Air travel tips for ailing mom

Q: My mother is 79. She has depression and mild Alzheimer’s dementia. She lives in an in-law apartment attached to my home. We bring her meals and supervise her bills and medications, but otherwise she manages around the home just fine. The problem is that she wants to visit her family in Italy one last time before she isn’t able to do it anymore. My brother and I will take her over on the airplane and, once she gets there, family will keep a close eye on her. My concern is this: Will she get confused with all the changes, and is a long plane flight safe for someone like my mother?


A: Your question is quite timely as many folks are making their summer vacation plans. There are several parts to your questions. Let’s take them one at a time.

The first concern is about your mother’s dementia and the possibility of her getting confused. This depends on the individual. There are a number of signs that may indicate that travel is not a good idea, such as disorientation, confusion or agitation even in familiar settings; asking to go home when away from home on short visits; delusional, paranoid or disinhibited behaviors; anxiety when in crowds; or difficulty managing continence.

It is good that you and your bother will go with her on the flight, and that she has family to help her once she gets to Italy. It is important that the family in Italy is aware of your mother’s memory condition. Make sure you take all her medications and bring enough pills to last for the duration of the trip.

Have a list of all her medical conditions and any other important instructions for your family. It might be helpful for your mother’s doctor to write a letter describing her medical condition. While she is there, have her wear or carry some form of identification in case she wanders away or gets lost. You might want to consider travel health insurance for the time she is away. It can be expensive, but if she gets sick or needs medical attention while overseas, most Medicare insurance won’t cover her.

Try to get a nonstop flight to make the trip easier. If a nonstop flight is not possible, pick connecting flights with plenty of time between them to avoid the stress of rushing at the airport. Make sure to let the security teams and flight crew know in advance that your mother has memory problems so they can accommodate her better. Having a wheelchair, even if your mother can walk just fine, can be helpful in getting through long lines and security.

Your doctor can prescribe some anti-anxiety pills in case the travel makes her agitated, but use them sparingly since they can make your mother sleepy and predispose her to falling down and getting hurt.

The second concern you have is about long plane flights. There is a small risk for developing blood clots during long periods of sitting. That risk can be lessened by wearing elastic support stockings and loose clothing, not smoking, avoiding alcoholic drinks and drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, not crossing your legs when seated, taking strolls up and down the aisles when possible, and doing calf and foot stretches whenever possible. Before leaving, check with your mother’s doctor. If she is particularly susceptible to blood clots, for example if she has any kind of vascular disease or has cancer, your doctor may want to prescribe a blood thinner or aspirin for the trip. Also there are some other heart and lung conditions that require people to travel with oxygen even if you don’t need oxygen at home. The high altitude makes the air thinner and less oxygen is in the air on the airplane. Your mother’s doctor will know if this is needed and help you with letters to the airline to make arrangements.

Once you get to Italy, make sure to give your mother time to recover from the stress of the flight. Give her a few days to adjust before she goes out and starts travelling and seeing family. Schedule time for her to rest or nap in the afternoons and make sure family watches that she doesn’t get overly tired or stressed by the changes to her routine.

To combat jet lag, have your mother take a zinc supplement daily in the weeks leading up to her trip. Try to get her to sleep during the flight. If her doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety pill, once she is safely on the plane and it has taken off, the anti-anxiety pill may help her sleep during the flight. Once arriving at your destination, the best way to minimize jet lag is to go to sleep at the normal bedtime (based on the local time zone). Also avoid alcohol and caffeine for the first few days and drink plenty of water. Dehydration makes jet lag worse.

If you follow these suggestions, your mother should be able to enjoy her trip. Safe travels.

Questions can be mailed to Center for Geriatrics, AskDrViv, at 95 Armory Road, Stratford CT 06614 or emailed to

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‘Chopped’ host Ted Allen talks travel, hotels and food

Ever since he appeared on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” — and continuing on into “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef” and “Chopped” — Ted Allen has been the traveled, sophisticated, bespectacled foodie America has looked to for culinary wisdom.

