More holiday Ideas to Beat the Credit Crunch

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More holiday Ideas to Beat the Credit Crunch

One of the things that I did not have time to cover in my last article on ‘Holidays ideas to beat the Credit Crunch’   was a real killer money saver.  House Swapping, actually I noticed the organisations concerned prefer to call it exchanging, perhaps to avoid any overtones. This one seems a bit way out at first but offers some real savings if you still want to travel and gives much more chance to get into the local culture and pace of life than a traditional package.

The range of people and places who want to swap houses is really quite surprising.  At the biggest home exchange service Homelink there are over 14000 from 72 countries.  I think that sort of people this would suite would be slightly more independent and adventurous.  If you dislike the way you are treated like a tourist on conventional tours and hotels that are impersonal. I think Home Exchangers want to gain new experiences and like to feel in control of their precious leisure time.

Here are some of the reasons why some people find home exchange makes for an ideal holiday.

Holiday Ideas Cost-savings

The cost of accommodation is a major factor in holiday budgeting, especially for those such as teachers or parents of school-aged children who are tied to specific dates and so tend to pay inflated prices. For the price of annual membership (?120), accommodation budgets can be totally eliminated, irrespective of the duration of your stay. It is easy to see how this money could be put to good use: A more exotic destination perhaps? How about longer (or more) holidays? Or maybe you might have little more spending money to treat yourself to some special events that help to turn a good holiday into a great one. One home exchanger recently put the cost-savings into context for me when she said that her membership more than paid for itself on the first night of her first exchange!

You can keep it simple by merely exchanging homes, however you can save even more money by also agreeing to exchange cars, so that the holiday budget can be limited to cost of travel plus food / spending money.

Holiday Ideas Authenticity

Conventional tourism can sometimes thwart the principle of  “When in Rome….” as travellers are often treated as tourists. In this way you have the opportunity to parachute into a genuine local community and live like a local. So, if you like the idea of sauntering along to the local diner to ask for “eggs easy over and coffee”, home exchange could be for you. With this in mind you dont have to live in a touristy area yourself, either.

Holiday Ideas Flexibility

Remember also that there is no limit to the number of exchange holidays that you can take during your membership year. This should be appealing to retired or semi-retired members as they are more able than most to succumb to wanderlust. This also means that there are quite a high proportion of similar travellers, and the sites indicate both where people have children and where they are retired. Having members in over 50 countries also means that there is an enormous range of destinations from which to choose.

The emergence of local airports and low-cost airlines makes domestic and European destinations more accessible and so opens up the possibility of adding a number of cheap 3-7 day breaks to the main holiday of the year. On renewing for their second year, one family recently told me that they had completed seven exchanges in their first year!

Holiday Ideas Convenience

Well-matched home exchange partners go on holiday in the knowledge that their accommodation is likely to be tailored to their needs. For instance, parents of young children may find it easier to relax when their holiday home is child-friendly. Parents might also enjoy travelling light, as many normal accompaniments can be left at home as a car seat, high chair and a range of toys await them.

Furthermore, many members agree to take care of each other’s pets and/or garden maintenance so there may not be a need to pay for alternative arrangements or return home to a jungle after your holiday.

Frequently asked questions about Home Exchanges

How do I know my home will be Safe?

The answer is you don’t. However, arguably your home will be much safer when occupied by exchangers than if left empty. Home insurance companies know this, as do the police. HomeLink claims that in over forty years of exchanging they have had very few instances of damage and no reports of theft. Most problems are at the level of, “housekeeping standards,” at the home being visited. Even in these rare situations exchangers return to find their own home just as they left it. While you are setting up your exchange you will get to know the other family. You also know the other exchanger’s profession and have a good idea of the home involved before you make your first contact.

Most HomeLink members are professionals – doctors, engineers, teachers, etc.- business executives, and retirees. In general, they are in an upper income bracket, well educated and are experienced travellers. They are also very proud of their homes, which is why they’re not too embarrassed to let others enjoy their home whilst they’re away.

Who pays the bills?

Pay your mortgage and utilities as you normally would and agree beforehand who should pay extraordinary expenses such as long distance telephone calls. If a car-exchange is involved you should discuss who pays for minor or major damage.

