If you are planning a vacation whether it’s it is one of many all inclusive vacations or all inclusive holidays it is important that you know a little bit about hotel safety. Today, hotels diligently work to try and ensure the safety of their visitors. They are always trying to make improvements to their security but there are still things that you need to know about what does make for a safe hotel.First things first, never give up your safety to save a few dollars. It’s true that a really nice hotel room can put a damper on your budget but it will be far more costly if you reserve a place that might be in a bad place or may not be up to code with their security requirements.Once you have found the area in which you would like to stay at, you can start narrowing down your choices by taking into consideration some of the following things with regards to the safety of the hotel.Make that their rooms have dead bolts and of course a peep hole. Ask if the rooms have what is known as electronic guest room locks. These are locks that require a key card instead of an actual key. Also find out if the rooms have phones that have emergency call buttons or that they have the ability to place an emergency call outside of your hotel.Make sure if you look at photos of the hotel online that the hallways look like they have amble lighting as well as the lobbies and garages. A well lit area will always help keep down on crime. Make sure that the hotel has limited entry options which means less traffic especially from those who are not staying at the hotel. Also see if the hotel offers around the clock concierge services or security services. It’s always better to know there is always someone on duty in the hotel.If the hotel you will be staying at is out of the country, it is a very good idea to see if it’s in a safe place by simply contacting the U.S. Embassy that is located in the country you will be traveling to.Once you decide upon a hotel, it is important that once you get there that you keep your suitcases and other luggage with you always. If there is someone there that offers to take your bags up for you make sure to get their name and if you have a computer with you, wallet and other items of worth, don’t let them take those with the other items.. Make sure that after you check in you grab some matchbooks or business cards from the hotel to carry with you at all times, in case you get lost.When choosing your room it is probably a good idea to select a room that is on the 8th floor or below that. Although the higher floors will give you a better view, you need to know that most fire departments anywhere cannot reach any higher than 8 floors. You also should not take a bottom floor room if it has easy access to the outside, if it’s easy for you to access the outside it should be easy for a stranger to access your room.Rooms that are near the elevators are probably the safest rooms. Even though they are probably the rooms that get the most noise they still tend to be the safest because the rooms that are more intimate and are found in any alcoves also open them up for easier access by criminals.Once you are in your room it is important that you check your deadbolt and safety chain to make sure they work. Make sure that the phone actually is able to let you make outside calls. You should also check for the closest fire exits and make sure to count the doors along the hallway so you know how far it is to get to safety.
After living in Bangkok for over a year I have learned many things about the Thai People that I wanted to share with other foreigners living or vacationing here should know. The first thing you have to accept is that eastern culture is different. The people in the east are less emotional and more polite and while they know westerners are different, they often are uncomfortable when we stray from their norms. The things I found to be important are listed below in order of importance:Be Polite – Thai people hold being polite above all else. Their very language has politeness built into it. If you follow what is considered “common courtesy” you will be fine.Thai King – The Thai People Love their King, King Rama IX. Never show any type of disrespect to him or the Royal family. The Thai people have a deep traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and the visitor should also show respect for the King and the Queen, and the Royal Children. When attending a public events where a member of the Royal Family is present, the best guide on how to behave is to watch the crowd and do as it does.Safety – Stealth crimes, such as pick pocketing, are the most common problem so it’s worth keeping a close eye on your belongings at all times and being aware of the people around you. Unprovoked violence against tourists are very rare, but it pays to exercise common sense.National Religion – Buddhism is Thailand’s national Religion with nearly 95% of Thailand’s population being Buddhist. All Buddha images are considered sacred and there are laws against removing these images for anything other that personal worship.Buddhist Monks – Buddhist Monks are recognized quickly by their shaved heads, bear feet and bright orange robes. It is forbidden for women to touch Buddhist Monks, this includes a woman handing something to a Monk, The items should be first given to a man, who hands the item to the monk. Also, western men should never attempt to shake hands with a monk.Buddhist Temple – Wearing shoes