When he spoke of a great laksa, or the proper elements of a tomato sauce, it sounded like the words of a man who had actually spent time in Asia and the Mediterranean. (Yes, he has been to both.)

The host of the Food Network program “Chopped” hadn’t had a break in a long time when the New York Post spoke to him a little while back; he had been shooting 12-hour days, as well as hosting dinners, like a Pepcid Taste Maker’s dinner at Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok in Columbia Heights, Brooklyn that was co-hosted by Eater.

Allen chats with a contestant in the kitchen on Food Network’s “Chopped.”Photo: Food Network

Still, Allen is not easily dulled by a busy schedule. Even early one Saturday morning from his home in Brooklyn, he was sharp and eager to chat food and travel.

Where did you want to travel when you were a kid?

England — in particular, London. I grew up in central Ohio, which was not particularly full of the old castles I wanted to visit. England and France were definitely at the top of my list, and that later expanded to Italy. My first international trip was when my parents took us to London, York, Liverpool — we did a week in England and a week in Paris. I was 15, my sister was 12; I remember, my sister ordered a seafood platter at a restaurant in Paris, and she was unaccustomed to seeing a langoustine with tentacles intact.

Now, food dictates where I want to travel — it plays a huge role in where we go. If it’s winter in New York and we want to go some place warm, instead of the Caribbean we’d rather go to Mexico, which has astonishing, staggeringly awesome food.

You spent a lot of time in Chicago — where do you eat when you go back?

I’ve been gone so long now that the references I make to Chicago are going to be dated, but I like Rick Bayless’ restaurants; Rick is major force to have educated most of us in the variety of cuisine Mexico has to offer — it’s more than carne asada. We owe him a great debt. But things change so fast in this business. I eat at Spiaggo and Max’s Italian Beef, where I always have my sandwich dunked in the juices. It’s a treat — some of the greatest food is street food.

Whenever Allen ventures to the Windy City on business, he winds down at the Park Hyatt.Photo: Hyatt

Where do you stay?

I usually stay with friends — but I like the James. It’s a great location. Usually if I’m there for business, they put me up pretty well, like the Park Hyatt.

How did you first figure out you wanted to write about food?

I was at Chicago magazine and I had an epiphany. Sarah Stegner was cooking at The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton [in Chicago], and she made this multi-course dinner. At the end she had a chocolate cake which she paired with a white dessert wine, and it was such an epiphany that a white wine could possibly compliment something as rich and dense as chocolate cake — and I remember thinking, “Wow. Now I’m beginning to get the relation between food and wine.”

How do you travel these days?

We take a cooking class everywhere we go — Barry [Rice, Allen’s husband] and I went to Bangkok, where they took you to a market and you get to see all these crazy fruit and fish and then we went back to the home of the cooking school and cooked lunch. It’s a chain called the Blue Elephant; they have a Blue Elephant Cookbook and the classes take place in a beautiful old colonial house. … It really paid off. I think it was $75.

One of the ways I love to travel is I have a group of close friends, this Chicago gang, when a friend got married in Maine we rented a giant old shingle house; 15 stayed there and subsequently we went on to rent houses in Costa Rica, Umbria, the upper coast of Michigan. And it’s affordable. This pallazo in Umbria amounted to $250 per week.

What’s the most underappreciated food city in America?

Allen is a fan of chef Roy Choi’s Korean tacos.Photo: Reuters

There are so many. It’s really such a great time to be an American food lover. I feel we’ve just awoken from a generation that was trying to get away from cooking and produced terrible food. Now there’s been a long renaissance. Particularly with food trucks. What I think is profound is they’re making available for office workers food from scratch, like Korean tacos by Roy Choi.

I love my job for a lot of reasons — and one is exposing me to these kinds of things. Until you go to Portland or Seattle and see parking lots full of food truck, you don’t know. In Portland, that’s a permanent collection of stalls and carts.

I take it you cook — what’s your specialty?