Is my house covered by my insurance?

In general, most home insurance policies covers home exchangers. After all, they’re your guests, and it’s really no different from having friends or relations stay in your home whilst you’re away on holiday. Most insurance companies say they would much prefer you to have exchangers looking after your home rather than going off on holiday and leaving it empty.   However you would have to check with your insurers and personally I would ensure it either explicit in your policy or you have it in writing.

Planning and getting an exchange

There is a continual turnover of people joining such schemes and looking for exchanges,  many arrange an exchange within a couple of weeks. The most successful exchangers are those who are proactive and send many invitations. The more flexible your plans, the greater your opportunities. Generally speaking, short-haul trips are planned 3-6 months in advance with long-haul trips being planned 6-9 months ahead or more.

What’s actually involved? How do I prepare my house?

These recommendations from http://www.HomeLink.org will give you some idea of what you have to do to prepare your home.

1) Leave your home clean. Standards of cleanliness vary, so make sure that floors are cleaned, refrigerator emptied, oven and hob grease-free, bath and shower free of mould and grime, windows see-through, and surfaces dust-free. No need to repaint the house!

2) Clear away enough of your personal belongings to leave space on shelves and in wardrobes and drawers so that your guests can empty their suitcases, arrange their things in bedrooms and bathrooms and feel at home.

3) Leave at least two sets of clean sheets per bed and two sets of towels per person.

Medical Tourism, is it Safe

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Medical Tourism, is it Safe?

Suppose you have decided that you want to get a plastic surgery done overseas. It will cost less and you can get the procedure done quickly. There is no waiting period at many of the facilities that you have seen online. How can you be sure that they are safe? How do you know whether the doctors have the proper credentials in plastic surgery?

You have to make decisions about a major surgical procedure at a place you have never seen nor visited. Will it be clean? Will it have the necessary equipment that is working? Do they use latest state of the art technologies?

One way you can be assured that they are a safe healthcare facility with the kind of care you would demand from your general practitioner down the street is to research whether or not they are JCI accredited. What is JCI? JCI stands for Joint Commission International. JCI Accreditation is considered as the gold standard for international medical facility credentialing. In the United States the Joint Commission has raised the standard in medical organizations and when they accredit a healthcare facility you can be rest assured that they are one of the top hospitals in the United States.

The JCI has this same level of standard and reputation overseas. They evaluate a facility and decide what they need to improve. They do not give their seal of approval unless that particular facility has met the standard of care set out by the commission. If you see the JCI seal of approval on an overseas facility you can rest assured that it is a safe and well run facility.

There are other accrediting agencies that hold facilities worldwide to a high standard of care. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9001:2000) accreditation provides evidence of good management practices within the organization and that the organization has measurable quality management practices aiding consistency and efficiency. Similarly, the TRENT accreditation organization is based in the UK and Hong Kong. In Australia is the Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International, ASCHI, and in Canada is the Canadian Council on Health Services Regulation, or CCHSA. Each of these organizations varies in size and in the method in which they accredit a health facility.

In addition to healthcare accreditations, you should look at what kind of board certifications the doctors and staff have. These certifications mean that a doctor has undergone additional education and has passed a board exam in a specialty medical area. Some examples of board certifications to consider are American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Surgery, American Board Certified General Surgeon, The American Board of Medical Specialists,

and American Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. In addition, there are several well recognized similar international boards that certify healthcare providers and hold them to high standards.

Do your research and make sure that the facility and the doctors are accredited and board certified before booking that trip. Medical tourism is a growing field and many doctors and facilities are getting the proper certifications, because they want clients to come back for more procedures and influence others to come as well. So rest assured that if a facility has a JCI or other accreditation agency seal on it is a safe and well maintained facility.

Web address: http://www.placidway.com.

How to get ready for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

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How to get ready for the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is said to be one of the top ten treks in the modern world. Although it’s not a difficult trek technically, the demands of on the body of elevation (it has the highest mountain pass at over 17 000 feet) and distance (over 266 km), mean that you need to start out relatively fit aerobically.

Where to Start

To start, you should assess yourself physically, by going to your family doctor. Once you get the ok, you can set up an exercise routine that will get you in shape to attempt this trek. You should start three to four months before your trek…The sooner you start the better.

