Disabled Travel

Disabled Travel to Rome, Italy

In fact, organized tours offer trips to wheelchair friendly hotels, museums and other places of interest so that disabled travelers can enjoy their destination just as much as the next traveler. Rome, the grand capital of Italy, is no exception and has joined this trend in a big way.

Admittedly, in previous years, Rome seemed to be oblivious to the daily trials of wheelchair bound locals and visitors as they tried to maneuver their way around the city and enter buildings that were not easily accessible. However, it is heartening to see that many new building projects have taken the disabled into account and are now providing ramps and lifts features that would not have been in place perhaps a decade ago.

There are many things to take into account when planning a trip to Rome, especially when you need to consider the use of a wheelchair as well. The first thing to think about is where you are going to stay. The logical choice, of course, is to pick hotels that are as centrally located as possible so that you don’t have to travel great distances to sightsee. Simply being in the heart of the city, near wonderful old buildings or plazas, is great in itself and it is definitely worth compromising on grandeur and opulence by downgrading to a slightly less expensive hotel that is well placed.

When making a hotel reservation, be sure to check whether they have wheelchair accessible rooms and check the height of the beds, the size of the room and other important features such as grab bars in the bathtub, and wall mounted flush buttons for the toilets. Also ensure that the elevator door will open up to a size that will accommodate you and your traveling companion, and that there are no unforeseen stumbling blocks such as front stairs instead of ramps.

Rome is a city like no other and you will definitely want to get in as many sites as you can. The first floors of many of the major museums are wheelchair accessible and you can therefore take in a lot of the important exhibitions in these locations. Unfortunately, many of the second floors are only reached by a stairwell. It may be worth contacting the museums in advance to see what kind of facilities they have (including accessible bathrooms) and ask them to make special arrangements (such as opening side doors, etc.).

Take the Vatican Museums as an example. For starters, wheelchair bound visitors are allowed to jump the long lines and are allowed to enter ahead of other tourists. Thereafter, most of these magnificent buildings are reasonably accessible. The Sistine Chapel is accessed by a lift and then a steep ramp, while a separate elevator enters other areas of the museum. In general, it is advisable to visit all the museums as early on in the day as possible in order to avoid the bustle of the crowds and to have the full attention of museum personnel.

Traveling around Rome is easiest done by hailing one of the many cabs, although it is possible to do so by bus. Walking/rolling around the city may be a bit of a challenge due to the heavy congestion, cars parked on the kerbs and uneven cobbled roads. However, a little determination, forethought and innovation will ensure that you and your traveling companion enjoy a remarkable and truly unforgettable visit to this grand old city.

Travelling Companions

How to Love Your Travelling Companions – Top Tips For a Great Holiday Part 2

Money – the source of all evil, and most certainly the source of a whole lot of arguments, especially on holiday.

One of you wants to stay in a 30 pound a night dive, the other wants to stay in a 150 pound a night luxury hotel? Book your hotels in advance. Having said this, if we had done so, my friend Ellie and I would never have chosen the luxury hotel we stayed in on our last night in Croatia – and it made the holiday. But for my trip to China this year we are booking our hotels in advance – when you are tired and need a shower and don’t speak the local language – this is not a time to be looking for a bargain – especially if my friend Lucy’s stories of rats in the shower are anything to go by!

It often helps to agree who pays for what ahead of time. Sometimes you might be travelling with a friend who has more or less money than you or who just wants to spend more money on something. When my sister and I went to Barcelona I offered to pay for the hotel – I was planning on going anyway, she could just pay for her flight, and bizarrely enough a double room was cheaper than a single so she was saving me money. But she refused, she wanted to pay her own way, and so we split everything down the middle. The only exception was the spa, I really wanted to go, but she was hesitating – so I offered to make it her birthday present – win, win.

I have in the past agreed that I’ll get tonight’s dinner and you can get tomorrow’s – but this can really backfire – especially when after a few too many drinks the cost of last night’s dinner is forgotten, and the next night’s dinner is a bag of chips. But I think this experience was good for me, as it meant I had to say to my travelling companion – “no, I paid for that, and I also paid for that, let’s sit down over a coffee and figure out what we owe, and don’t forget I’ve also been paying for the petrol.” Yes I felt awkward when I was asked to produce receipts by my friend, but at the end of the trip I felt that I could handle this kind of situation, and that’s part of what travelling is all about.