Ironically, considering where I work — where I force people to cook very quickly — I’m a slow food person. I like to cook food that take a long time to develop flavor, low and slow, like barbecue. I like to put a pork shoulder in a smoker, turn it down to 250 and cook it for eight hours. I don’t do a lot of delicate fancy fussy stuff. I do a little bit of Asian, Thai-inflected, for most part.

You own a house in Clinton Hill — why did you want to be there?

Lulu Po’s ranks among Allen’s favorite eateries.Photo: Zandy Mangold

We ended up finding a brownstone we could swing. Previously, we had a condo in Chelsea. It was a nice place. But there was no dirt to stick plants into — I like having outdoor space and Brooklyn makes it slightly easier.

Where do you like to eat in Clinton Hill?

Tonight we’re going to Umi Nom, which is by a guy named King Phojanakong, who was a contestant on “Chopped” who’s also got a place called Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side; that’s sort of the stuff I gravitate towards, a blend of Malaysian and Vietnamese and possibly Thai. It’s BYO, the chicken wings are super hard crispy — I literally burned my lips. There’s Walter’s. There’s Dino, a small, beautiful Italian restaurant on Dekalb. And there’s Lulu Po.

Now that you’re famous, where have you been recognized?

Food Network gets picked up in places that nobody tells me — I might find out that we’re big in Peru or something. It’s funny, when I’m recognized on the street in Rome, it’s usually by tourists.

What’s the one food that you’d risk a bust by customs to bring back to New York?

I would never! But what I love to do is bring home a leg of prosciutto from Italy. I try to go to the market and bring home spices — but I’m a relatively law-abiding guy, not a big smuggler. The things I bring back are probably not illegal, like peppercorns. In Mozambique once I brought back five pounds of raw cashews — that might be frowned upon.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Charleston, South Carolina is on Allen’s travel bucket list.Photo: Courtesy of Corey Seeman/Flickr

I think Charleston is the trip I’m going to be proposing to friends next. We’ve also been kicking around Mexico City, north of Puerto Vallarta. This is not a new discovery, but there’s a boutique hotel [called Casa Kimberley (Calle Zaragoza 445, Puerto Vallarta)] which used to be Richard Burton’s house.

What’s the food you would never eat?

Andrew Zimmern from “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” won’t eat walnuts. I don’t understand it, but he hates walnuts. The show I’m on now I kinda felt my obligation to taste anything, even though I’m not one of the judges. But on one episode of “Iron Chef,” Ken Oringer was on and the ingredient was squab, and he served squab brain. I absolutely did eat the pigeon brain on the half-skull. He somehow sawed a squab head in half, sideways, including the beak.

I’ve always thought that for a competition to be fair, the judges need to thoughtfully taste everything. Although I will admit that organs sometimes give me a little pause … But he celebrated that complicated, tiny bird in a bunch of ways — his dish was amazing, and he won. And now, at Toro, he and Jamie [Bissonnette] are the toast of downtown!

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Retirement Travel: Good And Good For You

The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) recently released a report titled “Journey to Healthy Aging: Planning for Travel in Retirement.” Their research demonstrates the disconnect between the number of Americans dreaming of travel during retirement and the number saving adequately to make their dreams a reality. According to the report, fewer than one in five Americans (18%) have specifically factored travel into their retirement financial strategies, despite the more than two-thirds (69%) who say that travel is an important goal worth saving for. “Retirees were asked how they would have prepared differently for travel during in their retirement,” said Catherine Collinson, TCRS president. “Of those with regrets, more than half wish they would have saved more. People of all ages need to plan and save to make their retirement dreams of traveling a reality.”

Benefits of Travel

Travel during retirement can be much more than just an enjoyable activity. Travel and its associated activities have been linked to healthy aging – boosting physical, cognitive and social benefits. Those who travel tend to be more active, and research shows that older adults who are physically active have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and cancers, and a reduced risk of falling.

Travelers can’t avoid being introduced to different experiences and environments. Meeting new people and learning about their cultures, navigating new places, and trying new things stimulates and challenges the brain, which promotes cognitive function. In fact, research shows that maintaining or starting social participation later in life has positive benefits on the mental health of older adults. “Americans are only just beginning to understand the value of travel for physical and mental well-being and social connections,” said Collinson.

