Tough Choices This Summer? Where Should I Go?

About this time of year, I always start getting deluged with requests for suggestions for the perfect summer tour. Summer is always a wonderful time for travel, and I have three top suggestions for you to consider this summer. I base these particular suggestions on a combination of the weather or what’s going on there during the summer months. So without further ado, here are my three suggestions for your dream vacation abroad.

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Planning for Winter Break

When it comes to planning vacations, our thoughts often automatically turn to June, July, and August. “Summer” and “vacation” are two things that just seem to go hand-in-hand. Many people overlook the opportunity to take advantage of the winter months when planning a vacation. Even if you just took a trip in July, won’t you be ready for another one six months later? Surely, you deserve to treat yourself to a mental and physical vacation more than once a year!

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New Destinations for 2013: Try These Suggestions

As a new year begins, we’re dusting off our travel tour itineraries and considering some new locales for adventuresome travelers. We’d also like our readers’ input on these suggested destinations. Each of these countries is somewhat off the beaten path when it comes to tourism, whether due to a history of civil strife, remote location, or lack of public awareness. While they may be diamonds in the rough, each locale is also a real gem for the discerning world traveler.

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Must I Visit More than One Distillery in Scotland?

When I think of Scotland, I first think of its Scotch whisky, for which I’s justifiably famous. For centuries Scottish distilleries have produced what are arguably the finest single malt whiskies in the world. Distillery tours are a top tourist draw, combining days of sightseeing in the picturesque Scottish countryside with tours of various distilleries. Read More “Must I Visit More than One Distillery in Scotland?”

Leaving Your Pets Behind

When going on vacation, pet owners must make arrangements for their animals. This is difficult for many pet owners who worry that their animals will not be well cared for while they are away. Below are some tips that will help you ensure that your pets have what they need so that you can relax and enjoy your time away.
Boarding Facilities
For some pet owners, leaving their pet at a boarding facility is very difficult, but some of these businesses are wonderful and treat your pet like one of the family. How can you find such a place? You just have to know what to look for when shopping around for a place to board your pet.
When visiting, try to stop by unannounced rather than making an appointment. This will give you an idea about how things are run during the day, not just when a potential customer may be stopping in.
If you are boarding a dog, ask how much time they will be spending outside and if there will be any playtime with a staff member.
If you have special feeding requirements for your pet, you will need to ask to make sure the facility is able to accommodate those needs. Also, if you do not want your pet to be allowed to play with other animals being boarded at the facility, you will need to ask if that will be a problem.
The facility should, of course, be relatively clean and the staff should seem as though they genuinely enjoy being around animals.
Asking for references is a great idea. If it is possible, call a few of their past clients to see how they enjoyed the experience of dealing with the boarding facility.
You could also Google the name of the facility to see if there are any hits – good or bad – about anyone’s experiences there.
At Home Care
Another option is to hire someone to provide at-home care for your pets. If you have cats, it may be sufficient to have someone come by once or twice a day to check on the animals, feed them and clean the litter box.
If you have dogs, however, you will need someone who can provide more care. Dogs often do not do well when left alone for extended periods. Having someone stop by a few times a day just to let the dog go outside is really not sufficient care.
Ideally, you would be able to have someone stay at your home while you were gone in order to care for your dogs. If that is not possible, at least try to find someone who can spend several hours a day at your house, providing the dog with plenty of time to exercise as well as some interaction.
Because of the needs of most dogs, it is often a better choice to board them unless you can find someone to stay at your home.
By knowing that your pets are being properly cared for, you will not have to worry about them while you are away. Most boarding facilities will allow you to call and check on your pet, so do that if it will give you additional peace of mind.
Your pets are part of the family, make sure you have taken the necessary steps to provide for their needs while you are away.

Keeping Green: Dos and Don’ts for Traveling

Traveling, if not approached correctly, is an activity that can leave a large environmental footprint. But fortunately, today going green is a global effort. Even when traveling abroad, there are many things that you can do in order to insure that you make the smallest environmental impact possible. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” in order to help you keep green while traveling:

* Do inquire as to whether your hotel has a recycling program. If so, be an active participant. This includes tidbits you may pick up during your travels such as periodicals and maps.

*Do find out about your hotel’s housekeeping policies. If you can, request that your bed linens and towels be laundered every rather week than every day, or after the tenure of your stay. This helps to conserve both water and energy.

*Do make appropriate use of curtains and blinds in your hotel room in order to aid in temperature control.

*Do use electronic check-in systems whenever possible, both at your hotel and at the airport, in order to reduce paper waste.

*Do leave unopened soaps, shampoos, and other products in your hotel room so that the next guest can use them.

*Do patronize local businesses as frequently as possible in order to support the local economy. Buy locals food and goods that have not been shipped many long miles to reach their destination. Look for Fair Trade coffee shops.

*Do bring as many of your own snacks and drinks with you as possible. Re-fill a stainless steel water bottle every day rather than purchasing plastic bottles of water. An empty water bottle can be brought through airport security check points.

*Don’t litter! In some countries it is still common to throw trash right on the ground. Don’t do this yourself. Take a trash bag with you wherever you go.

*Don’t book a cruise. Cruise ships are notoriously unfriendly to the earth. In one single day, passengers aboard a cruise ship generate up to 21,000 gallons of sewage; 8,000 plastic bottles; and 170,000 gallons of waste water.

*Don’t pick up paper brochures and pamphlets that you do not need. The same goes for disposable napkins and utensils.

*Don’t use disposable cameras, as they create a lot of waste. Use a digital camera instead, preferably one with a rechargeable battery.
*Don’t forget to turn off all electrical appliances such as TVs, radios, chargers, and lights before leaving your hotel room to sightsee for the day.

*Don’t rent a car unless you really need to. Utilize public transportation whenever possible. If you do have to rent a car, inquire as to whether the company has high efficiency or alternative fuel vehicles.