CALL: 828 299 3648
Stories from our travelers
News from the travel world

*** News Updates ***

Tips for Travel Under Increased Security Initiatives
The airport security screening procedures that travelers have become accustomed to have changed due to recent events in the United States.
How to Pack. Airport security screening procedures will be significantly more stringent than before. Items in one's suitcase that may have passed through before may not be accepted onboard aircraft today. Complete a personal luggage inventory. Empty out items in the always packed suitcase. Look at each item and evaluate whether an object could be scrutinized by airport security. (This includes items found in manicure kits, etc.) Consider removal of anything that could be perceived as threatening, or may raise suspicion at a security screening checkpoint. No knives of any size will be accepted. Anticipate having to open a bag for security inspection.
Pack efficiently, placing smaller items together in a pouch or bag. Avoid over packing so that carryon luggage and checked suitcases open and close with ease. Make sure that each suitcase has a name tag securely affixed to it.
Verify possession of a government-issued photo identification card or passport. Customers will not be allowed to check-in without proper identification. Bring E-Ticket confirmation to the airport. Getting to the Airport--- Confirm flight status.
Expect restricted airport parking. Arrive early. Customers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least two hours before scheduled departure for domestic flights, and at least two-and-one-half hours before international flights. Upon Arrival at Airport ---Leave no vehicle or baggage unattended. Aircraft security will be completing thorough sweeps of airport properties.
Expect to see an increased presence of law enforcement personnel outside and inside the terminal building. Proceed inside the terminal with luggage. Curbside check-in and off airport checked baggage options are unavailable. E-Ticket customers without luggage may check in at an E-Service Center. (Some airports may not provide this option.) E-Ticket and paper ticket customers with luggage to check may proceed to the ticket counter.
Maintain baggage receipts for verification at destination. At the Security Checkpoint Access beyond security restricted to passengers and employees only.
Have ticket paperwork available
, along with ID. Prepare to empty pockets of coins, metals, etc. Prepare to demonstrate operation of electronic equipment such as laptops, cell phones, etc. Be patient. Do not make jokes about security. Comply with all security instructions.
Expect increased passenger and baggage security screening. Wand checks and full-body hand searches may be expected.
At the Gate Leave no bag unattended. Maintain sense of awareness. Expect to see law enforcement personnel and dogs.
Keep ticket paperwork and identification available. Expect to see teams of individuals board the aircraft before general passenger boarding in order to sweep the aircraft as an added security precaution. These individuals may board the aircraft from inside the terminal building, or may enter and exit via jet bridge stairs.
Pay attention to announcements. Board the aircraft as directed by gate agents. Do not wait until the last minute to board the aircraft.
Onboard the Aircraft --- Expect to see random searches of service personnel, flight crews, and equipment. Listen to and follow crew instructions at all times. Flight crews are trained to ensure passenger safety and comfort.
Be patient if departure is delayed. Passenger boarding and baggage loading are being carefully coordinated by ground handling crew.
Upon Arrival at Destination--- Proceed through the terminal beyond security. Meeting parties will be restricted to areas outside security checkpoints. Have luggage receipts available when retrieving luggage for verification.

Jet Lag
What is jet lag? Jetlag is caused by disruption of your "body clock" - a small cluster of brain cells that controls the timing of biological functions (circadian rhythms), including when you eat and sleep. The body clock is designed for a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness, so that it is thrown out of "sync" when it experiences daylight and darkness at the "wrong" times in a new time zone.

The symptoms of jet lag often persist for days while the internal body clock slowly adjusts to the new time zone. Jet lag has a high correlation with age … over 50 and you are more susceptible.