Strength training

The Annapurna Circuit is a 266 km hike going mostly up to 17,000 feet and then mostly down the same elevation. This means you will obviously need to strengthen your leg muscles. Your calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings are all going to need strengthening. Primarily, you should focus on squats, lunges, dead lifts, crunches and some back exercises at least three times a day with a day in between.
 
Aerobics

With so much walking uphill and down hill, you are going to need to get fit aerobically as well. You are going to need to do some form of walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading or some other form of aerobics that uses your legs, at least 5 times a week. You should be building up to about an hour a session. You really need to get that heart pumping and in shape.

Hiking

At least once a week, you are going to need to go on a hike of at least 8km with your hiking boots and backpack. The back pack should be filled with the same weight as you think you will be carrying on the trek, but if that is to heavy, you can work up to it. Your body needs to get used to the idea of carrying all that weight (between 25 and 40 lbs) for the 21 days the hike will take. Plus you need to get those hiking boots well broken in before you go to prevent any feet issues along the trail.

Just before you go

About a week or two before you go to Nepal, give yourself a good rest from your training. Don’t worry, you won’t revert back to when you started, and your body will appreciate the rest. The last thing you want to do before you go is injure yourself while overdoing it on the training.

With a good base of physical fitness you should now be prepared to tackle the trek of a lifetime. Any additional fitness training will be had along the way as you climb slowly up the longest, and probably most beautiful hill of your life.

Tips for Pregnant Travelers by CheapOair

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Tips for Pregnant Travelers by CheapOair

1. Consulting your Doctor : Before booking your travel plans consult with your OB/GYN. If you know where you want to go, do some research and print it out, so you can bring it with you to your doctor’s appointment and discuss it with him or her. Your doctor would be able to offer you correct advice on whether or not it’s ok for you to travel. He/she would also be able to advice on whether or not it’s ok for you to go for immunization as it has become an absolute necessity due to serious disease threats and more and more airlines urge the travelers for same.
2. Choosing When to Travel : As per the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, air travel is safe for pregnant women during the second trimester – weeks 18 to 24. If you are considering a flight during your pregnancy, check with the airline before you book. Still. We urge you to consult your doctor and OB/GYN, also getting a medical certificate from your doctor confirming that it’s safe for you to travel.
3. Letting Folks Know you’re Pregnant : Before booking your airfare, while booking your hotel and when you get to the airport, be sure to let everyone know that you’re pregnant. Not only might this be of help to you in case of an emergency, while on board, most airlines ensure that you get extra care while travelling. They might offer better seating and assist you in getting a special meal request. If you are making your booking through a travel agent, be it an online website like CheapOair; let them know you’re pregnant.
4. Choosing the Right Airline Seat : Travelling is always strenuous and choosing the right airline seat can make your trip a lot less stressful. Especially when it comes travelling during pregnancy, it can make a big difference. Try and reserve a spacious seat when you make your booking.

  • If choosing a seat prior to making your reservation is not allowed, arrive at the airport early and ask for a bulkhead seat. The bulkhead is the partition between business class and economy.
  • Another great seat is an aisle seat, especially on long haul flights. It could save you a lot of stress. You also wouldn’t have to squeeze past other passengers every time you want to get in and out of your seat.
  • Explore the possibility of being upgraded or having a seat with a couple of open seats next to you, so you can spread out and lie down.
  • Always go for seats with lots of legroom.

5. Dressing for Travel : Travelling while pregnant you might want to choose comfort over fashion, so that you can relax during your journey.

  • Invest in some support stockings, these will reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Choose to wear slip-on shoes that are roomy and comfy with thin socks. Feet tend to swell during flights and wearing comfortable shoes helps in avoiding such situations.

6. While On Board : Now that you have breezed through security and gotten the seat of your choice, you’ve completed phase one, so to speak.

