Tips To Choose The Best Hotel Or Resort For Your Celebrations Or Events

Accommodation is important in any kind of travel whether it is for business or leisure. Fortunately, most destinations have plenty of options for you including resorts and hotels. One of the things you want to make sure you do before travelling is having your accommodation plans in check. At least this way you don’t have to get frustrated when you get to the destination only to find you have limited options with your accommodation.

1. Start by choosing the most ideal resort location. The location can have a lot to determine when it comes to the environment or the kind of ambience and atmosphere you enjoy during your stay. For formal or business travel, you should settle for a location that is serene enough for you to run your conferences and meetings without much interruption. If you are travelling for leisure and have a need to enjoy the stay to the maximum then choose a location that offers great views and activities.

2. Check out the facilities available. For instance, if you are travelling with business partners, does the hotel or resort have conference rooms and are they large enough and well equipped to give you a smooth time? Checking such facilities from the beginning will help you make the right decision with the hotel. Same goes for celebrations such as weddings. Does it have grounds you can conveniently use for the wedding and what services can you enjoy related to such? You also want to consider the suites and rooms available to make sure you love the settings and possible arrangements to make your stay most rewarding and calming.

3. Find out what services you can enjoy. Despite the reason for your travel and need for hotel accommodation, there are services you might need to complete the experience. They include housekeeping, laundry, transport and babysitting among others. It is important to evaluate what services are important to you and how possible they are from the hotel. Look for hotels or resorts with impeccable customer service and flexibility so you can have a time of your life free from worries.

4. Consider the room amenities. They will definitely come in handy when packing for the stay or holidays. Do you need a hairdryer and does the hotel provide that or do you have to carry one yourself? Consider the items you need for convenience and match them with what the hotel offers in your room so you can have an easy time deciding what to take with you. The room rates can determine amenities made available to you with higher rates coming with more amenities for your enjoyment.

5. Find out what activities you can enjoy from the hotel. They can make a memorable stay, especially when the activities match your preferences. Swimming, jogging, surfing and golfing are some of the activities most hotels offer. If you love the gym or spa experiences, then you also want to consider whether the resort has a spa or a gym at your disposal.

Outdoor Holiday Lighting Tips

Outdoor holiday lighting is truly exciting. Getting those holiday lights on your outdoor property can really help you get deeper into the Christmas spirit. Installing and using outdoor lights however are far different than with indoor ones. Here are some important tips to take note of to keep your holiday lighting installation and use both safe and enjoyable.

* Never use plain staples or nails for installing your decorative lights. These could cut through the wire and cause fraying. This in turn could endanger you and your property. As much as possible, settle for plastic clips that you can easily use on eaves, gutters and railings. If you really must use staples, make sure that they are the insulated type and that you do not cut through the wire.

* Never use indoor lights outdoors. Use only holiday lights that are specifically meant to be used for the outdoors. You should also strictly stick to manufacturer instructions on how to use your Christmas lights.

* Carefully check your outdoor holiday lighting even if newly bought. You shouldn’t just keep an eye out for busted bulbs. You should also check for frayed wires, exposed wires or broken connecting sockets.

* All lighting sockets should be wrapped with electrical tape. This will ensure that there is no gap in between connections. The electrical tape can also ensure that water cannot get into the connecting points.

* You cannot just connect as many lights as you want. You also have to be careful with using limited extension wires for too many lights. You could cause a circuit overload that could lead to power failure. Light makers usually have safety guidelines on the number of lights that can be connected.

* Be careful with power lines. A tree you are decorating, your ladder or even your body could come in contact with a power line. You could seriously injure yourself and damage your property.

* Do not leave outdoor holiday lighting unattended. Only have them on if you are at home and awake. Make sure they are turned off before you leave home or before you retire for the night.

* Don’t keep the lights attached way after the holidays. You may have had a hard time installing them all over the house. This may make you feel like wanting to enjoy your lights a little more. It isn’t safe though to leave them out for long. The natural elements could gradually damage your lights and make them a hazard.