around a temple is acceptable but they should be removed when entering their church (the area where the Buddha image is kept).Be Quiet – Loud people are considered impolite. Speak softly and do not laugh loudly. Of course there are the common places such as bars, celebrations and parks that being loud is appropriate and expected.Greetings – Greetings in Thailand can be quite formal in appearance to the western eye. The basic gesture is to put hands together, fingers up, with a slight bow of the head. The words “saw dee (krup)” (or “kaw” for women) are spoken during fm bow. It is more complicated for Thai people, with three levels based on age and position but westerners attempting this greeting are not expected to understand. (levels: 1. Monk, thumbs touching forehead durin bow; 2. Same age or older, thumbs touching lips; and 3. Younger person, thumbs touching chin.)Food – Food in Thailand is customarily HOT, spicy HOT. Most westerners can not handle the amount of chili spice that Thai people enjoy. For the westerner visiting foreigner, the best tip i can give them is how to ask to make the food less spicy. There are two phrases to be used based on you preference: 1) “mai ped” – not spicy and 2) “ped nit noi” – a little bit spicy. The food is awesome in Thailand and this tip should help you enjoy it even more. In the near future I will be publishing a description of my favorite foods. Stay tuned.Street Food – There is an old Thai saying “a little bit of dirt makes the food a little bit more delicious (rough translation). For westerners, buying food on the street can impact your health with the possible contraction of various gastro digestive problems. While most street food vendors are clean, this only by local standards. I live by “rule of thumb” which has served well living in Bangkok. This rule is simple but you need to stick to it. It is “only eat from the street what is cooked in front of you”. This ensures that the food is fully cooked one more time before you eat it. Unfortunately, this eliminates a lot of food served on the street but better safe than sorry for week.Body Odor – Thai people almost never smell badly and they find it offensive if others do.Crowds – if you go to areas in Thailand during Thai holidays and celebrations, be prepared to encounter many people. To Western experience the volume of these areas can be incredible. Be prepared to be pushed and shoved and be aware that they mean no harm. There sence of personal space is quite different than westerners.Watch where you walk – The sidewalks in Bangkok are uneven and full of obstacles, pay attention. Oh, also, the streets have many stray dogs; the dogs are not aggressive but do leave landmines on the sidewalks.Taxi Drivers – Most taxi drivers are fine. Generally, it is always better to use the metered taxis. Tuktuks are always more expensive and with Bangkok traffic you could be breathing in a lot of smog on the way. If you are going a significant distance negotiate… Also, the Taxis marked “We love farang, we speak English”, well most of them do not. They do have a radio that has a person that knows a little English.Movie Theater – After the advertising and right before the movie a tribute to the Thai King Comes on and everyone stands in respect.Driving in Thailand – If you are a brave one and decide that you want drive yourself around Thailand, don’t be too worried, it really isn’t that bad. There are just several things to understand. Drivers use the left side instead of the right, like in the US, and the roads tend to be narrower than in the US. So driving next to a bus or a truck can be a little intimidating.Toilets – Eastern toilets can be quite intimidating to the western traveler as well. Be aware that eastern toilets are little more than holes in the ground surrounded by ceramic and involve water, not paper, for cleaning. To be honest, I still have not gotten used this type of facility to its full extent. Also, there are often women in the men’s room, stationed there for cleaning. It can be quite unnerving when you first experience this but they are not there for any more than cleaning.Following these tips will allow you to have better understanding of the Thai people and more fun in your stay in Bangkok, allowing the locals to be more comfortable with you and give you a better understanding of how things function in Thailand.
It is less than one week now before the holiday season really kicks off with Thanksgiving day. For many people, that means that within the next several days they may be leaving to go visit family or friends for the Thanksgiving break. For thousands of people, their holiday trip will include bringing their dog or dogs with them.I know that things may get crazy as you finalize your travel plans. However, please be sure to take a pause to make sure that you have also thought about what it means to travel with your dogs and to make sure that they are also well prepared for their trip. Here are some things to keep in mind before you head out the door.Make sure that your dogs are up to date on all of their medical information and tags are current. Bring that information with you. It will be very important to have in the event your dog becomes ill on your trip and the tags will help in the event they get lost. But, make sure the tags include a phone number where someone can reach you right away. A home number is not going to help you become reconnected with your pet if you are not at home.