  • Check on board food options to make sure you get a meal that won’t upset your stomach.
  • Ask the flight attendant to help you with your carry-on luggage.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, stick to drinking plenty of water, diluted fruit juices and milk. Bring your own healthy snacks and drink for long haul flights, or in case there is a delay.
  • Take plenty of walks and stretch breaks, since your joints and ligaments are more agile when you are pregnant, you are more prone to backaches. Regular movement will help overcome aches and pains.
  • Eat and drink small amounts frequently to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

7. The Final Step : After you’ve planned everything, here are a few extra tips.

  • Have a list of emergency phone numbers and names handy. Also check on the list of local hospitals from the embassy or tourist board.
  • Avoid any dangerous water sports or activity where you might run the risk of hurting yourself.
  • Bring your medical notes with you, in case you need to be hospitalized.

Millions of pregnant women continue with their normal lives for the duration of their pregnancy, with a few minor exceptions and travelling isn’t one of them. By following these travel tips, we hope that taking a vacation and booking flights shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Old People can Travel to Moon

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Old People can Travel to Moon

Are there people and places you wish to visit, like old friends from high school, out-of-state relatives, a new country you’ve never been to, or even a favorite vacation spot you’d like to revisit? This is a great time to make some travel plans and with a little prior planning, your trip can cost you very little while giving you memories that are worth a fortune. Research is important as it will educate you about the area and help create excitement and motivation for actually taking it. As a person looking for seniors travel insurance you should visit that site.
Are you aware that doctors believe the greater the activity as we get older means the more energy and good health we will enjoy? Traveling is an ideal way to stay physically active and mentally alert. When you are traveling to new places you’re engaging both your mind and soul in a variety of ways, keeping both of them sharp and feeling good. People over the age of fifty are starting to outnumber younger travelers, thanks to advances in the medical field that have allowed people to live longer lives on the whole.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe when traveling so your trips will always be enjoyable instead of stressful. Seek out a travel agent that knows how to provide special care to senior travelers. Be selective when choosing your traveling partners. You always want to travel with at least one other person for safety and enjoyment. While family is always a great choice, don’t forget to think about neighbors and friends, as well.
Group travel will usually get you a discount on airfare and accommodations. Another tip is to learn to travel light. Very lightweight luggage is available with or without wheels. Wheeled luggage is very easy to maneuver through airports, train stations and car rental agencies. If you take medications, it’s recommended to have a copy of the prescription with the doctor’s signature on it, especially for medications such as narcotics. Doctor’s notes and this evidence will greatly simplify moving through airport security with these medications. You can get the bestover 70 travel insurance information by visiting this website.
In addition,travelers insurance is also available.If you need to cancel your trip for any reason, the cost of your trip could be refunded to you. Many cover medical expenses while traveling, but be sure to ask the insurance company before you leave. Every insurance company has different policies, so it is best to know if you are covered before you leave home. Take the time to research the place you plan on visiting ahead of time.
For senior travelers being prepared ahead of time assures them of a problem free vacation. A few of the following safety tips may be of help to you.
Be prepared to take along enough prescription medication to last the length of your trip and extra seven days. It’s better to be over prepared than to wind up in a far flung back country without the medication you need. Many seniors check with their doctor, get a physical, before taking vacations or extended travel. Talk to your physician about the steps you should take in case the unexpected happens.
Be sure to keep a list with you all the time that lists information about your health conditions and medications you may be taking, and contacts for your family and doctor. Give copies to your traveling companions and place a copy in your wallet. Make your travel buddies aware of any health conditions you may have and when to contact emergency personnel.
Remember to ask your doctor about proper times for medication, if you’ll be crossing time zones, and the best way to handle that situation. Also be careful that the local foods you eat are not going to interact unfavorably with those medications. Boost current vaccinations or get new ones. Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to get specific immunizations before you go–sometimes up to six weeks in advance. Drink lots of water during each flight, as the air inside planes is quite dry. Sitting for long periods of time can leave you with stiff joints and a high level of fatigue. Avoid this by occasionally walking up and down the aisle, as well as frequent stretching.
When packing your suitcases, try to limit your items to only those you know you will actually need; this prevents you from having to carry more than necessary. Don’t forget to pack one item for weather that might be unseasonably warm or cold. A sweater or throw will be handy for cool evenings and air-conditioned buildings, even in tropical locales. If possible, take along clothing that you’ll be able to wash and then wear again.
Make sure you take along shoes that will be supportive on long walks. However, be mindful of what your clothing could possibly say about you. Fanny packs and large totes may advertise that you are a tourist. Be aware of your surroundings and carry a bag that can be zipped closed and worn across the chest.Do not keep all of your money or valuables in one place in case of loss or theft. Today air travel is very efficient but luggage can be lost or directed to the wrong destination. Mark your luggage with your name and the destination you are traveling to. This will help the airline reunite you with your belongings as quickly as possible. Make sure you let others know where you are going and how long you plan to be away. Have a neighbor collect your mail and newspaper and keep an eye on your home. Provide a relative or friend with a list that includes all your destinations, the time frame in which you expect to be traveling to those areas, and contact
information for your hotels.

