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Healthtravel

5 Tips for Healthy Travel

When traveling this year, you might be wondering how to stay healthy as you go. For sure, getting sick can sure put a damper on your trip.

Spending time in airports or places where people gather increases your risk of picking up the cold or flu, says the Journal of Travel Medicine. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to prevent catching a virus while in transit. Here are five tips — such as eating immune-boosting foods — to help you stay well during your holiday travels.

1. Get a Flu Shot

Getting the flu vaccine is absolutely the best way to reduce your chances of catching and spreading the flu. The flu vaccine boosts your immune system to help your body fight off viruses that cause influenza.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to provide protection, so try to get one as soon as possible. Fortunately, flu vaccines are readily available in many locations, possibly even at your local pharmacy. Your doctor can also administer the vaccine.

2. Avoid Germs

Most contagious viruses and bacteria are transmitted when you touch a contaminated surface. Simply grabbing the doorknob of the airplane bathroom and then touching your eye, nose or mouth is enough to get you sick. Here’s how to avoid that from happening:

  • Wash your hands, including your fingernails, regularly with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Use a paper towel or tissue to open door handles or turn off water faucets.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes after touching something a sick person might have touched.
  • Use disinfecting wipes to swab armrests, tray tables and other surfaces.
  • Stay at least six feet away from anyone who appears ill or who is coughing or sneezing.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial for healthy travel, especially if you’re flying. The mucous membranes in your nose are part of your body’s natural defense against bacteria and viruses. The air in an airplane cabin is extremely dry; dehydration and dry air can desiccate nasal passages, which can make you more susceptible to a fellow passenger’s flu-packed sneeze.

Be sure to carry bottled water when traveling and avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Packing some Power Packs in your carry-on is a great way to help you rehydrate.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps keep your immune system strong. The Mayo Clinic says that lack of sleep increases your risk of getting sick.

Try to get a good night’s sleep the day before you travel, and maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible while on your trip. Here are a few tips to help you get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night:

  • Keep your room cool at night.
  • Minimize your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid electronic devices such as smartphones and e-readers for at least an hour before going to bed.
  • Travel with an eye mask and earplugs and get some rest while in transit.

5. Eat Healthy

Maintaining a good diet will keep you healthy year-round, but especially while you’re traveling. Eating a balanced diet, with a focus on whole and immune-boosting foods, goes a long way toward supporting your immune system and fighting off infection.

By following these simple tips, you’ll know how to stay healthy while traveling.

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travel

Most Googled Travel Destinations That Are Trending This Year

From Tokyo to Rome, it’s clear which countries travellers are gravitating to for their summer travel plans this year! Here’s everything you need to know.

Now that summer vacations are finally upon us, everyone’s looking to the next big hotspot to head for a relaxing trip. Amongst these locations, these 7 countries have emerged as one of the most popular amongst tourists, each with their own appeal. Here’s where your next visit could be:

London, United Kingdom

There’s a lot to see all over London, as one of the most touristy cities on the planet that welcomed more than 21 million international tourists throughout the year. Besides the iconic snapshots like the British Museum or Buckingham Palace, however, there’s a lot beyond the well-trodden path like the vibrant markets of Camden and Borough Market that place a focus on both fresh produce and actually making social connections!

Tokyo, Japan

As Japan’s largest city, Tokyo has simply been growing and growing since its founding. It’s honestly pretty hard to imagine the small fishing village of Edo that stood in its place for centuries before it became the capital of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603. Today Tokyo is a dazzling mix of cultural gems and neon-lit skyscrapers that are sure to create a trip you won’t forget.

Rome, Italy

Rome is in itself an archaeological gem, completely overflowing with historical treasures and hopes. From the awe-inspiring pillars of the Colosseum to the halls of the Vatican Museum, it holds the complete history of the Roman Empire in its city. Besides its landmarks, you might even want to go for a stroll along its forgotten lanes, as every unturned stone has its own story to tell.

Cancun, Mexico

Right on the shores of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun has several stunning beaches to explore that offer a charming underwater retreat for people that are looking for the chance to explore some water-based adventure sports, like snorkellig or scuba diving by the coral reefs!

Orlando, United States

For travelling families, Orlando offers a lot of themed amusement parks and endless entertainment. From recognising all the iconic characters strolling about Walt Disney World Resort and the thrilling rollercoasters at Universal Studios, there’s quite a lot to explore!

Paris, France

Once the premier tourist destination for travellers, the City of Lights’ allure has never dimmed! Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre Museum, the key word to remember as you curate your travel itinerary for Paris is culture! There are simply so many memories to make that it’s an absolute dream for lovers.

New York, United States

The Big Apple itself, New York is known for its skyscrapers that touch the clouds and for the artistic spirit of the city. With the iconic Statue of Liberty and Times Square immediately identifiable from its name, New York has etched its name into the conscience of the world.

