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Make Your Flight A Healthy One

For the vast majority of travelers who fly, air travel has no significant impact on their health. It is well known, however, that flying in a pressurized cabin does have some effect on the human body. Here are a few tips to follow.

  • Do stretching exercises in-flight. Immobility poses the greatest risk for blood clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The following exercises can easily be done while seated without disrupting other passengers:
  • Stretch and wiggle your toes
  • While seated, "stand" on your tipp-toes by raising your legs and lifting your heels off the ground.
  • Massage the calves of your legs.
  • Raise one leg by cupping your hands around your knee, relax, and rotate your ankle. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while seated.
  • To avoid dehydration while onboard, drink plenty of water and/or fruit juices. Try to avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, and carbonated beverages. Limit the consumption of alcohol on board. Cabin pressurization can almost double the effect of alcohol in-flight.
  • Avoid wearing tight fitting clothing while flying.
  • If possible, avoid flying with a heavy cold, sinus, or ear problems. Cabin pressures change during flight and may cause discomfort to the passenger. Chewing gum, sucking on a candy, or gently blowing through your nose may lessen the discomfort.
  • If you have illnesses such as a blood clotting disorder, heart problems, etc. should consult their physician before departure.
  • If you will require any medication onboard the aircraft, make sure that you carry it with you in your carry-on luggage.
  • It is recommended that you refrain from scuba diving 24 hours prior to departure, and refrain from blood transfusions 72 hours prior to departure.

Holiday Travel Survival Guide

These tips are ones that we share with our friends who are travelling at Christmas, but many of them are great ideas and are good to keep in mind all year round.

  • Allow yourself lots of extra time. Most airports have a lot to offer passengers these days. Take the time to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee after you've checked your bags and gone through security.
  • Why wait to start your vacation until the minute you get on the plane? Stay in a hotel the night before. That way you can unwind and start your vacation relaxed. You'll enjoy the rest of your trip so much more.
  • Make sure you have all the required ID with you, and that everything is current. Some countries require your passport to be valid for six months after you return home.
  • Don't wrap gifts until you arrive at your destination. Security will have to unwrap it, which isn't much fun for them or you.
  • No matter how much we plan, things happen. Make sure you have adequate travel and medical insurance
  • Because things do happen, make sure your travel agent has a contact number at your destination in case flight times change. You should also make sure you confirm your flight 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Pack essentials in your carry on such as a change of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, and deodorant in case your luggage takes a different route than you. If you want to take (and keep) things nail clippers, tweezers, scissors, or a Swiss Army knife (including small key chain ones), make sure you pack them in your checked luggage, not your carry on.
  • Cross pack - put half your clothes in your suitcase, and half in your spouse's. That way if one of them gets delayed or lost, you at least have some clothing for both of you.
  • Make sure that any medications are in their original packaging and that they are in your carry on (in case of delayed luggage).
  • Keep a spare credit card and copies of all your travel documents and identification separate from the originals in case anything gets lost or stolen. It is also a good idea to leave copies of the information at home with a relative or close friend as well.

How to Keep from Getting Lost

When you are traveling in a country where you are not familiar with the language, take a pack of matches or some letterhead from the hotel you are staying in to show a taxi driver in case you get lost.

When Kids Ask About Turbulence

Most kids are excited by plane trips and rarely think about the fact that they're five miles above safe solid ground. But some children do have a fear of flying, and if there is turbulence the fear will most likely increase. So here's an answer for when they ask.

Question: If the plane is floating in air, why does it bounce up and down when it passes over clouds?

Answer: Airplanes ride a layer of air, like boats ride the surface of a river or ocean. You see them float and bob up and down with the waves. The air is moving all the time too. We move with it. If the air jumps up and down like waves in the ocean, we do too! We call it "turbulence", a bumpy ride.

Suggestions for Jet Lag Survival

We have fabulous holiday choices to Europe, South Pacific, Caribbean, and much more! With these fantastic destinations comes "jet lag". Most travelers try to make the most of their limited time overseas and ignore the leap in time zones they make in a matter of hours. There's no sure-fire way to avoid jet lag, but there are actions that you can take to minimize the effects of air travel and help enjoy your trip.