The report found that the strong majorities of those surveyed indicated that travel improves their overall health and well-being, including benefits to:

  • Mood and outlook (86%)
  • Stress level (78%)
  • Physical well-being (77%)
  • Friendships (75%)
  • Mental stimulation (75%)
  • Health (70%)

Travel as an Investment

There is a tendency to view the travel-health connection in one direction: I’ll travel during retirement if I’m healthy enough.  It’s important, however, to acknowledge the role that travel plays in healthy aging. “It is intuitive that if we stay healthy we will be able to travel in old age,” said Michael W. Hodin, Ph.D., executive director of GCOA. “But it is now becoming apparent the reverse might also be true: Travel and the numerous physical and mental benefits associated with it are drivers of health across all stages of life. Investing in travel could also be a worthwhile investment in healthy aging.”

Instead of viewing travel as something that can only be accomplished if health allows it, it is worth looking at travel as an investment that can improve your health and well-being, which can ultimately lead to a more enjoyable and fulfilling retirement.

Budgeting for Retirement Travel

While the majority of Americans dream about traveling during retirement, most are financially unprepared – an unfortunate reality considering the many physical, cognitive and social benefits of travel. When calculating retirement needs, it’s important to factor in saving and budgeting for travel to ensure your dreams become a reality. “We are beginning to see this powerful relationship between travel and healthy aging, which should motivate us all to begin saving for it now,” said Hodin.

It can be helpful to make a list of all the places you’ve wanted to see and create a budget for each trip, including costs for transportation, lodging, food and activities. Of course, it’s difficult to predict the exact cost of future trips, so it’s OK to estimate based on current figures. For a very general budget, add up all the trips and divide by the number of years you expect to be actively traveling, and that’s about how much you’ll need each year. Even if you have no idea where you’d like to travel, you can still budget X amount of dollars per year to cover travel costs, then make sure your plans fit into the budget.

While the media often make it seem like retirement travel is something only the extremely wealthy can enjoy, travel doesn’t have to be a luxury outing. You can realize the benefits of travel whether you are roasting marshmallows at a campsite in Yosemite or sipping tropical drinks at a Tahitian over-water villa. If high-end vacations don’t fit your budget, find trips that do. Some ways to save on travel and vacation costs include:

  • Off-season travel. Many retirees have the flexibility to travel during the off season, which can lead to significant savings on airfare, accommodations and attractions.
  • Group trips. Travel companies buy tickets in bulk and can pass on the savings to you. Other perks of group travel include expert guides (who know the best places to go) and meeting new people.
  • Road Scholar. Road Scholar is a not-for-profit organization that offers 5,500 educational tours in all 50 states and 150 countries, including “Budget-Friendly Programs.” It also awards $250,000 in scholarships towards programs in North America each year for those who do not have the financial means to participate.
  • Senior discounts. Many retailers and organizations offer discounts for older people. AARP, for example, negotiates member discounts with tour providers, hotels and car rental agencies. Also, the National Park Service sells $10 lifetime passes to parks, and certain airlines (including Southwest and United) offer a limited number of senior fares – though these fares may not always represent the best deal, so check around.
  • Volunteer vacations. Several organizations host volunteer vacations in which participants work toward a common goal, such as trail maintenance in the U.S. Virgin Islands or habitat restoration in Chile. Although the trips aren’t free, they can be very rewarding and offer a more affordable way to visit a particular area.

The Bottom Line

Retirement planning involves much more than finances, including decisions about when you’ll retire and what you’ll do (not that these factors aren’t also driven by finances). Travel offers many physical, cognitive and social benefits, which can lead to a better experience during retirement. “Armed with this new knowledge [the value of travel for physical and mental well-being], Americans must now take action and begin saving for travel as a means to live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives,” Collinson said.

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US Warns Against Traveling to Ebola-Hit Countries

Associated Press

U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three West African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.

The travel advisory applies to nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the deadly disease has killed more than 700 people this year.

“The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the travel warning.