* Don’t leave light cords and extension cords lying around loosely. People could trip on them. Small animals could also get entangled and choke. Keep the cords neatly to the sides and tie up any extra cord lines.

* You can enjoy your outdoor holiday lighting better if you do not have a big electric bill to pay. Lower your costs by using energy efficient lighting. Use LED bulbs. Aside from being energy efficient, they are also quite sturdy.

Keep your outdoor holiday lighting experience fun. Make sure you get the right kind of lights and materials. Make sure too that safety is always your top priority.

Exotic Destination Ideas for Getaways and Vacations

We all get sick of the drab day to day routines. Ah, for those good old days just hanging out with friends doing very little. Those days were great! Unfortunately they don’t last a lifetime. And the worst of it is we don’t appreciate it fully until we experience the other side of life, the inevitable adult side when things becomes focused on work and not play. Well folks, it doesn’t have to be like that. I know you’ve considered some foreign exotic destination, but have you ever thought about making those dreams a reality?

How does an exotic destination sound at the moment? Just take a look outside, looking at that fresh springtime air. It’s that time again when all the trees and flowers are in bloom and the air smells fantastic. The birds are singing in the trees and the sun is shining – what more could you possibly wish for? Oh yeah, i forgot; an exotic destination package deal that you’ll surely love. Luckily its easier than you think to get going. Firstly, ditch the phonebook and get online where you’ll see loads of exotic destination ideas. The best thing about choosing your vacation nowadays is the range of options open to you. Have you thought about an all inclusive trip to that exotic destination? Once you’ve been, you’ll never look back. With your flight, accommodation and possibly even your dining expenses paid for before you arrive, it will be plain sailing for you when you get to your exotic destination of choice. Thanks to the internet, you have such a range of options which can make the process even easier.

If you’re dreaming of that perfect exotic destination for you and that special someone, there is a trick you must learn. When it comes to the all-inclusive, you need to get in there first. Get online and get sifting through the millions of packages on offer. You can pick the hotel you’ve always dreamed of in the perfect destination for you. With the internet, it’s so easy. Booking your dream room ahead of time won’t just ensure you’ve somewhere to stay, but it could also save you some money, which is better spent on having a good time.

So stop dreaming and get to it – the exotic destination of your dreams is just waiting for your arrival! With so many to choose from, and such a wealth of great deals, there’s no reasons you can’t jet off today.

Travel Packing Tips

Love to travel but hate to pack? Was that a resounding YES? Of course it was. Here are a few quick tips to make the packing process a little less daunting.

Plan ahead. Research the weather at your vacation destination for the dates of your travel. Ask your travel companion, if you have one, what they’re packing. Make a list of essential items.

Check please. You’ll feel very accomplished if you check off the items on your list as you get them out and place them on your bed. Be sure you’ve included clothing, toiletries, emergency sewing kit, medications, travel documents and other necessary travel accessories.

Paper or plastic? Keep your clothes from getting soiled by putting your shoes in plastic grocery bags. Traveling by air? Put toiletries in freezer bags and sandwich baggies. Cabin pressure can make shampoo explosive…yuck!

Look before you leap. Take a thoughtful look at your bed full of clothes and ask yourself a few questions. Do you really need all those outfits or could you do a little more mixing and matching? Will anyone care if you wear the same pajamas for a week? Are there free convenience items at your hotel?

Rock and roll. You will fit more in your suitcase and have fewer wrinkles if you roll your clothes instead of folding them (except for formal wear which you’ll want to put in a garment bag).

One layer at a time. Time to load up the suitcase. Put shoes in first. Fill in any gaps with underwear and socks. Add layers of rolled clothing so that you can fit as much as possible in one suitcase. Put bags of toiletries and other items between the layers. Pack tight. Books can be packed in the outer compartments to create a shell-like protection.

