Canadian travel, flights to the U.S. decrease

A decline in travel by Canadians to the U.S. has been
accompanied in recent months by several announcements of cuts in U.S. airline
service to Canadian destinations.

Yet data from flight-tracking website and app
FlightAware suggest that despite appearances, overall flight connectivity
between the U.S. and Canada has declined only slightly in the past two years.

Hampered by the struggling Canadian dollar, just 4.4
million Canadians stayed at least one night in the U.S. during the first three
months of 2016, according to Statistics Canada data cited in numerous Canadian
media outlets, down 13% from the same period in 2015.

Meanwhile, this spring has seen several announced service
drops to Canadian destinations by United and Delta. On May 24, Delta said that
as of July 31 it would end its twice-daily flights from Minneapolis to Regina, Saskatchewan..

That move, coupled with United’s dropping service from
Denver to Regina last year, has left Saskatchewan’s second-largest city without service from a U.S. airline. Similarly, in April United
announced plans to eliminate service between London, Ontario, and Chicago on
July 30, leaving that airport without a U.S. carrier.

United is also ending service on July 1 between Edmonton,
Alberta, and both Chicago and San Francisco. And the carrier ceased service to
St. John’s, Newfoundland, in February. For United, those announcements are part
of a trend. Over the past two years, the carrier has ended or announced the end
of service to eight Canadian destinations, spokesman Jonathan Guerin said.
United still flies into 11 Canadian airports.

“We are always reviewing the supply and the demand of the
market,” Guerin said. “We make adjustments as needed.”

Guerin said that the weak Canadian dollar has played a
role in diminished demand. It dipped from 94 cents to the U.S. dollar in July
2014 to as low as 68 cents this past January. As of last week it was trading at
around 76 cents.

Another factor has been low oil prices. Struggles in the
oil sector played a part in United’s ending service to St. John’s and the
Alberta city of Fort McMurray, Guerin said.

Despite United’s moves, airline traffic between the U.S.
and Canada has held nearly steady over the last two years, according to

As of June 1, airlines, including those from the U.S. and
elsewhere, were servicing 159 U.S.-Canada city pairs. That’s down from a
26-month high of 199 in January 2015. Travel from Canada to the U.S. peaks in
the winter, so seasonal comparisons are more relevant. This June’s count of 159
airport pairs is up from 157 last year and down from 169 in 2014, the
FlightAware data shows.

The number of U.S.-Canada city pairs peaked for this year
at 198. The number of monthly flights between the North American neighbors has
also dipped just slightly in the past two years, from 40,938 in June 2014 to a
scheduled 40,147 this June. 

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said in an email that the
airline has actually increased service to Canada compared with three years ago.
Delta plans to fly 182 peak-day Canada flights in July, compared with 178 in
2013, he said.

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When I travel, is bottled water the best option?

Q. Dear Umbra,

I’m moving abroad for work to a less-developed country where I will have no option but to drink bottled water, and there isn’t a recycling program for the empty bottles. I’ll be there for one year, and my work provides shipping of household effects. How can I minimize the environmental impact of relying on bottled water? Would it be less harmful to save the empty bottles for the year and include them in my shipment of household effects back to the United States, where they can be recycled? Or would adding the extra weight to my shipment offset the benefits?

Washington, D.C.

A. Dearest Ben,

As you haven’t specified your destination or your employment, my mind is awash with exciting guesses: Will you be tracking gorillas in Rwanda? Fighting cyber-crime in Indonesia? Building dollhouses in Uzbekistan? So many possibilities, all tied together by a sense of adventure — and by the fact that wherever you are headed, you apparently can’t drink the water.

It’s wise to be careful about what you imbibe everywhere around the world, whether you’re moving abroad, traveling, or traipsing around the wilderness here at home. Water supplies can be plagued by a host of bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and other parasites, all of which can leave your unsuspecting digestive system roiling — or worse. (Although the U.S. has one of the world’s safest water supplies, lead contamination is a major concern across the country. That’s a topic for another day.)