Tips for Jet Lag:
* Before you go: Make sure you have all your affairs, business and personal, in order. Ensure you are not stressed-out with excitement or worry, and not tired or hung over from a function the night before. Get plenty of exercise in the days before departure and try to avoid sickness such as the flu, colds, and so on. If you have a cold, flying will probably make it worse - ideally you should delay the trip. Start going to bed and getting up later if heading west, earlier if going east. Extend your period of exposure to light—in the morning or at night, depending on direction of travel and number of time zones you will cross.
* Drink plenty of water. The dry air in aircraft causes dehydration. Drinking plenty of nonalcoholic fluids counters this. Water is better than coffee, tea, and fruit juices. Alcohol is not only useless in combating dehydration, but has a markedly greater intoxicating effect when drunk in the rarefied atmosphere of an airliner than it does at ground level.
*Get as much exercise as you can. Walking up and down the aisle, standing for spells, and doing small twisting and stretching exercises in your seat all help to reduce discomfort, especially swelling of legs and feet. Get off the plane if possible at stopovers, and do some exercises or take a walk. Other hints, ideas
*Timing of meals may play an important role in resetting body clocks, concludes a study that could aid scientists who are hunting for ways to combat travelers' jet lag. The discovery, published in a recent edition of the journal Science, is in rats, not travelers, scientists cautioned. Still, "it's noninvasive to change your eating habits”, notes lead researcher Michael Menaker, a University of Virginia biologist. "This would give you a reason to try it.”

Scientists discovered the brain-based clock is not the only control of circadian rhythms. Other organs seem to have their own clocks that supplement the brain's master clock. Perhaps that is why sleep problems are not the only jet lag symptom; many sufferers complain of stomach upset and other problems, too. Menaker simulated jet lag by exposing rats to light six hours earlier than they would normally wake. While the light-sensitive brain clock could adjust in a few days, the rats' separate liver circadian rhythms were out of sync for up to two weeks. The liver helps control food metabolism.

So Menaker, working with scientists in Norway and Japan, wondered if changing mealtimes would reset the liver's own circadian rhythm and thus help readjust the overall body clock. Rats normally sleep during the day and feed at night. Allow them food only for four hours during daylight and they rapidly act like day is night, pumping away on their exercise wheels for a few hours before the food appears. Are they just hungry? By checking those liver genes under the microscope, Menaker found that the circadian clock in the liver had shifted by 10 hours after just two days of adjusted mealtimes.

This doesn't mean eating habits are more important than light exposure for a person trying to prevent jet lag, Earnest cautioned, but that changing meal times might "be an added bonus" in helping to reset the body clock after a long trip. Indeed, "it is reasonable that ... if you are going to Europe, you should a few days before departure, start eating dinner on European time," Menaker said. "The brain will shift more quickly once you get there”, meaning the two organs might be in sync sooner, thanks to the liver's head-start.

Note of caution: Some people use sleeping pills to try to alleviate jet lag. This is a dangerous approach as a report in the Lancet in 1988 says, "Estimated that over three years at Heathrow Airport, 18% of the 61 sudden deaths in long distance passengers were caused by clots in the lungs”. Sleeping pills induce a comatose state with little or no natural body movement. When blood does not circulate, there is a possibility that it will clot. In addition, many so-called sleeping pills are variants on antihistamines and they tend to dehydrate significantly adding to the already big problem of dehydration.

Airport Status

You can now find the status of airport delays around the country by going to the FAA website. The FAA also launched a new service allowing travelers with pagers, cell phones and handheld devices to receive real-time flight information via e-mail. Click to go to the FAA website: FAA

Baggage Complaints - Liability Limited Raised
Air travelers with baggage complaints may not know that in January, the US government raised the baggage liability limits per passenger from USD 1,250 to at least USD 2,500 on domestic flights. International passengers are entitled to USD 9.07 per pound of luggage. However, according to an article by James F.Sweeney, this amount is not guaranteed, so travelers can improve their chances of collecting by following some basic guidelines: * Put your name on the outside and inside of all baggage * Take along a list of the contents of each bag * Report missing or damaged bags before leaving the airport