He called Ebola “a tragic, dreadful and merciless virus.”

The purpose of the travel warning is to not only protect U.S. travelers, but limit their use of overburdened clinics and hospitals for injuries or other illnesses, he said.

For more than a month, CDC has advised travelers to simply take precautions when in the outbreak region. Thursday’s alert is the highest-level. The World Health Organization, however, has not issued a similar travel warning for the West Africa region. The last time the CDC issued a high-level warning was in 2003 because of a SARS outbreak in Asia.

The current outbreak is the largest since the disease first emerged in Africa nearly 40 years ago. The virus is contagious and is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from a sick person. Ebola can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

Experts estimate that in this outbreak, about 60 percent of the people who have gotten sick with Ebola have died — a frightening fatality rate that is among the highest of any disease. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for it.

Two American aid workers in Liberia have been diagnosed with Ebola, and one of them was getting an experimental treatment.

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. is looking into options to bring them back to the U.S. While the U.S. government would facilitate the trip, private companies would be used to transport them.

Late Thursday afternoon, officials at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital said they expected one of the Americans to be transferred there “within the next several days.” The hospital declined to identify which aid worker, citing privacy laws.

The hospital, which is near the CDC’s main campus, has a special isolation unit built in collaboration with the CDC. It is one of only four facilities of its kind in the United States.

The CDC has about two dozen staffers in West Africa to help try to control the outbreak. Frieden on Thursday said the CDC will send 50 more in the next month. CDC workers in Africa also are helping at airports to help screen passengers, he said.

The CDC has said that the risk of the Ebola virus coming to the United States remains small. On Monday, the agency sent a health alert to U.S. doctors, updating them about the outbreak. The alert stressed they should ask about foreign travel in patients who come down with Ebola-like symptoms, including fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.

Even if someone infected with Ebola came to the U.S., the risk of an outbreak is considered very low, Frieden said. Patients are contagious only when they show symptoms and U.S. hospitals are well equipped to isolate cases and control spread of the virus.

Frieden also noted that relatively few people travel from West Africa to the United States. He said about 10,000 travelers from those countries come to the United States in an average three- or four-month period, and most do not arrive on direct flights.

The CDC has staff at 20 U.S. airports and border crossings. They evaluate any travelers with signs of dangerous infectious diseases, and isolate them when necessary. The agency is prepared to increase that staffing if needed, he said.

Frieden said a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States “is not in the cards.”


White House reporter Josh Lederman contributed from Washington.



CDC notice:

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Hitlist update positions it to challenge heavyweight travel apps like Kayak …

TripCommon, the startup behind traveling app Hitlist, gave its iOS app a slick revamp earlier this week. Now Hitlist looks poised to become an all-in-one social network, discovery tool, and booking service for globe-trotting travelers.

The app has already racked up more than 50,000 users, but TripCommon believed they could make it better.

“We weren’t really seeing the kind of retention we wanted to see in the product,” Gillian Morris, TripCommon’s chief executive and a co-founder, said in an interview with VentureBeat.

“It’s sort of like in the old version-one experience is like playing through a video game. Once you see it once, there wasn’t a reason to come back to it.”

So the team went to work improving the search mechanism and other components in Hitlist. Their efforts could help the app become useful for more people who are looking for places to go — and stand out in the world of travel apps.

And it is a crowded world, with lots of competition.

Kayak and SkyScanner, Morris said, can help if you know where you want to go — but if you don’t, then good luck. Plus, on those apps, it takes time to go through search after search. HotelTonight has a nice way of presenting hotels, but good luck spotting good flights through it. Flying has a notion of a community of travelers hopping aboard flights, but it has admittedly “encountered some brief turbulence.”

So at least for this moment, Morris thinks Hitlist is in a good position to take off in a big way.

The original app came out in November, after developers built it with the PhoneGap mobile development framework. Now they’ve taken development into their own hands and dropped design elements like the Tinder-style swiping through destinations.

“[Y]ou were forced to say whether you were interested in a city before you got a new suggestion,” Morris explained in an email. “This was fun for some people but not as useful as the way we’ve structured things now.” Now cities stack up vertically; you can see a whole bunch at a glance.