Bottled water is one option to avoid these risks. But I shudder to think about how many bottles you’ll go through in an entire year at your mystery destination. Without recycling facilities close at hand, most bottles there are surely bound for dumps or landfills if they don’t simply become litter. And even if you crushed each one, shipping them back home for recycling would be a mighty inefficient way to handle disposal. I don’t think your employer expects “household effects” to include 1,000 water bottles (assuming you down three a day), and the very image of that many plastic bottles should give you pause. On top of that, no matter what you did with the bottles after draining the last drop, you’d still be accountable for the sizeable carbon footprint required to manufacture and ship each plastic vessel to your location in the first place. Don’t be that guy, Ben.

But Umbra, I can hear you saying, I’m looking at two not-so-great choices: Waste resources by drinking only bottled water, or spend the year curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. Luckily for you and other traveling types, Ben, there is a third option here: water purification.

From larger home systems to gadgets that treat individual glasses of water, from mechanical to chemical to optical means, there are quite a few easy-to-use methods that will remove or kill germs from your new water supply. They’re effective and affordable, can be used no matter what your living situation will be, and will allow you to bypass the water bottle conundrum. Allow me to elaborate.

I should note that it’s crucial to shop for a water purification system, not just filtration. Purifiers vanquish bacteria, protozoa, and viruses; the same cannot be said for non-purifying filters, which can allow super-small viruses to pass through. Do read the fine print, or live to regret it.

Now. You can certainly find a large purification system to install in your new home, but those tend toward the spendy (think $500 to $1,000-plus), so it might not make sense to invest for your yearlong deployment. A travel-friendly UV light treatment or purifying filter might be just the ticket: Both are reusable, can go wherever you do, and cost much less (from about $100 to $300). How do they work? So glad you asked.

A UV light device zaps all pathogens very quickly and doesn’t add any funky tastes to the water. But the smaller, portable types (like this one) only handle a liter or so at a time, which can get a bit time-consuming if you need larger volumes. Plus, you’ll need to pre-filter water that’s cloudy or silty, as suspended particles reduce the gadget’s effectiveness. Most purifying filters work by forcing water through micropores that snag germs (except viruses, in many cases). Purifying filters go the extra mile to eliminate viruses, too, sometimes by adding a chemical treatment step or by using a specially charged filtering material. They’re also quick and taste-free, but might require periodic declogging. UV purifiers tend to last longer than filter cartridges, so that tips me in their favor — but both will work for you. And finally, there’s always old-fashioned boiling — a disinfection method that’s imperfect, but handy if you’re using the water for cooking or coffee.

A toast — of clear, purified water, of course — to your journey! And be careful out there. I’d hate to have a tap-water ice cube in your margarita fell you after all this vigilance.


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Orioles brace for wild travel week ahead: 3 opponents, 7 games, 1 doubleheader

As Monday night turns to Tuesday morning on the East Coast, Orioles manager Buck Showalter will take his seat on the team plane in Arlington, Texas. He’ll start poring over the scouting report for the next day’s series opener. Advance scouting director Ben Werthan will have stayed home to prepare it.

They’ll do all that on what was supposed to be a precious night off.

The Orioles will make up an April 17 rainout with a single road game against the Texas Rangers on Monday night, losing one of two scheduled days off in a four-day span. After the game, they’ll take a late flight back home to begin a two-game interleague series against the San Diego Padres, whom they haven’t played since August 2013.

It’s a rare occurrence. Monday will be the Orioles’ first single road game between home games since 1967, when they made a much shorter trip: to Washington, to face the Senators.

Orioles minor league report: Mancini, Walker endure a power outage

The brief stop in Texas begins a taxing week: three opponents, seven games and a doubleheader. The Orioles originally had three days off in an 11-day span (June 13-23), but they now face 13 games in 13 days (June 14-26).

“It’s going to be a grind, but the whole season’s a grind,” catcher Matt Wieters said Sunday. “That’s what we pride ourselves on. Complaining and moaning about it, it’s not going to do anybody any good, so we’re just going to enjoy it, and whatever comes, we just run with it.”

Showalter even considered nixing batting practice Tuesday and having players come to the ballpark at 5 p.m. to get extra rest. Because of the odd nature of this week’s schedule, the Orioles will keep 10 usual traveling members home from the Texas trip, including Werthan. Chris Tillman, who started Sunday’s game, will stay home, as will Tyler Wilson and Yovani Gallardo, who started Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Orioles notebook: Yovani Gallardo feeling stronger, leaner after first outing Saturday

Reliever Brad Brach pitched for the second straight day Sunday, this time for two innings, so he also will not make the trip to Texas.

