in check: medications in their original bottles; quick-relief medications for asthma and an epinephrine auto-injector if you or a family member has food or insect-sting allergies; topical cortisone cream; an antihistamine; mite-proof pillowcases; your peak flow meter and nebulizer; baby wipes for cleaning; and information on your food allergies translated for chefs in foreign countries.

– Ask the doctor. Get your allergy shot before your vacation, or ask your allergist for a referral. Also discuss your destination and activity plan with your allergist before departure.

– Home away from home. Request a non-smoking, pet-free hotel room and rental car. Air conditioners and portable air cleaners with HEPA filters, and tile, wood or seamless vinyl floors reduce airborne allergens. If you have food allergies, consider reserving a room with a kitchen.

– Camp bound kids. If your kids are headed for camp, write down and inform staff ahead of time about their asthma and allergies. Send a list of medications and dosing instructions, including an action plan and notarized permission slip authorizing emergency care. Warn staff against giving an asthmatic child aspirin, which can trigger a life-threatening reaction. For air travel, pack medications and devices in a carry-on bag.

Visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org for more information and to complete a free self-test to assess the severity of your asthma or allergies and receive a personalized “Relief Plan.”

Dodge Travel Hassles: Ship Your Vacation Luggage

<b>Dodge Travel Hassles: Ship Your Vacation Luggage</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As summer gets into full swing, Americans focus less on their daily tasks and more on the vacation destinations that will help them unwind. But nothing interferes with much-needed relaxation more than luggage problems. Whether vacationers run into snags when it comes to dragging their luggage around, meeting airline restrictions or recovering lost luggage, these hurdles can generate considerable stress.

Some Americans are skipping checked-in luggage altogether, choosing instead to ship their luggage to their vacation spot. Many companies will ship suitcases and other items, like scuba gear or golf clubs, to hotels or resorts. For example, Pak Mail Centers, a packing and shipping chain with franchises located throughout the U.S. and the world, offer custom shipping and crating to any destination, whether domestic or international. And unlike some airlines, they specialize in getting things where they need to be, on time and safely.

“We have eased the hassle and burden of vacation travel for our customers by shipping their belongings on ahead to their vacation destinations,” said Rhonda Knight, Pak Mail’s marketing director. “We have shipped golf clubs, boogie boards, snorkel gear, you name it, so that the vacation can be more fun and hassle-free.”

Vacationers who may be considering shipping their luggage should keep several considerations in mind. Pak Mail offers the following advice:

– Make sure that your luggage will arrive before you do. Check with the shipping company to see how long the delivery will take. International shipments must go through customs inspections, so they take longer than domestic shipments.

– Let your hotel know to expect your luggage. Most hotels happily accommodate shipped luggage.

– Remember to bring a few things for the plane. Depending on the length of your trip, you might still want to pack a carry-on bag with basic toiletries and entertainment for the plane.

For more information, visit www.pakmail.com.

In Recession, Luxury Hotels Offer Deals

<b>In Recession, Luxury Hotels Offer Deals</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In a tough economy, taking a luxury vacation might seem impossible. But some of the nation’s nicest hotels are taking steps — including lower rates and vacation specials — to lure new visitors.

Take Gaylord Hotels. The luxury multi-property operation with resorts in Nashville, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Orlando offers guests majestic views, high-end shopping and dining experiences, full business accommodations and world-class entertainment. Even better, the hotels offer packages for special events.

Starting at just $199, guests can discover the rich history of the Nation’s Capital and enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience at the Washington region’s newest waterfront resort destination. The package includes round-trip tickets on the resort’s exclusive shuttle to downtown Washington, D.C., which makes stops at Union Station and the Old Post Office. Afterwards, guests can take advantage of the resort’s offerings, which include four restaurants, Pose Ultra Lounge, Relache Spa, nightly entertainment and an all-season pool. This package is available now through August 31, 2009, but other great packages can also be found.

In addition to finding great packages, Gaylord offers these tips for travelers hoping to enjoy a little luxury without breaking the bank:

– Plan meals carefully. Choose package deals that provide breakfast at no extra cost. If you have children, choose family-friendly restaurants that allow children to eat for free. If your hotel room has a refrigerator, consider purchasing lunch staples so that you can prepare you own mid-day meal.

– Save your money for nice dinners. Before making a dinner reservation, look for coupons or ask the front desk about area restaurants that give discounts to guests.

– Travel with friends or family members. Some hotels and entertainment destinations, like museums or theme parks, offer discounts to guests traveling as a large group.

– Pack wisely. Don’t bring things that the hotel will provide, like soaps or shampoos. Bring refillable water bottles so that you don’t have to purchase new ones at every destination. If you have a young child, bring a light stroller to save on rentals.

To find and reserve your vacation package, call 301-965-2000, or book online at www.gaylordnational.com.

Who Is Working On Your RV?

<b>Who Is Working On Your RV?</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the weather becomes warmer, many people will start thinking about hitting the road for vacation. But if your vacation means pulling out a recreational vehicle, you might want to consult a technician before stocking up on road snacks.

Keeping a RV in storage — even one that was properly “winterized” — can allow various problems to develop. Critters can move into corners and storage compartments. Hoses and gaskets can develop cracks and leaks, propane tanks can rust and engines can develop strange noises.

While most RV owners winterize and de-winterize their RVs, only an expert eye can recognize subtle damage that may have occurred to intricate components while it was sitting.

But do the technicians who service your RV have what it takes to provide the best diagnostic care? If they are certified through the RVDA-RVIA RV Service Technician Certification Program, you should be getting the best possible service.

The RV Service Technician Certification Program began testing and certifying technicians in 1993. Now, there are over 3,500 certified RV technicians across the U.S. and Canada. All of these technicians worked hard to achieve their status, and they continue to educate themselves in order to maintain that status.

How do you find a certified RV technician when you need one? It’s easy. Go online to www.rvda.org and click on the “find a dealer” tab. Then, click on the pull-down tab next to ‘Company State’ and select your state.

The season isn’t going to wait for you. So, as an RV owner, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to have your RV de-winterized? Getting your RV roadworthy sooner will only bring a longer timespan to take in the view and enjoy the freedom of the road.

For more information, visit www.rvda.org.