  • Start well rested. Make sure you get plenty of sleep for several nights before your trip. Our natural inclination is to run ourselves ragged trying to get everything done before takeoff.
  • Adjust to your new schedule ASAP. The minute you get on the plane, set your watch to the local time of your destination.
  • Sleep well on board. It's all well and good to tell yourself that you'll sleep on the plane, but in reality it can be hard so good luck with this one!
  • Drink plenty of water. Increase your water intake a couple of days before your trip. Bring a large bottle of water, and once you are on board, drink 8 to 12 ounces every hour.
  • Skip coffee and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol not only cause dehydration, they also interfere with your body's natural adjustment to the new time zone.
  • Get a little exercise. We're not suggesting that you run laps around the plane, but when you're awake and the fasten-seat-belts sign is off, get up and walk up and down the aisles a couple of times.
  • Don't nap. Once you're at your destination, try not to nap. Remember, your sleep cycle has been severely disturbed. It's generally best to stay awake until the normal bedtime at your destination.
  • Accept jet lag and schedule around it. Even though you've done everything you can to get your body into the right time zone, chances are you may still wake up earlier than normal. Get up early and start to experience your destination!

How Can I Protect My Home While I'm Away?

Planning a holiday is so exciting! Don't forget to make your home safe and secure while you're away. A burglar's three worst enemies are light, time, and noise. Here are some helpful tips to follow when you leave for holidays:

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded, or held by the post office.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they can't be heard outside. Never leave an outgoing message saying you're away.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed or your walk shovelled.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in your living room and bedrooms at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell dependable neighbours when you plan to be away so they can keep a watch on your home.
  • Make sure your heat stays on. Use an electronic thermostat to automatically adjust it during the day. You don't want your pipes to freeze.
  • Always inform your insurance broker if you are going to be away on an extended holiday. Your policy may have a requirement that your insurance company has to be notified on any extended trips.
  • Most cities have professional house sitters (check references and make sure they are bonded) who can provide all types of services while you're away. Check the Yellow Pages under "House Sitters".

Getting Out the Wrinkles

No one wants to worry about ironing while they're on vacation. Here are a few tips taken from Tilley Travel Tips by Alison Tilley.

  • Put rolled socks in the necks of shirts and blouses to help them keep their shape.
  • To avoid sharp creases, layer by putting waistbands of pants at the hinge edge of your suitcase, letting the leg hang over the far edge. Then place soft items such as sweaters on top, and then fold pants over them. Smooth out all wrinkles after each layer
  • Use tissue paper or plastic dry-cleaning bags between layers to prevent creasing. Plastic bags are best because they trap air, which acts as a cushion.
  • Hang clothing in the bathroom while you shower; steam helps remove wrinkles.
  • For backpacks, it's often best to roll clothes to avoid wrinkles. Place pants on a flat surface, lay other lightweight items on top, and roll up as you would a sleeping bag.
  • For any question that you may have that is not answered here, please send it to us at info@vev.ca. We look forward to being of service to you.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get cash while travelling is making a withdrawal from a local ATM

The major advantage of exchanging money with your ATM card is that all cash withdrawals are exchanged based on a wholesale exchange rate, usually reserved for large interbank exchanges. This rate is often 2 - 5% (plus local transaction fees) better than what you can get from exchanging traveler's checks locally.

This does not mean that there aren't any fees associated with your international ATM withdrawal. At the very least you will probably be charged the same transaction fee that your bank presently charges you when using other bank ATM's. But pay attention when making the withdrawal, some banks charge higher fees for international transactions, either a flat rate of typically $1 - $5 and at times, a percentage of your total withdrawal.

Something else to keep in mind is that many ATM's abroad, particularly in Europe, do not accept PIN's longer than four digits. If your PIN is longer, contact your bank to have it changed. Also, if your PIN is based on letters rather than numbers, translate the letters into numbers before leaving the country as many ATM's only have numbers on the keypad.

One more thing, have a chat with your bank before you go. Sudden pattern changes in your account activity will trigger a fraud alert and cause your bank to freeze your account. This will avoid being stranded overseas without a functioning ATM card.

Every little bit helps, the more we save the more we can travel!