A Brief Guide to Packing for a Trip

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A Brief Guide to Packing for a Trip

Before you carry that overloaded suitcase to the car, imagine how much heavier it is going to feel when you have to lug it through the airport terminal. Straining your back just so you can have three or four extra dress shirts to choose from is not worth the pain. Odds are that the majority of travelers who have difficulty with their luggage have over packed.

The lines to get through security and to the baggage claim are long enough. The effort to move your luggage across the airport as well as the additional stress of worrying if the oversized, over packed bag will make the flight and meet you at your destination can not be justified.

Be sure to inspect your bags on order to make sure that you are not bringing anything along that you do not need. If you find an item that you could live without for this trip, take it out. That extra pair of shoes will be in your closet waiting for you when you return. You will most likely still have to check your baggage when you arrive at the airport, but at least it will not be as heavy as it was and you can rest easier knowing that everything in your bags is essential.

Going with as small and as light a bag as possible, is the best place to start when packing for a trip. The ease of carrying a small, lightweight bag through the airport, up and down hotel stairs, or to and from your rental car is a great example of the benefits of being thrifty with your luggage.

On an airplane you can put a small bag under your seat in some cases (each airline has its own policies on whether bags can be stored underneath your seta or not). However, even if you cannot store your bag under your seat, it can be stored in the overhead compartment above your seat or aisle. Having the assurance of knowing your bag is onboard with you eliminates worries over baggage being lost by baggage handlers. This is another reason to use a smaller bag, if possible, to store your belongings.

Still, the question remains: How do you travel lighter in order to take advantage of these benefits and not arrive at your destination without needed items? The simplest answer is to plan your packing with as much attention to detail as when you plan the rest of your trip.

Begin by packing the most important items, such as prescription medication. However, it’s a good idea to buy a small pill dispenser and place your medication in them for the days you will be on your trip, plus an extra day just in case you are delayed by a day in returning home. This takes up much less room in a bag than full bottles of medication or vitamins. If you are unexpectedly delayed at your destination for a longer than anticipated period of time, you can always call your doctor and request that he or she call in a prescription to a pharmacy close to where you are staying.

Par down how much clothing you are taking with you as these are bulky, heavy items. 3 pairs of jeans, or pants, one skirt or shorts, 3 shirts, 1 set of pajamas, 3 pairs of socks and 4 pairs of underwear will last you 7 days and you can wash your clothes if you will be staying away longer. Wear a pair of jeans that day and air them out that night and wear them again the next day. Rotating your shirts will give you a new look every day. Socks and underwear can be worn inside and out for two days of wear. Shorts could be worn for outdoor recreation to save your jeans for dining and attending indoor events. A skirt could work in the same way or be worn home the last day of your trip.

Hygiene products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, denture brush, denture cleaner, hairbrush, and soap bars. And items like curling irons and hair dryers can take up a lot of room in your bag when you take them in their full-sized versions. You can scale hygiene products down in size by putting them in travel size containers. Many hotels provide free shampoo, conditioner, and soap for their guests, so you may not need to take much of these products with you. Consider too that many mid-priced, and higher priced hotels provide hair dryers in-room for guests to use. Ask about this when you make your reservations and you might find that you can leave your bulky hair dryer at home. If you must take items such a these because the hotel doesn’t provide them, buy them the travel size versions of them to keep them from overloading your bag.

Taking excess money and valuable jewelry with you is never recommended. Hop online and find other tips for traveling lighter.