Dylan Bundy has not pitched since Wednesday and could serve as a bridge to the late innings Monday. But if the game requires extra innings, the Orioles will be short-handed without several key pitchers.

The players remaining behind in Baltimore will have workouts Monday, so assistant hitting coach Mark Quinn and special assignment pitching instructor Ramon Martinez will stay back to run them. With one trainer and one strength and conditioning coach also staying home, the team will have a light plane coming back.

“Saved a bunch of money on hotels,” Showalter quipped.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy couldn’t recall having any week like this one, and neither could Showalter. The Orioles’ 2012 postseason posed similar challenges, as they finished the regular season in Tampa Bay on Oct. 3, then flew to Arlington for an American League wild-card game Oct. 5, then started the AL Division Series at home Oct. 7. Even that week, though, they had days off in between games.

They also didn’t have three-plus months of the season left, as they do now, putting Showalter in a tricky spot this week. Third baseman Manny Machado is suspended until Friday for charging the mound and punching Kansas City Royals starter Yordano Ventura on June 7, and the Orioles must play a man short because they can’t replace him on the 25-man roster.

That has forced them to keep infielders Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish and stick to an 11-man pitching staff, which will be difficult. They still need a starter for Wednesday’s game after optioning Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk following his start Friday.

As for Monday’s game, the Orioles will send right-hander Kevin Gausman to the mound and hope he can pitch deep into the game. Gausman, who lasted just three innings Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox, traveled with the team after Sunday’s game instead of leaving earlier by himself. He can’t recall pitching on such a short trip, either.

“It’s going to be a little weird,” Gausman said. “It’s going to be just like any other last game of a series — you pitch, and then you get on a bus and get on a plane and come back here.”

Once they return, the unfamiliar Padres await. None of the Orioles’ current batters has faced either of San Diego’s projected starters, Luis Perdomo or Erik Johnson, within the past five years.

Tyler Wilson will pitch Tuesday against the Padres, and after the Orioles figure out a starter for Wednesday — perhaps Ubaldo Jimenez — they will have a much-needed day off Thursday to regroup.

“For us, off-days are a rare commodity,” Gausman said. “Anytime we can get an off-day, we love it.”

But then comes a four-game, three-day home series against the Tampa Bay Rays, with a split doubleheader Saturday. That could require bringing up yet another arm.

“We’re just trying to get to that off-day [Thursday], let the smoke clear and see what happens,” Showalter said. “Seems like a long way away right now.”

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Anthony Bourdain Dishes On His Favorite Travel Destination

Anthony Bourdain has a favorite solo travel destination that he calls both thrilling and challenging, and not only is it his favorite place to travel alone, but it also inspired his latest graphic novel, according to Travel + Leisure. The celebrated chef, author, and unconventional host of travel TV has a serious love relationship with the city of Tokyo, and it shows how much he loves a challenge.

“Tokyo is very exciting alone. It’s intimidating, but thrilling. Every time you need to feed yourself at a restaurant you’re taking the plunge, stepping through the curtains into a room filled with locals, menus in Japanese, feeling awkward and freakish—the tallest guy in the room—having no clue what it is that they’re serving. That’s thrilling to me, absolutely. When you finally get to the point when you can order breakfast at a restaurant? That’s a great feeling of accomplishment. That’s what I love about Tokyo. You’re forced to learn stuff every inch of the way.”

Dancers dressed as futuristic characters perform during a show at The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. [Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

While Bourdain may not have set foot in Japan until he was an adult, his obsession with Japanese food and culture was driven by childhood memories of watching classic Japanese films with his father, such as Seven Samurai and Sanjuro. While movies are notorious for making locations seem larger than life, Tokyo seems to go beyond its portrayal on TV and film, with its over-the-top nightlife. And, according to Bourdain, the food is to die for.

“Ask just about any chef — if you had to be trapped in one country to eat for the rest of your life — they’d all pick Japan.”

Bourdain says his first trip to Japan taught him the difference between good sushi and great sushi, and the latter was well worth traveling great distances to find the best.