Be safe and savvy. Check with your airline carrier prior to packing for updates on carryon items. Do not, I repeat, do not put any valuables in your checked luggage. Pack as if King Kong will be tossing your luggage off the Empire State Building and then kicking it all the way to your destination.

Get it when you get there. If there are any items you’ve forgotten, you most likely can purchase them when you get there or maybe do without for the week.

Asperger’s and the Holidays

In my private practice I’ve noticed a trend. Around November, old, current and new clients call wanting to schedule sessions to talk about one topic: the holidays. The trend is not surprising: most therapists find themselves busy at this time of year, when expectations and realities can clash, and even the most mature find themselves stuck in teenager roles and feelings long since discarded.

But for a therapist who counsels adults with Asperger’s the increase in client need may be surprising to some. Aren’t Aspies supposed to be unconcerned with the judgments of others, even family members? Don’t Aspies face holiday family time with few, if any, expectations for intimacy or fun? Don’t Aspies who find themselves alone during the holidays consider their solitude a “Get Free Out of Jail” card, rather than a reason for loneliness or depression? After all, Aspies don’t really seek out relationships, right? If any of these assumptions sound familiar to you, beware of the Aspie Stereotype, which pervades media (think “Rainman”), research teams (think “Yale”), pop culture (think SNL’s “Nick Burns: The computer Guy”) and even some therapist circles (not me!).

Contrary to popular notions regarding Asperger’s, many clinicians, those who work in the trenches with adults struggling with the challenges of Asperger’s, find their Aspie clients confused and overwhelmed by the holidays. Most of us harbor conscious or unconscious expectations about the holidays – how they should feel, who they should be spent with, how tall the tree should be, who should host dinner…the list can go on. A lack of awareness of one’s own “rules” regarding the holidays can set the stage for confusion, disappointment, impulse coping skills and depression. If you have Asperger’s, you may be surprised at your own “automatic” answers to questions such as:

Should holidays be spent with friends or family? Should loved ones exchange gifts, or not? Who should travel where for the holiday celebration? Tinsel, or lights? While these questions may seem trivial, they’re not – and often they shed light on our automatic thoughts that go unchallenged and cause problems. For instance, if your “rule” is that Christmas or Hanukkah is a commercialized money-making holiday to benefit department stores, you may refuse to participate, and thus miss genuine opportunities to connect with loved ones. If you automatically decree that holidays should be spent with family or friends, you may miss the comfort that solitude can bring you.

Please don’t fall into the trap of trying to live up to what you think “normal holidays” (an oxymoron) should be like. Holidays for Aspies are often riddled with “shoulds”, which trigger resentment and resistance. Adults with Asperger’s who give themselves permission to meet their own unique needs for togetherness and solitude, fun and rest, engagement and disengagement, often find themselves less pressured, less anxious and more accepting of themselves and others. This balanced approach can prevent total shutdown mode, which is a natural response to over stimulation and helplessness.

Here are some tips Aspies may find helpful:

Plan for taking breaks during visits. Examples are taking a walk outside, taking a nap with a book, taking some quiet time for deep breathing, taking a quick ride or offering to run an errand in the car, playing a video game with someone or alone, or announcing a time-out and removing yourself from the group.

Schedule realistically. Over scheduling during the holidays can lead to burnout when being around people is gratifying, but stressful (or just plain difficult). While it’s great to push yourself to socialize, the holidays are a time to be reasonable – don’t expect yourself to go from no parties to three or four in a month. Beware of the lure of substance use. Many of us rely on the cocktail or two to help ease party anxiety. While there may not be too much harm in this, most clinicians see a surge in substance use during the holidays, which can lead to hangovers, a shaken sense of self, embarrassment, or worse. Remember that as long as you’re using substances to quell the anxiety, you’re not truly growing in your ability to handle social situations.

Be extra kind to yourself. This sounds corny, and it is. But think about it: we spend so much time during the holidays thinking about giving to others (or avoiding it!), but how much do we think about truly giving to ourselves? This is the time to use kind words and actions to take care of yourself. Ideas include buying or checking out a new book, going to the movies alone, eating a favorite meal, spending quiet time petting the cat. Seek help if you need to. Holiday therapy can be a temporary bridge to January 2! Here’s to your success in creating a holiday this year that you can anticipate with groundedness and optimism.