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travel

9 Completely Harebrained Roadside Attractions in America

Here are some ideas for planning your next big road trip.

When you’re out on a road trip, the road is only half the trip. The rest is made of all the things you do and see along the ride.

On a longer trip, though, the museums, beaches, and restaurants may start to get old. You might find yourself craving for something else.

Something weirder.

Lucky for you, the U.S. is chock-full of completely bizarre sights for you to gawk at. You just have to know where to find them.

Here’s a sampler of nine utterly mind-boggling roadside attractions in America.

1. Coral Castle

Coral Castle is a strange collection of huge limestone monuments located outside Homestead, Florida. They were erected between 1923 and 1951 by Ed Leedskalnin, an eccentric immigrant from Latvia after his fiancée left him.

The thing is, Leedskalnin supposedly set up the stones, some weighing thousands of tons, all on his own without so much as mortar. No one’s quite sure how he did it, with theories ranging from strange use of magnets to supernatural powers.

Among the carved stones are an accurate sundial, a crescent moon, and a fountain. It’s a mysterious testament to one man’s heartbreak.

2. Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue

No matter what your feelings are regarding President Jimmy Carter, you probably don’t picture him as a giant grinning peanut. But that’s what the town of Plains, Georgia, erected to help Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign.

The 13-foot-tall peanut’s toothy grin is supposedly modeled after Carter’s smile. He doesn’t see the resemblance, as the ex-President reportedly loathes the peanut.

Yet, it still stands in Plains today and is maintained regularly to preserve its happy smile. Fun fact, this is the world’s second-largest peanut — the biggest is located in nearby Ashburn, Georgia.

3. World’s Largest Ball of Paint

The world’s largest ball of paint in Alexandria, Indiana, had humble beginnings. When it was hung up in 1977, it was about the size of a baseball.

Today, the ball measures more than 14 feet in diameter and weighs 10,260 pounds. The original baseball at its heart is now covered by nearly 30,000 coats of paint.

And the best part is that you can add your own. There are paint rollers and latex paint available so visitors can leave their mark on the giant gonad-looking ball.

4. Longaberger Company Headquarters

The Longaberger Company, founded in 1973, manufactured handcrafted baskets — the kinds a cartoon character would take to a picnic. In the early ‘90s, the company decided it needed a new headquarters in Newark, Ohio.

So, it built a giant basket. Literally. The Longaberger Company’s previous head office building is shaped like one of its baskets.

Sadly, the Longaberger Company folded in 2018 and abandoned its headquarters two years prior. The giant basket is such a beloved local sight, though, that Newark is working to get it listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

5. Birthplace of Captain Kirk

It’s not unusual to see a dead famous person’s birth home become a historical attraction. But what about the birth home of a person who hasn’t been born yet?

Or doesn’t even exist?

Nonetheless, a plaque in Riverside, Iowa, proclaims the town is (or will be) the birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk of Star Trek fame. That said, he won’t be born until March 22, 2228, so you’ll have plenty of time to browse the local Star Trek museum while waiting for the momentous occasion.

6. William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History

We had to include one museum on this list. This one will be particularly memorable for making everybody visiting cringe.

The William P. Didusch Center in Linthicum, Maryland, highlights the history of urology — that is, the science of treating problems with the urinary tract. The museum’s main collection includes hundreds of (often extremely mean-looking) instruments and tools for insertion into holes where you don’t want to insert anything.

At least you’ll have a lot to talk about once you get back in the car. After you’ve sat in horrified silence for several miles, that is.

7. Chicken Farmer Rock

In the 1970s, an unidentified individual painted the words “CHICKEN FARMER I LOVE YOU” on a rock near Newbury, New Hampshire. A rumor says the graffiti artist was a young boy madly in love with a girl from a chicken farm, but no one knows for sure.

As soon as it appeared, the text warmed the local’s hearts and they’ve kept the paint fresh ever since. That is, until someone took offense in 2011 and asked the local DOT to remove the text.

But the power of love overcomes all. The graffiti soon re-appeared on the rock — only, it now reads “CHICKEN FARMER I STILL LOVE YOU.”

8. Lucy the Elephant

New Jersey isn’t exactly known for its elephants. But that just makes Lucy even more special.

Lucy the Elephant is a 65-foot-tall wooden elephant in Atlantic City. It was built in 1881 to, you would never guess, attract land buyers to the area.

We suppose the plan worked because Lucy is still there today. Over the years, she has functioned as a hotel, beach cottage, private home, and bar.

9. The Big Duck

If New Jersey gets a giant animal, New York wants one, too. Theirs is the Big Duck, a giant concrete quacker in the town of Flanders on Long Island.

Local duck rancher Martin Maurer built the Big Duck in 1930. He had seen a coffee shop advertised with a giant pot of coffee, so he figured the marketing plan would work for his ducks as well.

For some reason, however, Maurer decided to use red light from a T-model Ford for the duck’s eyes. Its ominously glowing red eyes give the enormous bird a somewhat demonic appearance.