Even being primed at a young age to embrace Japanese food and culture, Bourdain’s selection of Tokyo as his favorite travel destination speaks volumes from a guy who has been to 75 countries. The Japanese culture and Bourdain’s travel there has not only inspired him on a culinary level and for an episode of his TV series Parts Unknown, but he has a Japanese graphic novel series, and just released “Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi,” the latest installment.

Anthony Bourdain attends the “Get Jiro!” Book Launch Party. [Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]

While most think of Bourdain as a chef and TV host, many do not realize he’s written 10 books. It seems the best part about writing his latest book was it justified extensive travel throughout Japan, and most recently to Okinawa Island. Other locations he “researched” include the Tsukiji Fish Market, and the “honky-tonk” neighborhood of Kabukichō, with its microbars and izakayas. All contributed to his story of a master sushi chef who engages in culinary battles in a bizarre, dystopian future.

“It was an eye-opening, traumatizing, life-changing experience. Let’s put it this way — every opportunity given, even the most ludicrous excuse to go, I will go. I just love it there.”

While the chef naturally writes cookbooks as well as crazy Japanese fiction, he does admit his culinary sensibilities and background as a chef influence the writing of fiction. It seems there is one trait that will get his characters into serious trouble whenever he’s writing a story.

“The bad guys in my books don’t respect quality food and they tend to get killed. I respond to, and sympathize with, people who are passionate about food. And I’m deeply suspicious of people who are indifferent.”

While Bourdain previously profiled Tokyo in Parts Unknown, for the upcoming season, he’ll visit Okinawa Island and reveal some of the hidden treasures in that part of Japan. He says Okinawa is much different from the rest of the country, to the point it’s almost like an entirely different country in itself. Other locations for the upcoming season of Parts Unknown include Cuba, Ethiopia, and Istanbul.

[Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images]

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Electric planes could provide a quieter, greener way to travel – WGN

An artist’s concept image of the “Maxwell” plane (NASA Langley/Advanced Concepts Lab, AMA, Inc.)

An artist’s concept image of the “Maxwell” plane (NASA Langley/Advanced Concepts Lab, AMA, Inc.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — At NASA, an experiment is underway that could upend the aviation industry: A fully electric plane.

As electric cars roll out across the world — nixing the need to pay soaring fuel prices – NASA is looking to the skies, unveiling the X-57, or “Maxwell”.

Maxwell, a single-seater plane that bears a striking resemblance to a Cessna, uses electric propulsion rather than burning fuel. The craft would have 14 electric motors in total, dotted on the wings.

The project is part of NASA’s $790 million “New Aviation Horizons” initiative: an ambitious 10-year program to see the replacement of the roaring, gas-guzzling commercial jetliners we use today, with a quieter, greener alternative.

At a conference in Washington on Friday, Charles F. Bolden Jr, the NASA administrator, said, “the X-57 will take the first giant step in opening a new era of aviation.”

NASA says Maxwell could be on the runway within four years, quickly followed by a series of five larger electric planes, capable of holding more passengers and cargo.

While Maxwell is still a prototype, earlier this year, NASA researchers achieved success on a much smaller scale, successfully testing a small electric-powered plane called the Greased Lightning GL-10.

A YouTube video of Greased Lightning’s remotely-controlled inaugural flight has been viewed more than a million times.

Of course, Maxwell wouldn’t be the first plane to operate without a drop of fuel.

In April, the Solar Impulse touched down in California after a two-and-a-half day flight across the Pacific. That plane was operated by solar power.

But speed was not its strong suit, reaching just 30 to 40 mph.

Maxwell, on the other hand, is predicted to reach speeds of 175 mph.

If successful, NASA says the technologies applied to get Maxwell in the skies, could be translated to the private sector – something that could transform travel as we know it.

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15 International Travel Safety Tips for Roaming Wisely

When traveling to other countries, it’s important to always keep international travel safety in mind. There are many things you can do when traveling to various international destinations to keep you and your companions safe and secure. Here are some international travel safety tips to keep in mind for your next trip.

15 International Travel Safety Tips

Carry Contact Details for the Host Embassy or Consulate

When traveling around other countries, the local embassy or consulate can serve as your most important point of contact in the event of an emergency, whether it’s an attack, natural disaster or just a personal emergency. So make sure that you have a copy of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with you at all times, both in English and the language of the country you’re visiting.