Vacations – 5 Tips for Booking a Vacation Online

You’ve heard it a million times before, but if it’s sounds too good to be true well guess what it is! Like most things when booking a trip online common sense prevails. So trust your gut and if it doesn’t seem right give it a pass and keep looking. Here are 5 tips that will stop you from being scammed when booking a vacation online and help you keep your hard earned money!

1. Make Sure the Offer is from a Legitimate Supplier! Scam artists are real good. In fact they can look more professional that the pros! If you click on a banner ad or read a review promoting a particular vacation do your homework. Read through the content as the bad guys will portray themselves as, for example, being from Hilton Hotels. So if it’s a promotion for Hilton, go to their company website or call them to make sure the offer is there. If it’s not, chances are you would have been ripped off.

2. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Not all companies are household names and yet they most likely have a legitimate offer. It sounds trite, but contact the local BBB of the city the business is located in to see if there are any reports of them. According to the BBB the travel industry is in the top 25 for complaints.

3. Beware of Delayed Reservations. This one is a classic! Make sure you put your purchase on a credit card – no cash and no checks! If you pay by credit card you have 60 days to dispute the charge. So if you are booking a vacation for 3 or 4 months down the road make sure you are sent the reservation within a few days. The scammers will wait to the 61st day or longer to send you the reservation when it’s too late to dispute with your credit card company.

4. Don’t Pay by Check! Once you have the money is gone and if you have a dispute, probably too bad as the supplier has your money!

5. Read the Fine Print. Not sexy and no doubt a bore. But make sure what the salesperson or sales page has promised is not contradicted in the fine print. If it is, get out of the deal or call your credit card company quash it.

Booking a vacation online happens a million times every day without incident. I hope these tips help you to have a great vacation!

Holiday Weight Loss Tips – 9 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

With the holiday season comes the yearly weight gain. Parties, goodies and festivities cause us to throw our usual good sense out the window and feast on foods we wouldn’t usually eat at all. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 9 holiday weight loss tips to help you enjoy the season and avoid holiday weight gain at the same time.

1. Don’t plan to blow your diet. Most people resign themselves to the fact that they are going to blow their diet and gain weight during the holiday season. They’ve already decided they are going to fail before they even get started. Sit down and write out a contract with yourself. Set your expectations high and don’t allow yourself to backslide. Write out what type of reward you are going to give yourself for making progress when others are pigging out.

2. Plan to work out. Never say you will try to squeeze a workout into your schedule. It won’t happen. Schedule your workouts and stick to your schedule. They are just as important as any other appointment in your day. Scheduled workouts also help to offset a few too many treats by boosting your metabolism.

3. Set new fitness goals. Why wait until the new year? Your schedule will be just as busy later. If you want to lose fat or gain muscle then start working on it right now. A healthier you is the best present you can give yourself and your loved ones.

4. Give yourself permission to cheat. If you know there will be certain parties or holiday meals where you will be overly tempted, then schedule those meals as your cheat meals for the week. Enjoy the food without guilt and get right back on track with the very next meal.

5. Stick to your routine. Don’t eat whatever food is available just because it’s there. Stick to your eating plan unless it’s a scheduled cheat. You’ll be much happier and healthier in the long run.

6. Control your portion sizes. Too much of anything, even the healthiest food, will cause you to gain weight. If it’s just not Christmas without a certain food, then eat a small portion of that food and enjoy without guilt.

7. Don’t let others talk you in to overindulgence. Decide beforehand how many treats you are going to allow yourself at a party and stick to it. If someone tries to get you to have one more helping or one more drink, it’s perfectly acceptable to politely decline.