Know what, I’ll buy a duck or two — anything to keep the big one from cursing my bloodline down to a hundred generations.

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Lifestyletravel

6 Tips for Traveling With Friends or Couples — and Why You Should

Have the tough conversations before you book the trip

Vacations are meant to be an escape from your everyday stressors. Traveling with people outside your family may seem like an easy way to up the fun-factor. Since you get along with your friends when you’re at dinner, you might think they would be fun travel companions. But dinner is only for a few hours, not an entire week. These tips will help ensure that your vacation is an entertaining experience for everyone.

Get on the same vacation page

Everyone’s definition of a vacation may be different, so it’s important to discuss how each person defines a vacation. “What’s the goal of the trip?” asks Avigail Lev, a clinical psychologist in California.

You also can ask your travel buddies other questions, like:

  • Do you want to relax?
  • Do you want to sightsee?
  • Do you want to meet new people?
  • What does a vacation mean to you?

While you are talking about your vacation goals, you should discuss budget and possible destinations along with types of accommodations. “You need to think through the kind of trip you want to take and make sure that everybody’s comfortable with that,” says Irene S. Levine, a travel friendship expert and clinical psychologist in New York.

Figure out your travel personalities

People have different travel personalities that might not mesh well in close quarters. “If you have a person who’s spontaneous with a person who needs to have everything planned out, then that’s very hard to negotiate,” says Lev. If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider traveling together. If you still want to go on vacation together, have a conversation about these differences ahead of time and figure out how you can compromise.

Darley Newman, age 44, the host and executive producer of Travels With Darley, suggests having everyone in the group take a travel quiz before their trip. You can search online for “travel personality quizzes” that can help you figure out what your “travel traits” are and how you tend to interact with other people. After you and your travel companions all take the quiz, share your results. This will help generate discussions about possible issues so you can resolve them before your trip. A quiz can cover areas such as energy level, cultural exploration and structure (planning and organization preferences).

Confer about alcohol and gambling

If your friends normally don’t engage in drinking, drugs or gambling, you might wrongly assume that they won’t on vacation either. Sometimes people view a vacation as a time to let loose, which may involve partaking in heavy drinking, drug use or gambling.

“We’ve been around people where vacations were an excuse to drink,” says Tami Zak, 54, a marriage and family therapist in Tucson, Arizona. They also might expect you to party with them. It’s important to have a conversation about their plans during vacation related to alcohol, drug use and gambling before you travel.

Appoint a group leader

Usually there is someone in the group who considers themselves a planner. It’s helpful to have one person who is the group leader. This go-to person is usually the one who communicates with the travel agent and the group about important issues. For example, Jacquie Whitt, 67, cofounder of Adios Adventure Travel in Virginia Beach, Virginia, says that she tells the group leader to ask every single person in the group to double-check their passport expiration.

Avoid being hangry

When you travel you might forget to eat or be so busy touring you don’t have time to eat, but it’s important to plan meal breaks into your vacation. “It sounds so basic, but it’s a huge thing when people get hangry,” says Newman. “Hangry” is when you become irritable or angry from not eating. “I’ve been on trips when people get hangry and then they get upset and it’s a downward spiral,” says Newman. If you become hangry, you won’t enjoy your vacation and you’ll bring the mood down for the rest of your travel companions. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so bring your water bottle.

Schedule daily check-ins

During your vacation it’s helpful to schedule a daily meeting with the group at breakfast or dinner. “Have a little bit of a moment for a check-in,” says Zak. During this time, you can make sure that everyone is feeling included and participating in the activities they want to do. You also could discuss plans for the following day or any possible changes.

Zak offers an example of how one person might feel tired and not be able to go on a planned tour. “Be open to things changing,” she says. Newman also stresses the importance of being flexible during check-ins and when traveling. “Travel is all about rolling with it and just being ready for situations that come up and things you didn’t expect,” she says.

Benefits to traveling with friends or couples

Besides fun, there are some benefits to traveling with those outside your immediate family.

Sharing the cost

If you are traveling with your family (kids and partner), typically you are paying for everyone in your family, which can be expensive. But if you are traveling with friends, you are paying for yourself and maybe your spouse. Renting a house with your friends might be less expensive than booking a hotel room.

Less responsibility

When you travel with your kids (even if they are grown) or if you travel with your parents, then you are going to feel some sense of responsibility for their safety and well-being. But when you travel with your friends, there isn’t that same caretaking role you have with your children or your parents. “You’re not trying to be an example,” says Zak. “When you’re with your peers, you’re all doing your own thing and can be fairly independent.”

Bonding

When you travel with friends who are around the same age, you all share similar lived experiences. “These are people that you have common interests with,” says Zak. Newman explains that traveling with friends also helps you learn about them in a new way. “You’re going to create awesome memories. And then it’s fun when you’re back at home [because] you can meet up with them and talk about it.”

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