Leave an Itinerary with Someone at Home

It’s a good idea when traveling overseas to let someone back home know where you’re going to be at all times. Even if you don’t have an exact itinerary, at least leave the contact deals of where you plan on staying. And schedule times to check in with them throughout the trip as well.

Sign Up for Travel Alerts

Before you depart, you can sign up for travel alerts from the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). These alerts can call your attention to any issues that might impact your travel destination so that you can plan accordingly. For example, if there’s an emergency situation in the country you’re visiting, you can get an alert with information and instructions from the U.S. government.

See a Travel Doctor

Depending on your destination, you may need to get additional vaccinations to ensure that you don’t get any contagious diseases while traveling. A travel doctor can help you get any required vaccinations or tests and even advise you on any additional precautions that may not be officially required but still beneficial.

Research Local Emergency Centers

While traveling, it’s unlikely that you’ll know just off the top of your head where to go in the event of an emergency. So look up that information before you even leave so that you can be prepared just in case you need to get to a hospital or evacuation center.

Get Traveler’s Insurance

If you’re traveling and you get sick or injured, your regular insurance policy may not cover any expenses that you incur. But you can purchase a special policy just to cover any emergency expenses that you rack up while traveling internationally.

Check Your Taxis

Taxis can be a great way to get around in many parts of the world. But depending on your destination, riding in taxis isn’t always as reliable as it is in the U.S. So make sure that any taxis you ride in are licensed and that the photo on the license actually looks like the driver.

Carry Emergency Numbers with You

In addition to having the embassy’s information with you at all times, it’s also a good idea to carry an emergency contact number or two. If you know anyone who lives near your destination, include them. And then also have the number for someone back home.

Have a Phone that Can Make International Calls

Before you leave, even if you don’t plan on making tons of phone calls, make sure that you either get an international calling plan for your phone or buy a temporary phone that will work in your destination. You’ll be glad you have the ability to make calls in the event of an emergency or if you get separated from your group.

Research Cultural Norms

Every country has a different set of customs and acceptable behavior. Some can seem pretty similar to the U.S., while others are much different. So before you leave, do some research online or by talking to others who have visited your destination to make sure that you can avoid any behavior or appearance issues that might offend or anger the residents of your destination.

Track and Secure Your Valuables

Theft of valuables can be a major issue for travelers. To combat that, it’s a good idea to have a plan to track and safely carry your valuables. That means you should always be aware of the amount of money and other valuables that you brought with you. You might even consider keeping a running list of what you’ve spent or obtained so that you know what you have at all times. Then when you go out and explore, don’t take all of your money and valuables with you just in case there’s a theft or accident. But make sure you know exactly what you have on you and what you left with the rest of your belongings.

Make Copies of Your Passport

Your passport is your major source of identification when traveling to other countries. So in the event that you lose it, your travel plans can really go awry. That’s why you should have a backup copy with you in another bag just in case. And consider leaving another copy or scan of your passport with someone you know back home as well.

Only Bring What You Absolutely Need

Before you leave home and before you go out on any excursions, evaluate whether you actually need everything that you’ve decided to take. If you’re bringing a bunch of cash, expensive tech devices and other valuables that you might not even use, you’re risking those items getting lost or stolen. Instead, bring only what you absolutely need and leave the rest at home or in your secure room.

Clear Any Sensitive Data

If you are bringing a laptop or similar device that contains sensitive personal data, you could risk getting hacked or exposing your data in the case of a theft. If you do absolutely need to bring those devices, clear all of your personal data before leaving on your trip. Then even if your device is hacked or stolen, you can keep the damage to a minimum.

Change Your Passwords When You Return

Then when you get back, change all of the passwords to your devices and major accounts just in case hackers were able to access your devices.

International Travel Photo via Shutterstock

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Travel, trade embargo on Cuba hurts Alabama businesses

Clockwise from top left: Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, State Senator Jabo Waggoner, and State Senator Vivian Davis Figures.

By Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Alabama Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Alabama Senator Jabo Waggoner and state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan.