8. Choose foods wisely. Holidays are no different from other days with respect to the fact that you should choose your foods wisely. Take a long look at the food choices available and put only the healthiest choices on your plate. If there are no truly healthy choices available, then eat a very small serving of the most healthy option and follow it up with a healthy meal when you get home.

9. Drink alcohol in moderation only. If you drink at all, then set your limit at one or two drinks and stick to it. Alcoholic drinks are purely empty calories, so don’t feel bad about switching to non-alcoholic beverages. A diet soda or juice spritzer is a better choice than a third cocktail and you won’t have a hangover the next day either.

I hope you’ve found these holiday weight loss tips helpful. May you enjoy the beauty of the season and avoid holiday weight gain. Healthy Holidays To All!

Tips for Selecting a Travel Agent

Even with the proliferation of options to directly purchase a holiday, a flight, or almost any accommodation, it is still mostly beneficial to share your plans with a reputable travel agent or consultant. Many of use have dreams to see new places, experience new opportunities and generally have a penchant to leave home but return safely. Here we look at what to look for in a such a person.

1. Personal Touch

The personal touch is important as you will get better results if you have a good working relationship with your travel agent. Find one who you can relate to and who listens to your needs and meets them. Most holiday packages are prepared and managed by an organisation that is not directly owned by the agent, so the best consultant will have no favourites or preferred suppliers. He or she simply listens to your requests and find the best options for you to choose. Generally it will take several iterations to plan the dream holiday.

2. Expert Knowledge

As a consumer of travel, you want to deal with someone who has expert knowledge. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of options for you to choose but unfortunately no one travel consultant knows everything. Hence choosing someone who has travelled and has access to robust knowledge in other areas is wise. A travel consultant who knows what he or shes does not know but has research capability can help in most situations.

3. Availability

The travel agents availability is important both during the pre-travel time as well as during the travel time. The availability can be in person, online, email or whatever means you need during the pre-travel phase. Many arrangements are made now-a-days without face-to-face meetings, although much can be gained by meeting. A discussion on response times from your travel agent is important to understand should you be visiting countries of higher risk. Often, there will be people in-country with whom any challenges can be discussed.

4.Willingness to Answer Questions

A good travel agent will answer all the questions that you ask and clarify any confusions that you may have. They want to build their and retain business, hence reputable travel agents will do whatever is in their power to answer your questions.

In summary, choose a travel agent who you can build a relationship. People like doing business with people they trust. With so many options available it is impossible to know the details of each tour. Let the travel agent research with the suppliers and you will develop the best expectations for your travel. Happy travelling.

Top 10 Kayaking Tips for Beginners

Number 10:

For your first time, make sure that you are with an experienced kayaker, or at least someone who has been out at water several times before. Never go out by yourself on your first time. When with a group or an experienced individual it will ensure that if you do get into trouble, someone will be at hand to help.

Number 9:

Make sure you have the correct equipment! Find a local reputable and experienced shop to get your equipment from. Not only will they be able to make sure that you have everything that you need, including a suitable kayak, buoyancy aids and wet suits, they will also be able to offer additional help and advice on the best places locally to kayak.

Number 8:

Know the difference between sea kayaking and river kayaking. There are a great many different types of kayak on the market all design for specific types of water. Sea kayaking has become increasingly popular, but there are also kayaks for white water kayaking, river kayaking, there are sit-on-top kayaks, sit inside kayaks, surf kayaks, racing kayaks and many many more. Speak to an experienced kayaker if you are unsure of which type to go with.

Number 7:

Learn how to capsize safely. At one point across your kayaking adventures you are bound to come up against a large wave, a fast current or some rapids that will capsize your kayak. It is always best to be prepared for this by learning how to capsize safely. If you practice capsizing in calm water in a group or with someone else, you can practice escaping from the hull, coming to the surface and getting back in your kayak.

Number 6:

Take out personal accident insurance. If you are planning an extended trip, kayaking somewhere with high currents, or perhaps can not afford to take any time off of work due to an accident, make sure you protect yourself financially with personal accident insurance.

