Taking My Own Advice

We all have thought “Gee I just can’t take any time off now because_________”. You fill in the blank.

However, Dr. Bruce Weinstein, The Ethics Guy would disagree and say you have a moral obligation to take a vacation. In an article he wrote for the Dow Jones Market Watch, this is what he says: Taking a vacation regularly is not only acceptable; it is our ethical obligation.

Consider how you feel after working for a long time without a break, and how you feel during and after some restorative time at the beach. Can you really be at your best when you're running on empty? Aren't you more likely to do a good job when your batteries are recharged?

Leaving work behind from time to time to relax enables you to be of service to others to the best of your ability, and this is one reason why we ought to take vacations. Another reason is because we simply owe it to ourselves to rest. The ethical obligation to be compassionate applies not just to how we treat others, but how we treat ourselves, too. Going on vacation is a great way to meet this obligation.

Some of the most common reasons for not taking time off, and how to respond effectively to these challenges:

1. "I work for myself. My employer doesn't provide paid vacations. I've been laid off, and I need to work."

The reluctance to give up some future revenue is understandable, particularly in our current economy. But how often is an excuse, rather than an accurate reflection of one's financial situation? A vacation need not break the bank. We budget for meals, clothing, and transportation. Shouldn't we also budget for a vacation? Yes, there ought to be a law mandating paid vacations, as is the case in many countries, but until that comes to pass; we'll have to find creative ways on our own to take time off.

2. "I love my work, and I'm miserable when I'm away from it."

Maybe it's time to get a hobby. It's wonderful to be jazzed about one's job, but a rich, meaningful life involves things beyond work.

3. "Most of the people I work with aren't taking vacations, so I don't want to burden them with the extra work they'd have if I left for a while."

It's praiseworthy to want to avoiding causing undue stress on your colleagues, but you and they are entitled (ethically, if not legally) to some time off. Ultimately, the fair distribution of labor is a management issue, and employees shouldn't have to worry that a justifiable absence will result in an undue burden on the team.

4. "I'm the only one at work who can do my job. The company, and my clients, can't afford for me to be away."

It's nice to feel wanted or needed, but few of us are truly indispensable, as much as we may hate to admit it. The idea that you, and only you, can do your job is a delusion of grandeur rather than a reflection of reality.

5. "I feel guilty when I take vacations."

If you're not yet convinced that it's ethical to take time off, perhaps it's time to talk with a trusted adviser about why you feel you aren't worthy of a trip to the mountains or the shore, or even just some time to yourself. You have every reason to feel good about treating yourself right, and vacations, however you choose to spend them, are self-indulgent in the best possible way.

Checking e-mail, taking work-related phone calls, and reading material related to one's job are not the elements of a true vacation. A working vacation makes about as much sense as showing up for a corporate job in shorts and a tank top with a margarita in your hand.

Take a break, a real one.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

What Is Your Passport IQ?

September is Passport Awareness Month

You can't leave the country without it. How up to date are you on the rules and regulations?

1. When do you need to renew your passport?

2. What is the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?

3. What is the difference between a passport book and a passport card?

4. What is the Real ID Act? How does it affect your travel?

5. What is the difference between a Regular Book and a Large Book?

6. What is STEP?

For the answers email info@WemakeTravelEasy.com and then let me know how well you did.

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Did you forget something?

In 2017, 52% of Americans did not take all their vacation days. 25% took no vacation days at all, according to State of American Vacation 2018, a study, by Project Time Off and the US Travel Association.

As a travel professional, I find these statistics troubling. More so from the terrible loss to an individual’s well-being. Let’s look at the benefits, to one’s personal and business lives, that get sacrificed, by not taking the allotted time off.

Many people believe, they will do better and advance at work if they don’t take time off. WRONG!!

According to these results, employees, who didn’t take their vacation time, were less likely to be promoted in the last year and over the last 3 years, were less likely to get a raise or a bonus. That doesn’t even take into account, the $6.2 billion in paid time off they forfeited. With vacation pay, it’s use it or lose it. Even more importantly, employers want employees to be productive, not just look productive. Less time at work can be more. See what “The Economist” has to say about this.