Despite the fact that the Port of Mobile is located just across the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama businesses will continue to lose out on Cuba’s growing markets to foreign competitors until Congress ends the U.S. travel and trade embargo on Cuba.

This 50-year-old isolationist policy is not only infringing on Alabamians’ right to choose with whom they can and can’t do business; it has also negatively impacted the Cuban people. The time has come for Congress to lift the travel and trade embargo with Cuba. 

Given Alabama’s world-class ports, opening up our geographic and commercial borders to our island neighbor would provide tremendous opportunities for Alabama businesses and enable economic mobility for Cubans. 

Recognizing this potential and the jobs it will create, the Alabama State Legislature recently unanimously passed a bi-partisan resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 43) calling on Congress to end the trade and travel embargo. 

Cuba is the only country in the world to which the U.S. government prohibits tourist travel. Alabama citizens are legally allowed to travel as tourists to North Korea and Iran, but not Cuba. Until Congress lifts the travel ban, we will continue to be prohibited from enjoying what is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Congress should not be in the business of telling Americans where they can or cannot go for vacation.  

As Cuba’s tourism industry continues to grow, we aren’t only missing out on travel. Alabama’s largest port, the Port of Mobile, would benefit significantly from increased cruise travel between the U.S. and Cuba. 

Cuba depends heavily on agricultural imports, which average $2 billion annually. That number is expected to grow given the rise in tourism and increasing purchasing power of 11 million Cubans. 

Alabama’s top exports would thrive in Cuba’s growing markets, and this is especially true for Alabama’s top agriculture export, poultry. Agriculture is a major economic driver for the state, and poultry is a leading revenue source of this industry. In 2014, Alabama broiler meat exports reached $478 million.

Cuba’s growing poultry market would provide tremendous opportunities for Alabama poultry farmers to increase exports, while providing Cubans with access to high-quality poultry. Additional top exports such as soybeans, wheat, feed and feed grains will be increasingly important for Cuba’s agricultural imports as its livestock sector develops. 

Not only will increasing agriculture exports strengthen Alabama’s agriculture sector, but it will also create more jobs at Alabama’s ports, which have a total state economic impact of $18.7 billion. 

While Cuba is famous for its cars from the 1950s, the country has lifted restrictions on automotive imports, creating an emerging market for automotive imports. Alabama’s number one export, automotive, could see a major boon from increased trade as Cuba looks to update automotive transportation on the island. 

In prolonging the embargo, the U.S. Congress prevents Alabama’s tourism, agriculture and automotive industries from growing, and allows foreign competitors to capitalize on these emerging opportunities which leaves Alabama businesses stuck on the sidelines. Expanding trade with Cuba would increase the volume of farm and automotive exports through Alabama ports, which would directly impact Alabama workers and our state’s economy.

It is clear that the embargo continues to suppress economic growth in Cuba and infringe on the freedom of Alabamians to travel wherever they choose, and conduct business in a promising new market 90 miles off our shores. For this reason, we’re urging Congress to pass the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act and the Agricultural Export Expansion Act. It would, indeed, be a win-win-win for Alabama, the United States and Cuba.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile is serving his first term, having been elected in November 2013. His email address is State Senator Vivian Figures of Mobile represents Alabama’s 33rd Senate District. Her email address is State Senator J.B. “Jabo” Waggoner of Vestavia Hills represents Alabama’s 16th Senate District. His email address is Commissioner John McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture Industries during the past year has worked with Cuban officials to assure continuity of Alabama’s poultry exports. His email address is

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Follow those travel tips, especially leaving time for a connecting flight

Regarding “8 Basic Trips for Travelers” by Catharine Hamm in the June 12 Travel section: As a longtime international and domestic traveler who has been inconvenienced by nearly all of the incidents described in the article, I can attest to these tips and recommend following them.

Dallas, in particular, has caused me many an issue, so I always build in extra time if I’m going there or catching a connecting flight.

Paul Eggleton, Simi Valley


Remembering the Black Hills flood of 1972

Regarding the article on the Black Hills of South Dakota [“You’ll Never Forget This Face by Deb Hopewell, June 5]. I have not returned to that area since being there on June 8, 1972. My family and I — I was 12 at the time — spent the night at Grizzly Bear Campground.