Number 5:

Go exploring! Treat kayaking as a way to explore new and exciting places. Whether you are paddling across canals, rivers or the sea, there are plenty of places to explore. Why not pack up some lunch and paddle to a distant shore for your sandwiches? There is a whole world to explore, if you follow the rest of these tips you will hopefully stay safe!

Number 4:

Check the weather. It may seem like an obvious one, but trust me I have overlooked this one on many occasions. High winds and heavy rain can make for very choppy water and an increased risk of capsizing. Fast currents can often be very unsafe, so make sure you are fully aware of the conditions before you set out.

Number 3:

Choose your location carefully. Don’t just jump into any old stretch of water and start paddling. If its a beautiful day at a lovely stretch of open water and there arn’t any other kayakers around, there is normally a reason for it! Check online, join forums or ask your local retailers for advice on the best places to kayak.

Number 2:

Don’t underestimate yourself! Yes kayaking can look very daunting to get into and complex to master, but it is very easy to pick up the basics. If you follow these tips and stay safe, there is no reason that you can’t have years of memorable adventures without a single mishap.

Number 1:

Take out kayak equipment insurance. Kayaking equipment can often be very expensive, and is put under a tremendous amount of stress and strain. Hidden rocks in rivers can crack kayaks, fast currents can crash it into the shore and equipment can even be stolen. Specific kayaking insurance from Harrison Beaumont Insurance not only covers all your expensive kayaking equipment, it also covers all your personal effects, such as smart phone, sat nav, digital camera etc. From only £40 for the whole year, its my number one tip for any kayaker, beginner or fully fledged enthusiast!

6 Tips For Spending Wisely This Holiday Season

When holiday music is piped into malls and festive themes accompany some hard-to-miss sales, it’s no wonder people are compelled to overspend during the holidays. Here are six helpful tips to keep help keep your holiday spending in check this season.

1. Start with a list. Even Santa knows it’s wise to make a list (and check it twice!) in preparation for the gift-giving season. Make a list with everyone you plan to buy for. Be sure to include family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and anyone else in your life you would like to remember with a gift. Next, set a budget to guide your purchases. If the math doesn’t add up-you have too many gifts to buy and not enough money to go around-pare down your list or reduce the amount you can spend on each person.

2. Comparison shop. Your holiday dollars will go further if you do your homework before pulling out your wallet. Online price comparison engines can help you identify where to find the best deals. Shopping online can be a real time-saver, too, but be mindful of shipping charges. You’ll also want to watch for upcoming holiday sales and plan your shopping excursions accordingly. Black Friday is not the only time you can find deals during the season.

3. Avoid overspending on a credit card. Naturally, credit cards offer the convenience of buying now and paying later. The “pay later” scenario only works in your favor if you’re able to zero out your balance before the next billing cycle. If you don’t pay down your charges for months on end, interest accrues and suddenly that $30 gift has snowballed into an unwieldy sum. If you need to rely on credit to spread the cost of holiday purchases over a few months, factor in estimated interest charges when you make your budget. Or better yet, avoid the credit trap altogether by spending within your means.

4. Keep your savings on track. Saving should be a regular part of your monthly budget. If you’ve worked with a financial advisor before, stick to your savings plan instead of putting your financial future on hold. If you haven’t worked with a financial professional before and don’t yet have a plan for growing your nest egg, give yourself the gift of financial advice this year. A qualified financial advisor can identify strategies to help you achieve your financial goals.

5. Give sentimental gifts that don’t cost much. When you’re in stores, it’s easy to get distracted and start to ignore your budget. Don’t buy into the notion that the price tag of a gift indicates its ultimate value. The best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive. In many cases, a thoughtful, sentimental gift can mean as much or more than an expensive object.

6. Remember to put people first. In our consumer-centric society, it’s easy to get carried away with material things. It’s important to stay focused on what truly matters about the season-spending time with the people who mean the most to you. It doesn’t cost anything to take some time away from the hustle and bustle and savor the special moments that come with the holidays.