Lin Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, claims that it was “no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life—perhaps the best one I’ll ever have in my life—came to me on vacation.” Starbuck’s, Howard Schultz, came up with his concept on vacation in Italy in 1983. What mega ideas have you come up with at your desk at work? Not much according to Innovation expert Mitch Ditkoff, after interviewing over 10,000 workers over 30 years. Only 2% reported having a great idea come to them at work and here are all the reasons why it won’t happen at work.

Health and Happiness Benefits:

Studies show vacations are linked to prevention of coronary heart disease, reduced depression and reduced stress, in both your personal and business life.

This study also found a significant benefit to one’s happiness factor. Those who take all or most of their time off are 20% happier in their personal relationships, 56% happier with their health and well-being, than those that travel little or not at all. Those that take their vacation time are 28% happier with their companies and 28% happier with their jobs. And to top that off, are 18% more likely to get a promotion.

If these aren’t enough motivations for you to reconsider using all your vacation time, then what could more important than creating strong bonds with your family and friends? Please take a moment to watch this video before you answer the question: Who’s going to create those memories, if not you?

There is still time to take a vacation in 2018. I have some wonderful opportunities. You’ll be happier, healthier and more successful.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

Are You Or Someone You Love, Special?

Special is defined as better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. We are all special in some way. However, some of us may have special needs. Sometimes that can be temporary, due to an accident or illness and for some of us, or our loved ones, it is a part of everyday life.

Having a special need is not a roadblock to travel.

The world is now more accessible than ever before. Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number is increasing daily. If you’re part of that twenty percent, a world of travel awaits you.

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I just became an accessible travel advocate certified by Special Needs Group, the leading global provider of special needs equipment for the travel industry. I now have unique, specialized knowledge of how to help individuals with disabilities enjoy a wonderful, hassle-free and memorable trip.

Here are a few tips from Special Needs Group to ensure that when your next travel opportunity arises, you are ready to go. I’m here to facilitate.

Outline your travel needs

Evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will you be using? Airplane, motor coach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers? Make a list, to make sure we don’t miss anything.

Now, make a list of your specific requirements. Be honest: what types of special needs equipment do you depend on at home? What do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing locally, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home?

Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides? How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance?

Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make your trip easier, place that item on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for tour and excursions. In fact, most of Special Needs Group’s wheelchair and scooter rentals are to individuals who only use such aides when traveling.

Plan Ahead

If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment onboard all the transport vehicles in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Is there a way to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements and be prepared to fill out forms.


Cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary, so check your cruise line for proper instructions. Again, documentation and paperwork are required.

Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip. We need to confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier we book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations and increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these are important.

Check on the access to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of your needs gives us time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental.

Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. Check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of your special needs.

When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised.

Ask the Right Questions

Be sure you ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.” For example, are doorways wide enough for the largest wheelchairs? Do the doors open outwards or into the room?

Are all the public areas of the hotel, resort or ship accessible? Do you need to make special arrangements in the dining room to accommodate the wheelchair or scooter? Will the bathroom facilities truly fit your needs? Is the bathroom large enough for the wheelchair or scooter? Is there a roll-in shower? Grab-bars?

Are there facilities for companion/assistance animals?

Are there shopping and entertainment facilities close by if you are staying at a hotel or resort? On shore excursions or tours, does the van have a lift and method for transporting wheelchairs and scooters?

Don’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment.

I look forward to helping you or your loved one with all your accessible travel needs!

Everyone deserves to have a wonderful vacation no matter how special you may be.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

Free Can Be Very Costly

You are at the gate, an hour before you flight. You zipped through security because you have Global entry; sailing through TSAPreCheck. You’re feeling good, you found a nice computer spot, you take out your iPad, computer, phone and connect to the free airport Wi-Fi and that’s where it all ends.

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In a recent study (January-May 2018), Coronet a cloud security company, ranked 45 of the busiest US airports and found San Diego to be the absolute worst for cyber threats. Free Wi-Fi at airports may seem like a public service, in reality, they serve hackers. “The main reason airports are problematic is because most people are taking convenience over security,” said Dror Liwer, chief security officer and co-founder of Coronet.

These networks are usually unencrypted, insecure or improperly configured according to the study. Its’ not just your own device that is at risk, but your company’s entire digital infrastructure that's at risk, every time you login to a Wi-Fi that is unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured and send emails or share data with a co-worker.