13 Travel Essentials That Could Save Your Vacation

Getting ready for a big vacation this summer? Before you go, read through this cheat sheet to create a list of travel essentials you absolutely don’t want to leave home without.

1. A Travel Credit Card

Even if you’re not habitually a credit card spender, it can be a good idea to take one with you on your travels. They’re a great backup in an emergency situation — although it’s probably more ideal to have an emergency fund to tap into instead so that you avoid going into debt. As long as you have some form of money with you, you don’t have to worry about losing everything else in your bags. Plus, using a travel rewards card to book your flight can net you better rewards for next year’s vacation and often some form of travel insurance or protection. (You can check out a roundup of the best credit cards for travel here.)

2. Essential Personal Documents ( Copies!)

Before you leave, be sure you have your passport (if you’re traveling internationally), driver’s license, itinerary, printed hotel reservations, airline reservations, contact numbers, and copies of any prescriptions for medications you might need. It’s best to carry original documents on your person. (If you’re worried about someone getting ahold of those papers, you can read these tips for preventing identity theft here.)

3. A Small Outlet Strip

Trying to charge your cell phone or iPad at an airport can be a challenge, especially if you need to charge more than one. Pack a small travel power strip, and you’ll be able to use a single airport outlet to charge multiple devices.

4. Basic Toiletries

Travel “essentials” in this area vary from person to person. But try to pack a travel-sized version of everything you use on a regular basis, from shampoo to lotion to makeup, in a well-organized bag in your checked baggage. It’s also a good idea to pack tiny versions of absolute essentials like contact solution, toothpaste and deodorant in your carry-on, just in case your checked bag is delayed for any reason.

5. Medications

If you’re on any medications daily or intermittently, be sure to take them with you. Just be sure they’re packed in their original prescription bottles in your carry-on. And be sure you’ve got more than you’ll need, especially for medications you absolutely need on a daily basis. If you’ll be within a day or two of running out of your supply by the end of your trip, contact your doctor or pharmacist to see if you can obtain an early or partial refill so that you have more than you need in case of delays.

6. Entertainment for the Flight

Don’t bust your budget by spending $25 on a paperback novel at the airport’s news stand. Instead, pack your own in-flight entertainment. Flights are a great time to catch up on books and magazines you’ve been meaning to read. Or you can pre-download your favorite movie onto your tablet.

7. Headphones

Even if you don’t think you’ll watch a movie on your flight, pack a pair of headphones anyway. They come in handy if you have a snoring seatmate, or if you just need some white noise to take a nap yourself on an international flight.

8. Extra Glasses or Contact Lenses

If you must have glasses or contacts to see properly, don’t just bring a single pair. That’s a recipe for disaster.! You risk missing the sights on vacation if your glasses break or you lose a contact.

9. Batteries Chargers

These days, you’ll mostly travel with chargers for your electronics. But don’t forget extra batteries if you have a camera that takes regular AA or AAA batteries. If you’re traveling internationally, invest in a charger that will work in your destination country, or purchase one when you get to that country.

10. A First-Aid Kit

Hotels are great for providing a lot of things, but they don’t always offer bandages and other first-aid items. Pack a small first-aid kit in your bag, and you’ll be prepared for the occasional bump or bruise. In your checked bag, you can even carry some non-prescription medications like painkillers or Benadryl. It’s cheaper to bring your own than to buy them in a tiny two-pack from the hotel gift shop.

11. An Address Book

You should either bring a physical address book or set one up on your phone’s cloud storage before you leave. Sending old-fashioned postcards home is fun while you’re on vacation. But you won’t be able to do it if you don’t have your friends’ and family members’ addresses.

12. An Old-Fashioned Map

At home, you likely rely on your phone’s GPS to get you around to new areas of town. But you never know what reception will be like in an unfamiliar area. Play it safe, and pick up a local map of the area where you’re traveling. If you’re planning to use public transportation, be sure those options are covered, too.

13. Carry-On Clothes

Finally, even if you’re leaving on a multi-week European vacation with two huge checked bags, always pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on. You just never know when you’ll be delayed at the airport, or if your luggage won’t arrive until the day after you get to your destination. It’s much better to be safe than sorry by having an extra set of clean clothes with you all the time.

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