When you first sign up for Hitlist and connect it with your Facebook account, the app shows you the top cities where your Facebook friends live. With the push of a button, you can select the cities you want to visit. At that point, Hitlist can start looking out for good-priced flights to those cities.

The user profile page calls out the percentage of the world, the number of countries, and the number of cities you’ve visited.

In the new version of Hitlist, you can check out the places where your friends have been. That might sound like a cute gimmick, but it can actually be helpful.

“Sometimes looking at who’s been to a place gives me a much better sense than any Google search can possibly do of what the place is like and whether I’d like that,” Morris said.

The five-person team based in New York has worked on version two for the past six months. It hit the iTunes Store on Monday. A new version of the Android app should ship next month.

The startup is working with airlines to see about providing discounted fares to Hitlist users.

TripCommon has raised $325,000 to date. Investors include former Orbitz chairman Jeff Clarke and JetBlue co-founder John Owen.

The startup receives a commission every time someone books a flight through Hitlist.

Meanwhile Morris and her colleagues would like to make more of the data the app collects about people and their destination preferences.

“For example, when airlines are evaluating their marketing strategies, it might be useful to know what demographic is interested in what flights,” she said.

“Even potentially having direct lines to these people — you could imagine it would be very simple to do some basic surveys in our app that would be fun for users to do and also improve user insights.”

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No Problem Travel capitalizes on romantic vacations

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Growing up in the Republic of Belarus — a small landlocked country in Eastern Europe — Hanna Belaya would fantasize about traveling to exotic locations across the globe.

After immigrating to the United States in 2005, she put her interest in travel to good use by working for a small travel agency in Brooklyn. There, she enjoyed working with newlyweds and those planning romantic getaways.

After nine years of working for other companies, she started her own travel agency, but with a twist: romantic vacations.

“I believe in the importance of romance in this world. When people travel together it creates a special bond between them and makes them closer,” said Ms. Belaya.

From gondola rides in Venice, Italy to the secluded beaches of the Caribbean Islands, Ms. Balaya specializes in creating romantic vacations for everyone from newlyweds to busy parents seeking a quick getaway.

Home-based in Grant City


Jan. 2014

Contact: 718-676-1318 or

To make sure the vacations she plans provide the perfect opportunity for a romantic getaway, she travels several times per year to search out new destinations.

“I’m really passionate about planning travel for my clients and making sure they have the best time. I like to see the destinations and do site inspections so that I can recommend them,” said Ms. Belaya.

“I also spend hours keeping up with the latest trends and changes in the wedding and travel industry,” she added.

One of her specialties is planning destination weddings.

“When couples decide to get married abroad it’s really romantic, has a ‘vacation’ aspect in it, and is sometimes more affordable than traditional weddings,” she said.

Products and services:

No Problem Travel specializes in a variety of romantic vacations, from destination weddings in Costa Rica and vow renewals in Mexico. 

No Problem Travel specializes in a variety of romantic vacations, from destination weddings in Costa Rica and vow renewals in Mexico, to “baby-moons,” or “family-moons” (When couples take their children with them) and “Say Yes” trips.

“Couples can choose whether they want pre-packaged vacations or custom-made. The latest trend is that brides want their weddings to be customized and not cookie-cutter. They don’t want the same wedding in Cancun or Jamaica that their cousin had. We can do ceremonies off site and in unique locations, ” said Ms. Balaya.

No Problem Travel can also take care of all legal requirements necessary to tie the knot abroad.

Growth strategy:

“My growth strategy is based on word of mouth. I know that if I do a good job I’ll get recommended,” she said.

In addition, Ms. Belaya participates in bridal showcases and is looking to partner with other wedding vendors.

Five-year goals:

Ms. Belaya wants to remain a “boutique” business to provide the most personalized service to her clients.

If you have a new business on Staten Island, contact Tracey Porpora at

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US Lawmaker: Ban Travel to US from Ebola-stricken Countries

A U.S. congressman has asked the Obama administration to impose an immediate travel ban on the citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as on foreigners who have visited those countries, to contain the spread of Ebola to the United States.  