“Hacking, which includes phishing, ransomware, malware and skimming, is the most common type of data breach and accounts for 60 percent of attacks, according to a 2017 study by the Identity Theft Resource Center. These attacks can lead to identity theft, which along with debt collection, imposter scams and other kinds of fraud, cost consumers $905 million in total losses in 2017, according to the Federal Trade Commission.” reports Carmen Reinicke of CNBC.

Here are the 3 major risks you take when you log onto public Wi-Fi

Your Device: When you click on "accept terms and conditions", you may unknowingly be installing malware on your device. The website looked legit, but it wasn’t.

Credentials: You can be a target for a Wi-Fi phishing scheme. The website looks just like the site you think is legit, just like your email sign in page. But it’s not and as you sign in, you are giving your login info to the hacker.

Data: Now you can infect your entire company. If data is sent to and from coworkers, through the hacker’s device, then they have all that info. You’ve handed it all over to them on a silver platter, so to speak.

Here’s the list of the 10 worst airports. Just because your airport is not on the list, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. It just means the hackers haven’t gotten to it yet.

These are the top 10 worst airports for cybersecurity. 10 being the absolute worst.

* Source: Coronet

1. San Diego International Airport 10

2. John Wayne Airport- Orange County Airport 8.7

3. Hobby Airport Houston TX 7.5

4. Southwest Florida International Airport Fort Myers 7.1

5. Newark Liberty International Airport 7.1

6. Dallas Love Field 6.8

7. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 6.5

8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport 6.4

9. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 6.4

10. Logan International Airport Boston 6.4

You are much safer signing into secured network. It may not be as convenient, but it sure will save you in the end. I use my T-Mobile Hot Spot when I’m traveling. I never sign into unsecured networks and neither should you.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
Prefer to email? info@WeMakeTravelEasy.com

Does this Sweeten the Deal?

Can you match the dessert to the description?

India is known for its out-of-this-world culinary delights, which often incorporate a variety of exotic spices, herbs, and other distinct flavors. Along with main dishes, traditional Indian desserts provide a tantalizing experience for your taste buds, and here are 5 favorite sweet treats for you to try the next time you visit India. Could that be in January with me?

1. Gulab Jamun

If lightly-fried, sweet dough balls covered in syrup sound like your cup of tea, you will definitely want to try Gulab Jamun. Different from other sweet fried dough pastries like donuts, this dessert incorporates powdered milk into its base and is topped with a rose water flavored syrup, which gives the dish its name (“Gulab” translates to flower water).

2. Jalebi

Jalebi is similar to western fair favorite funnel cakes, in that it's made by pouring a flour batter in a circular motion into boiling oil or butter. This popular street food is soaked in lime and saffron syrup after it’s fried, providing a distinctive, and delicious, crunch in the final product.

3. Modak

Modak is a dessert dumpling that is almost too cute to eat. Said to be a favorite delicacy of the Hindu god Ganesha, this dessert dumpling comes in both fried and steamed versions and can be filled with Jaggery and coconut shavings. Jaggery is a sweet substance and can be described as somewhere between spicy molasses and buttery caramel. We bet you can’t eat just one!

4. Pazham Pori

If you want to feel a little less guilty over your dessert indulgence in India, try Pazham Pori, scrumptious plantain fritters that are traditionally served alongside evening tea or coffee. Even if this sweet treat features a batter made from flour and sugar and is deep fried to a crisp, you’ll still be getting the fresh, nutritious taste of the plantain as well.

5. Kaju Katli

This Indian dessert is often served at the Hindu Festival of Lights, or Diwali, and derives from cashew nuts. After being ground into powder, cashews are combined with sugar and water, boiled down to a paste, and then formed into a thick nut-based dough. This dough is then rolled out and cut into diamond shapes before being dried. The finished result is similar to a cookie and often features powdered sugar on top.

Whether you’re looking for something covered in chocolate, fried to a crisp, or designed for the gods, you can find it all during your travels to India.

We'll be sure to try one or all of these dessert specialties when we are there.

Come with us to experience all kinds of culinary delights.

January 9-24, 2019

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