If you plan on flying to your destination then please check with your airline ahead of time. You want to make sure that your dog carrier meets the airline standards before you go.
If your dog is going to be flying, they will have to be in a carrier. Make sure that your dog is familiar with that carrier before the trip so that they do not get anxious the day they have to go inside of it.
If you are going to travel by vehicle with your dog then make sure that you have a proper restraint for them. Dogs should be restrained with a vehicle pet restraint or within a vehicular pet cage or crate. Just make sure that if they are going in a cage or crate that the cage or crate is also properly strapped down. This may seem like a lot but the last thing you want is for your beloved dog to become a projectile if you have to suddenly brake or are involved in an accident.
Bring something that the dog is familiar and comfortable with. This may be a dog blanket or a favorite toy. Again, this will just make the dog feel a little less anxious.
If you are going to be staying in a hotel then make sure that the hotel you have selected is pet friendly. Some hotels may not allow you to leave your dog in the room while you are out so make sure you have also checked into this and made other arrangements ahead of time.
If you are going to stay with family or friends then make sure that they know you are bringing the animal ahead of time to prevent any hard feelings and again to make alternate plans if need be.
When driving, take breaks often to allow your dogs so stretch their legs and use the bathroom.
Finally, you should feed your dog five hours before leaving and hydrate them two hours before leaving. Sometimes traveling on a full stomach can cause nausea. I had a dog who would get car sick anytime I had to travel anywhere that required more than an hour drive. I would even feed her the recommended five hours ahead to make sure she would not get sick and she still did. In her case, I had to make a visit to her vet before traveling for anti-nausea medication. Just something else for you to keep in mind.These simple tips are something to think about before you are ready to actually leave for your Thanksgiving break. I hope that they help to make your final preparations less stressful and to make your journey a stress free and safe one for you and your dogs.
How are you going to stay sane and avoid the usual holiday pitfalls during the travel seasons this year? Well, here are seven tried-and-true tips that will definitely help you avoid the worst and most common problems:1. Get Plenty of SleepThe night before you leave, you’re going to be tempted to stay up late packing and ensuring that everything’s in order. However, think twice before doing this, because if you’re sleep deprived the next day, you’re going to be cranky. And if you’re cranky, you’re going to find everything about traveling even more irritating than usual. All you have to do is get a good night’s sleep before you leave.2. Do Everything You Can NowDo everything possible before you leave. Check one last time on your airline reservations the night before you leave, and then again before you leave for the airport. If possible, print out your boarding pass and a luggage tag for your checked baggage. It’ll save you time and possibly money too.3. Arrive EarlyRegardless of whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or automobile – head out and arrive early. If you’re going by plane, you’ll want to be there two hours early for domestic flights, or three hours early for international4. Keep an Eye on Your WeightNope, not your body weight. Many airlines have recently started introducing fees for standard checked bag. And of course there’s always a hefty fee if they’re overweight or oversized. Read up on your airline’s guidelines before you even start throwing stuff in your suitcase. Leave what you can behind.5. Dress for SpeedAll airport security checkpoints in the USA require you to remove your shoes, coat or jacket, big belt buckles, and pretty much anything else you can easily remove without completely undressing. Your laptop will have to be removed from its case. Want to take any liquids aboard? You’ll definitely want to refresh yourself on TSA’s 3-1 regulations.6. Take Advantage of Special OpportunitiesAs you’re planning your vacation, check into the TSA’s Black Diamond Self-Select program, which is now in place at over 50 airports. This program lets passengers pick a security lane that matches their travel style: expert, casual or family. Each line differs significantly. For example, if you don’t like being rushed, head for the family lanes.7. Know What Is and Isn’t AllowedThe regulations have been in place for years now, but travelers still end up giving up tons and tons (and tons) of items that are prohibited to take past security checkpoints. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or expert flier – take a moment before every flight to review the TSA’s long and detailed list of what’s permitted and what’s prohibited as part of your carry-ons. Taking some knitting needles as a gift for grandma? Go right ahead and take them with you! Also taking a pool cue for your brother? Don’t even try it.