Category: Travel

JetBlue Presents Program that Helps Autistic Kids Fly

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 by No Comments

Flying with kids can be a little stressful. Everyone is out of their routine, strange surroundings, and lots of strangers who expect everyone to behave.

When something like a delay adds to the mix and a fussy child starts to make a commotion, stress levels can really skyrocket. Poor parents find themselves caught between the stares of other passengers, and the child they are trying to quiet.

Just writing about it is stressful.

For parents of an autistic child it can be even more of a challenge, but JetBlue Airways is offering help to families of autistic children to help prepare them for the experience of flying.

They have partnered with Blue Horizons For Autism with a program that simulates air travel to help autistic kids experience it in a “realistic, relaxed environment” before they actually fly.

A recent event at John F. Kennedy International Airport drew more than 250 people. Two separate sessions allowed visitors to walk through the entire travel process, including check-in at the airport ticket counter, security screening, waiting at the gate for the plane, boarding, and taxiing on the tarmac.

Once they were on the plane, JetBlue crew members were on hand to guide families through pre-takeoff procedures and flight simulation, along with 15 behavior analysts from Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism who volunteered their time and support for participating families throughout the day.

Both sessions ended with a festive reception marking the accomplishment for participants.

This program actually helps meet needs of the autism community in even more ways, because along with helping autistic children adjust to flying, it also helps educate airline employees about autism and how to meet needs of these special children and their families.

JetBlue and Autism Speaks received such positive feedback that they hope to offer the program to as many cities as possible.

Photo credits: JetBlueCorpComm

Road Trip? Take These Snacks Instead of Your Usual Junk

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

Road trips are lots of fun for a lot of reasons. I don’t care how old you are, there is something about hitting the open road that makes the time feel like an adventure. A gas tank full of gas, a map on the seat next to you, and a road stretching endlessly in front of you creates the right dynamics for all kinds of possibilities.

I find that the greatest possibility is weight gain and water retention from lack of activity (jogging desperately to the restroom doesn’t count) and too much junk food. On the flip side, if I don’t take snacks I risk being “hangry” and no one wants that. You, too?

I thought so.

Healthy snacks just sound boring to me but they don’t have to be. Here are some snack foods to consider.

Local fruit. Here’s the thing. If you are driving along America’s highways and byways you are eventually going to pass a little fruit stand, and when you do you should hit the brakes. There is nothing in the known universe like fresh, tree (vine, plant) ripened fruit that has not ever seen the inside of a refrigerator or truck.

String cheese. It’s fun, it’s protein, and it goes great with that fresh fruit you just bought.

Veggies. Those individual packets of carrots and dip are great because there’s no mess and it’s one snack per container. Just eat it and throw the wrapper away.

Yogurt. It’s got protein and calcium plus it’s almost like eating pudding! You can slip yogurt into a small cooler and have it ready any time. Consider getting Go-Gurt and you won’t even have to worry about a spoon.

Crackers. Whole grain, low salt crackers are perfect when you just have to have crunchy carbs.

What are your road trip must-have snacks?

photo credit: Lars Plougmann via photopin cc

How to Travel Like a Boss with Your Boss

Posted on Aug 4, 2014 by No Comments

You find out on Friday that on Monday, the boss needs you to accompany her on a business trip to Boston. You’ve never been on a business trip with her. You are excited for the responsibility but nervous at the possibility that you could botch the whole thing up.

So, how can you make sure that this business trip goes off without a hitch and you don’t say or do the wrong thing in the process?

Save the drama for your mama

Avoid being a high maintenance traveler. Show up to the airport early and pack appropriately. Too much luggage for a two-day trip sends off warning signs that you might be disorganized and flighty.

Pack light and smart, making sure to remember all travel documents, identification, and work documents you might need. Keep important documents in your carry on.

Don’t do the diva complain serenade about your middle seat on the flight or your view of a brick wall;  it will not impress your boss. It will only help her to make a mental note that you are difficult.

Take cues from your boss

Sure, after flying cross-country you may want to just order up some room service and take a hot shower, but if your boss quietly suggests that you go to dinner with her at the hotel bar, it wasn’t really a suggestion, it was an order swaddled in courtesy.

Declining is like saying no thank you to a working lunch at the office. It might feel like an inconvenience, but use this opportunity for one on one time with your boss as a networking, relationship-building opportunity. This is your time to shine.