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the restriction should be lifted only when 90 days have passed without a newly reported case.  

He said the ban should be expanded to any other country that reports a case of Ebola.  

Danger to American public

Grayson said the Ebola virus presents an enhanced danger to the American public.

“The countries represent a danger to the rest of the world and because the best way to deal with the situation is to isolate the areas that are affected until hopefully the infection burns itself out, as it has in the past,” Grayson said. “We are talking about this time a fundamentally different circumstance, however.

“This is the largest outbreak in history; it’s the deadliest outbreak in history,” he added.

Grayson said, with Liberia already taking steps to close its borders, his travel ban request will only be assisting in that effort by saying that the Ebola-affected countries remain isolated until the infection disappears.

He said his travel ban, if granted by the Obama administration, would not include Nigeria, at least for now.

“Under the definition set forth in my letter, not yet, because the only case we’ve seen so far in Nigeria is the case that originated in Liberia,” Grayson said. “So, there hasn’t been, as yet, any case that originated in Nigeria or anywhere other than the three countries I named in the letter – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.”

The U.S. Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus.

Returning Americans

Grayson said the travel ban he’s requesting would only apply to foreign visitors to the United States and not Americans returning from abroad.

“If they are Americans, then we’re expecting that, when they return, they’ll take prudent measures,” he said.

“There are ways that can be employed to try to identify people who have been infected, and I would hope that they will voluntarily and enthusiastically submit themselves to those tests so that we can make sure that, if they are returning, they’re not returning with disease,” Grayson said.

The World Health Organization recently said nearly 700 people have died from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the current outbreak of the virus that began in February.

There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which is characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and unstoppable bleeding from areas such as the eyes, ears and nose.

Butty interview with Congressman Grayson


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How to Travel as a Couple

A 1989 visit to create woodblock prints in Hangzhou set American artists Janis Provisor and Brad Davis on a new geographic and creative course. In the following years, they launched their first collection as Fort Street Studio, today one of the world’s leading luxury contemporary carpet-design houses.

The duo recently opened a new office in…

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6 Ways To Travel Around Europe On The Cheap


REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

Baggage handlers unload luggage from EasyJet Airbus aircraft at Ljubljana’s airport Brnik February 16, 2012.

Europe is quite a popular travel destination—more than 11 million Americans visited the continent in 2013 alone, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. With so many countries in close proximity to each other, you can spend one day climbing the Eiffel Tower and the next day posing with Big Ben.

After studying in London for a semester, I know that traveling on a budget in Europe is not always easy.

According to an article in USA Today, one week in Europe costs approximately $2,000 (plus airfare) per couple, and that’s if you stay in just one city for your whole trip. 

It is, however, possible to have the vacation of your dreams without shelling out a ridiculous amount of money.

Here are six cheap ways to travel between countries while you’re staying in Europe. 

 1. Fly budget airlines: Europe has a bunch of budget airline carriers, two of the most popular being easyJet and Ryanair. They aren’t the most luxurious planes by any means, but they get you where you need to go for cheap. For example, Ryanair is currently offering flights from London to Oslo for only $30 per ticket.

Many of these planes also have impressive on-time performances—Easyjet arrived on time 91% of the time in March 2014. I flew on budget airlines six times while in London, and every plane departed and arrived on time. 

2. Book flights in advance: It’s crazy what a difference one or two months can make in terms of flight prices. I tried to book a flight from London to Barcelona one week before my trip, and flights were way out of my price range. When I looked at the prices for flights two months from my intended travel date, the tickets were $30 cheaper.

Google Flights is a great tool for comparing flight prices between airlines so you can get the best deal. If you can’t make your plans in advance, check out for some good prices. 

3. Be sure to pack light: Many of the budget airlines have very strict height and weight restrictions for carry-on bags and checked baggage, so try to pack as few unnecessary items as possible. If you know your checked baggage is over the weight limit, you should pay the baggage fee online instead of at the airport. It will be significantly more expensive if you wait.