Splitting the bill as you go along can be a lot easier, but sometimes feels strange with a lover. I once tried to have the conversation with my boyfriend as he was unhappy about paying for certain things – but it just stalled. If I’m honest it was a holiday that was both amazing and incredibly sad as it was the end of our time together, and we both knew that, and money had already become an issue in our relationship. Looking back I realise that the money issue was my hang up – probably because I was very badly burnt financially by my last serious boyfriend. He was the kind of person who would lavish me with gifts, extravagant dinners and hotels only for me to discover, after he’d moved out, that he had taken our rent money, and left me in months of arrears. The new boyfriend was a responsible guy who worried about paying for taxis when we had already bought travel cards, who had been out of work and was about to face some serious moving costs, who didn’t want to let me pay for things but knew that I was in a much better financial situation. In short, I wish I could have let go of my hang ups about money, realised how difficult it was for him to let me pay for things, loosened the purse strings and just graciously paid for the cabs myself!

Whoever you are travelling with, you can sometimes end up paying on a credit card, or fronting up euro, kroner or dollars, trying to get the cash back from a friend, lover or family member. Even if it’s a straight split, I hate asking, “Are you going to transfer that cash into my account” or “when are you going to the cash point” but I know I’d rather not deal with it on holiday. With family it can be more confusing – when you are splitting a total bill between four families, two of which comprise two adults, two kids and a dog, one without a dog, and one that’s just me, and of course my mum and brother who we won’t let pay, it puts my degree in maths to good use. Last time someone had worked it out roughly, then I stopped and realised that if all the 2 point 4 families paid the same as each other I would be paying about a 100 pounds more than them for a weekend. And I don’t have a dog, or kids, or a husband. When I told them what I thought was a more fair split everyone was more than happy to pay, I just felt bad having to ask. You could agree it in advance, write an email or a text, especially if it’s a big trip. Get the basics right and then you can feel easier about the smaller things, and treat your travelling companions to a few margaritas without resentment.

But so often problems with money have nothing to do with money – looking back I can see that sometimes they are the icing on the cake. If I feel that I have done too much on a holiday – done more than my fair share of driving, organising, translating or just plain trouble shooting – I guess I feel that

Travelling and Backpacking

Tips to Avoid Malaria When Travelling and Backpacking

Recently, a young woman travelling alone in Vietnam stopped taking her antimalarial pills because she was experiencing bad dreams. She teamed up with a female travel companion and they were both bitten by mosquitoes. Her companion had not taken antimalarial drugs, contracted malaria, and spent the rest of her trip very sick in the hospital. She was repatriated home to continue her recovery. Luckily for the young woman who had stopped taking the antimalarial tablets she didn’t contract the disease even though she had been bitten. However, the remainder of her trip was ruined because she was constantly watching for symptoms and terrified that she would also develop malaria.

Travellers should be aware that stopping antimalarial drugs, or not taking them at all when travelling to a country where there is a risk of malaria might cause a problem with a travel insurance claim. Travel insurance policies have a general exclusion regarding exposure to unnecessary risk. Insurers generally advise that travellers should behave as if they are not insured and exercise reasonable care to prevent illness. In cases like this, claims or assistance would be at the discretion of the Assistance Company or insurer.

There are many opportunistic bugs, parasites, and nasty diseases freely available to travellers. They strike when an unsuspecting tourist lets down their guard, but malaria is the one that tends to get the most press. Smart travellers will educate themselves and do everything possible to avoid contact with mosquitoes. To be fair, it is not the actual mosquito but the malaria parasite carried by infected mosquitoes that poses the danger. No matter how many precautions are taken, the potential to contract this potentially life-threatening disease will always exist when travelling to tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world

The type of malaria parasite depends on the country being visited and the time of year. The main trouble spots are North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and Latin America. If embarking on travels to these areas it is essential to take steps to avoid contact with mosquitoes. Consult with a doctor, pharmacist, or visit a travel clinic several months before departure to find out which type of antimalarial will work best for the area of the world being visited. With the enormous amount of information available online about malaria and tropical diseases there’s no excuse for anyone to say they did not know!

Some antimalarial drugs are available over the counter, but others need a prescription. Those with pre-existing medical or mental health problems, or who are particularly sensitive to drugs, would be wise to seek the advice of a medical professional well in advance of travel. Antimalarial drugs can produce side effects such as bad dreams, mood changes and sleep disturbances. However, it is not a good idea to interrupt or stop the treatment once it has been started, unless under the direction of a medical professional.