Pay attention to what’s going on. If your boss doesn’t order wine, neither should you. If you really need a drink, have a drink when you get back to your hotel room.

Share your ideas

This is your time to bring up some great ideas that you have been mulling around. You have your boss’s ear, take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t just blurt out a monologue, but when the moment is right in the conversation to insert your talking points, do it.

Go for it. You never know. Some of my best networking connections were born of opportunity meeting preparation.

Be pleasant

No one wants to travel with a person with a dry personality, nor do they want to travel with a party animal. Personally, the most enjoyable traveling companions are those who don’t talk too much yet when they do, they have something interesting to contribute to the conversation.

Try to avoid awkward pauses or situations. Your boss should never have to bail you out of jail for a drunk and disorderly citation, no matter how entertaining she or the client may have found your antics at the working dinner on the strip. Chances are, if you do something and you have to question whether or not you should be doing it, you shouldn’t be doing it.

What is your number one rule for successfully traveling with your boss?

photo credit: robkingcameraman via photopin cc

Researchers Have Found a Faster Method to Board Planes

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 by No Comments

How many times have you stood in line to hand your boarding pass to the flight attendant only to find a jam of people blocking the aisle inside the plane as they struggle to fit their carry on into an already full overhead bin?

Some airlines load back to the front, others give priority to window seat passengers, but it can still result in a wait as passengers clog the aisle looking for space in the overhead and causing a bottleneck.

Researchers at Clarkson University have developed a way to alleviate this problem. This faster method to board planes involves a common sense strategy designed by School of Business Professor R. John Milne and undergraduate student Alexander Kelly.

The basic plan resulting from this academic study is to assign airline passengers to a specific seat based on the number of bags they carry. The logic behind this method is that it evenly distributes luggage throughout the plane. Each row would ideally seat a passenger with two bags, another with one bag and a person with no bags.

“The new method would save at least several seconds in boarding time and prevent any one area of the plane from becoming overloaded with bags. Airlines could provide a smoother boarding experience for passengers by utilizing the research.” – Milne, the Neil ’64 and Karen Bonke Assistant Professor in Engineering Management

The method was tested by a computer science and mechanical engineering dual major from East Greenbush, N.Y., by running thousands of simulated airplane boardings.

While this can help ease the problems caused by carry ons on when boarding, some suggest it would be a lot of work for the person trying to figure out seat assignments. Or would the passenger have to decide how many carry on items she would have when booking the flight.

It also leads to questions regarding seat preferences. For instance, if you prefer an aisle seat but have two carry ons and the only aisle seats available already have someone seated in every row with two carry ons, does that make the seat unavailable?

Photo credits: Desiree N. Williams, jetalone

Off Season Vacations Are Budget Friendly and Possible

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by No Comments

Years ago, in my first marriage, we would take our family camping vacations at the end of September or the first part of October. Since we homeschooled, the timing wasn’t an issue and we found that, not only were the campgrounds emptier, it was much less expensive.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were struggling to continue to homeschool and we ended up taking a family cruise in September. Everyone had a blast and it was a great time of totally relaxing after a season of high stress for all of us.

I had hoped to repeat the event last year but two things seemed to stand in the way: money and the fact that we had put the kids in conventional school in January of 2013.

Well, all might not be lost and we might just get that vacation after all.

I found that schools are really rather understanding about taking your kids out for an unprecedented vacation. I had visions of being thrown in jail for contributing to truancy but apparently that is unfounded.

Go to the school and explain that you are taking a vacation and ask for any work that your child will miss. You are sure not going to take it with you but your child can work on it when you get home.

Ask if there is anything that the teacher might like to work in to her classes as an educational tool. While this may be enticing to your child’s teacher if you are going to explore the Mayan ruins it may not be so impressive if you are going to Disneyland.

Of course, the other benefits are the off season prices. I was looking at beach houses on the Texas coast the other night and a few that had gone for over $2,700.oo a week in the summer are hovering under $1,000.00 during off season and the weather is still quite nice.

Family vacations build memories and allow everyone to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Have you taken an off season vacation?

photo credit: felipe_gabaldon via photopin cc

Vacations Are Good for Health and Long Life

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 by 1 Comment

Many of us look forward to vacations, and when the economy is tough we can easily feel like vacation is a luxury we can cut from our budget to make ends meet.

However, a recent poll by the Society for Human Resource management shows strong support from personnel managers who believe those who take a vacation are better workers, especially if the time off is paid.