4.  If you have the time, travel by bus: If you’re traveling between countries, taking a bus might not seem like the most appealing option since the journey can be long. However, if you’re only traveling to a neighboring country, it might be worth your while. Bus tickets between London and Paris for about five weeks from now are as low as $25 on Eurolines, versus a $55 flight on easyJet the same day. The bus ride is quite long at approximately 9 hours, but you can save a little money if you have the time.

5. Stay in hostels: Hostels have kind of a bad rap (the horror movie Hostel probably didn’t help), but many don’t deserve this reputation. Every hostel I stayed at while traveling in Europe was very clean, and I never felt unsafe. The website Hostelworld is a great resource for finding hostels; you can view available rooms by location and have the search results sorted by “overall rating” to get the best options. The dorm-style rooms are cheapest because you have to share your room with a group of strangers. I’ve had friends book these rooms for as cheap as $15 per night, and they’ve met a bunch of interesting people through the experience.

6. Book trips through tour groups: If you’re planning a trip of one week or more and want to make sure you see everything, it might be worth traveling with a tour group. These trips are often more affordable than traveling alone, and they typically include extra perks like guided tours and a few meals. The tour group Trafalgar has an option called CostSaver where travelers can depart from the U.S. and travel throughout multiple countries. One of their trips is the 11-day Britain Ireland Delight, which costs approximately $1,600 per person. If you’re a student, you can enjoy great rates from the tour group Bus2Alps. I took a one-week trip to Italy with them, and it cost only $784 and included all of my accommodations, multiple meals, tours in every city, and more. 

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Uncommon Tips For Safe Travel Before And After Your Retirement

By Arif Halaby

I love to travel. In fact, since my father worked for the airlines, I was able to travel all over the world. I have been to more than 30 countries on 5 continents and I have a few travel tips you might not find anywhere else that will hopefully make traveling a little easier.

Firstly, always call your debit credit card companies and advise them when, where and for how long you will be traveling. This ensures your credit card will be active when you arrive, especially if you are traveling internationally. Since a large amount of fraud occurs overseas, companies will automatically assume this is the case when they don’t hear from you.

Also, take at least 3 credit cards with you when you travel, because when you check into a hotel or rent a car, a lot of the time a hold is placed on the card, which can take up to 3 days to be released. As for cash and travelers checks, both can be counterfeited easily, which is why many places do not accept them.

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Check-in for your flight as soon as possible. If the possibility of a seat upgrade exists, you may be able to take advantage of it. Recently, I was on a flight to Hawaii and about half of first class was empty. Those seats could have been sold or upgraded on the website, or even at the gate, often for only a small fee.

Take a picture of your luggage with your phone before you give it to the airlines. In the event that it is lost, you will at least have a picture of the bags. Put an address label inside and outside of the bag. I put two on the outside (different ends) and at least one on the inside.

After the security check point, buy a water bottle, maybe two. Just do not board the flight without your own full water bottle. Why you ask? You may get stuck on the runway or have your plane diverted to the south of France, for example. Why do I say the south of France?

On a trip in 2007 from Rome to Geneva, my plane was delayed for 7 hours. By the time we left Rome, the Geneva airport was closed and our plane had to land at Lyon, France. Three hours later, we returned to Rome. All of the drinking water was consumed on the plane in the first hour we were on the ground.

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When you check into the hotel, use the hotel safe for valuables.

Keep your cash and credit cards in at least two different places just in case you lose them or they are stolen, they are not all in one place. This also applies to your medications and clothes.

Put some in your carry-on (possibly a bathing suit if you’re traveling to a tropical location) and some in your checked bag. If your bag is lost, you can at least sit by the pool and wait for it. Hopefully this will begin to make your traveling a little easier. 

Uncommon Tips For Safe Travel Before And After Your RetirementKHTS AM 1220 - Santa Clarita News - Santa Clarita Radio

Article: Uncommon Tips For Safe Travel Before And After Your Retirement
Source: Santa Clarita News
Author: Newsroom

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