*** Children Travelers ***

Tips for Kids Flying Solo
We frequently make arrangements for children flying alone. The airline term for this is Unaccompanied Minor (UM), and each airline has their own rules, restrictions and fees for children flying alone. It is important to contact the airline or your travel agent to find out in advance what these restrictions and fees are.
The following are some general tips on preparing children for this experience.
1. Pack a carry-on bag for your child with snacks, a few books or quiet toys, any needed medications, a change of clothes, home contact information and money for phone calls and in-flight movies earphones.
2. Explain potential problems to the child to prepare him or her for any difficulties that could arise (such as flight delays, missed connections, etc.)
3. Notify the airline when booking the ticket that the passenger is a UM and order special kid's meals and games.
4. Plan for midday travel to avoid stressed business travelers, overbooked flights and airline personnel who are too busy to give extra attention to the child.
5. Avoid connecting flights. If unavoidable, parents should arrange for an airline escort to get the child from gate to gate or have a baby sitter fly part way with the child to help make the connection.
6. Make sure to stay at the airport until the airplane is in the air.
7. Ask about the airline's policy on interrupted flights for UMs. Some airlines will place kids with flight attendants overnight, make the child wait with airport security for the next available flight or make arrangements for a hotel room for the child with a security guard posted outside. A few carriers will create pajama parties, putting two kids together in a room.

*** Rail Journeys ***

Senior Travelers and Trains
Senior travelers contemplating a train trip in the US or Europe need to consider their physical limitations and the demands of train travel. One key consideration relates to baggage.

Since many seniors use wheeled luggage, the gaps between train platforms and cars is an important consideration. The bags need to be lifted into the car and frequently wheeled luggage is heavy. Worse yet, Amtrak stations outside the Northeast and many stations on the Continent have track-level platforms that require passengers to climb up into the car while hauling their bags. Once inside, bags usually need to be hoisted onto overhead racks.

Seniors need to be aware of the challenges of the train stations themselves. Getting to platforms and making connections can involve several trips up and down stairs, all the while dragging that lovely wheeled bag.

*** Hotel Stays ***

Beware --- in Room Movies
You have just settled into a chair in your hotel room to watch an in-room movie. During a slow spot, you do what you do at home --- you flip to another channel. In many hotels, you will be dismayed to find that the movie you were enjoying won't appear on the screen again. However the USD$10.00 charge for the movie will have no problem appearing on your bill when you check out! If you cannot find the movie again be sure to call the front desk immediately.

*** Recipes ***
Need a fast get-away? Try a recipe and enjoy an out of the ordinary experience.

Caribbean Coconut Curry Sauce
2/3 cup canned cream of coconut * 1/2 cup fresh lime juice * 5 tablespoons minced green onions and 3 tablespoons minced red peppers * 2 teaspoons curry powder * 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper * 1/2 teaspoon salt --- Whisk cream of coconut and fresh lime juice in bowl until smooth. Stir in green onions, red peppers, curry powder, cayenne powder and salt. Brush half of sauce over chicken or seafood before grilling. Brush sauce on shrimp or chicken during grilling leaving some for on the table. This recipe makes enough for 1 1/2 pounds of chicken or shrimp.

Tuscan Beans and Shrimp
White beans are synonymous with the rustic and simple cuisine of Tuscany. This simple dish combines cannellini beans with fresh shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, and basil. This dish is hearty enough to be served as a light entrée or as a starter.

5 tablespoon(s) Extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoon(s) Garlic, minced 1 Bay leaf 3/4 pound(s) Shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 tablespoon(s) Basil leaves, fresh, chopped 2 tablespoon(s) Parsley, chopped fresh Italian 1 can(s) Cannellini beans, 15 oz can, 1/3 cup of drained liquid reserved, water added to make 1/2 cup 1 cup(s) Plum tomatoes, canned, drained, seeded and chopped to taste Sea salt to taste Black pepper, freshly ground ---
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, and add garlic, bay leaf, and shrimp. Sauté until shrimp are almost cooked, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the basil, parsley, beans, reserved bean liquid, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Heat through, 4 to 6 minutes. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the dish. Serve hot.


Contact us with your travel wants, needs, and desires.
We are ready to assist you in sorting through the myriad of possibilities.


Return to Home Page