Just because you get paid time off, though, doesn’t always mean you can afford to go somewhere. It also doesn’t mean you should skip vacation all together.

Staying home for vacation offers opportunities to take day trips you never have time for in the busy day-to-day. In recent years, these stay at home vacations have grown popular enough to get their own tag – staycations – and they still provide benefits like stress relief and improved morale. Plus when you return to work refreshed, you enjoy greater job satisfaction.

But taking vacation does more for our health than reduce stress for a week or two. In one 1992 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers followed a group of 750 middle-age women for 20 years.

At the start of the study none of them had heart disease. Over time, it showed that the women who didn’t take vacation had a higher risk of heart attack and death. Other studies have reached similar conclusions.

I have friends in other countries including England and Australia and the people there are astounded that in the States we only get an average of two weeks. They get six weeks! The problem in the United States is that many of don’t even use the vacation we do get! In fact, almost 50% of people don’t use all their vacation time according to the Families and Work Institute.

To enjoy better health and longer life we should be taking advantage of our vacation time. Even if you can’t go somewhere, use the time to read or do those fun things you never have time to do.

“Fun” is a relative term, of course. It can be a physical, mental, or spiritual vacation. What’s important is that we actually take them!

photo credit: g-useppe via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Pizza, Ombre Fondant, Candy Cane Bath Bombs, and More

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a pizza recipe, tips for ombre fondant, candy cane bath bombs, and more.

The Neighborhood Moms shared a recipe for a Kentucky hot brown pizza.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom shared a great app for traveling.

I’m Topsy Turvy showed us how to create ombre fondant.

Kalyn’s Kitchen shared a recipe for power greens breakfast casserole.


Suzy Sitcom showed us how to make cute (easy!) table settings.

View Along the Way offered some tips for budgeting and answers to money questions.

A Mom’s Take showed us how to make candy cane bath bombs for Christmas in July.

Photo credit: The Neighborhood Moms and Suzy Sitcom

Link Round-up: Frugal Vacations, Wall Art, Popsicles, Ice Cream, and More

Posted on Jun 24, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has homemade ice cream recipes, frozen watermelon pops, ideas for an amazing weekend, and more.

The Thrifty Couple shared a frozen watermelon pop idea that’s simple, natural, and refreshing.

A Virtuous Woman gave us a collection of homemade ice cream recipes.

link ru frugal vacation

Hobbies on a Budget gave us five tips for an amazing weekend.

Another Cent Saved showed us how to create wall art with beans.

Eighteen25 showed us how to make DIY glitter sunnies.

Design Dazzle shared summer bingo printables.

We Know Stuff taught us how to create a lavender sugar scrub.

Photo credit: The Thrifty Couple and Hobbies on a Budget

Ready to Try an Extreme Vacation?

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 by 1 Comment

Extreme vacations are increasingly popular with adults, especially work-a-holic, high achievers who need a challenge and a change of pace.

For example, you can attend a week long SEAL Advanced Training Course in Chesapeake, VA for around $2,000 a week. While I’m guessing that’s a men-only gig, there are plenty of other extreme vacays that women can choose.

What about taking on Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest on a Gorilla Safari that lets you get up close and personal with gorillas in their natural habitat? For eleven days you get to hike in Uganda, through forests and across plains, studying chimps, gorillas, and other African wildlife in their natural environment.

You’ll even track gorillas on foot, hiking to altitudes of 8,500 feet. You’ll stay in camps — this is for real and not a luxury tour where you head back to a five star hotel at night.

Heli-skiing is for the adrenalin addicted ski buff. You’ll be taken by helicopter to a high peak with an altitude of anywhere between 6,500 feet and 10,000 feet. Once at the top you’ll disembark and ski down to the pick up spot.

My personal favorite is a vacation in Antarctica. For some reason, I have always wanted to go there but figured it was only for military experiments and scientific research. Apparently that’s not true and there are several vacation packages that include this destination.

There are hundreds of these types of extreme vacations to fit all interests. I think the popularity comes from the need many people have to push themselves to the limit, to see what they can accomplish, and to experience everything possible. Then there is the whole adrenalin addiction thing.

I think that my dream vacation would include hours of laying on a beach and being served icy beverages by hot cabana boys, but if you are into challenges and adrenalin rushes you might want to look into something more extreme.

photo credit: dirkgroeger via photopin cc