Antimalarial drugs are not a total guarantee against malaria because some of the bugs have built up a resistance. Therefore, external methods should also be used to prevent exposure to mosquito bites. Mosquito nets that have been impregnated with insect repellants should be used at all times for sleeping. The best way to be sure of always having access to a net is for people to take their own with them. The net should be impregnated with an insect repellent for maximum effect, checked regularly for holes, and rolled up when not in use so mosquitoes can’t get inside..

Mosquitoes are at their hungriest at twilight and throughout the night. It is advisable to spray rooms, and ideally there should be fine-mesh screens over all windows and doors if there is no air-conditioning. Clothing is an important factor in avoiding mosquito bites. There are special lightweight travel clothes on the market, which are designed for tropical climates. No one wants to wear long-sleeves or long trousers or socks in a hot climate but it is a good idea to cover up for maximum protection – especially at night. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark fabrics, so light colours should be worn – which are also cooler. Any other methods to keep mosquitoes away should be used, such as insect repellent skin creams or sprays, or alternative natural products.

Regardless of whether antimalarial drugs have been taken, if flu-like, feverish, or other symptoms occur during a trip, or following return home, medical attention should be sought immediately. The doctor should be informed which countries have been visited and that there is the possibility of exposure to malaria or other tropical diseases. Many travellers return from trips abroad each year with symptoms of malaria – and a handful of cases are fatal.

Travel Kit

Secret Treasures For Your Feng Shui Travel Kit

Are you packing for that special vacation trip you have been planning for months? Don’t forget your feng shui travel kit! A lightweight pouch in a fabric that gives you joy will hold the few treasures that you may now select as travel companions.

In a hotel room, tent or automobile, these items will connect you to home, protect you on your journey and give you a sense of belonging. With our feng shui guide lines and travel tips, your special experience away from home will feel more secure and harmonious. Summer is a time of extremes, therefore a little know how for creating better balance will keep you aligned with your purpose and design. Time zones and climate can play tricks on you and make you feel out of sorts.

Upon arrival at your destination, check around for sha qi. Is there anything threatening pointing at you? Are there pictures on the wall that make you feel uncomfortable? Can you see the door from where you are sleeping or sitting? Is there a mirror reflecting your sleeping position? What kind of electronics are close to your head? What do you see when you look out the window? If things don’t feel right, try to switch rooms!

Let’s pack your pouch with feng shui essentials:

• A photo of your loved ones in a light frame will be your tao connection to family and friends.

• A symbol of protection could be a small statue of your personal deity: your god or goddess, an angel, a Buddha, or St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.

• Crystals are said to be protective, and a small faceted amethyst can be grounding and relaxing.

• Include a special coin as a symbol of continued cash flow.

• Your favorite essential oil, i.e. lavender, rosemary or geranium, will surround you with familiar aroma as you spray or dab in bathrooms and on pillows.

• A small e-candle with a timer switch can be your guiding night light to the bathroom. It will also keep you from turning on bright lights which will disturb your melatonin level while you’re adjusting to new time zones.

• A spray bottle with clear alcohol can be a helpful disinfectant to spritz on bedding and remote controls.

Your pouch is ready unless you have a need for some tactile sensations, which could be a tassel for the doorknob or a little rubbing stone to ease nervous tension. If you can squeeze more into your luggage, some of you may want to tuck a tiny, soft pillow or stuffed animal into a corner of the suitcase. A shawl to toss over the black hole TV or a mirror can serve double duty to protect against icy drafts from the AC.

Try to balance indoor temperatures with outdoor climates so that your experience is not too much of an extreme. Your exposure to temperature changes should be gradual.

When you are in public spaces, i.e. lobbies, restaurants, transportation, put yourself in the power position where you can observe the entrance and see as much of the room as possible.

In choosing your feng shui travel companions, be aware of meanings and symbolic values and perhaps add small items as you experience new places. They will then be embedded in your memory as mile markers on the brain mapping of your journey.

Pyramid Feng Shui is a multi-cultural discipline. With its practice we enhance our lifestyle, our experience of place, and create deeper bonds with our environment. Our experience of place is refreshed with changes that affect our sensorial system and therefore our outlook on life.

Travel Companion

The Perfect Dog Travel Companion

Going on vacation is the best way to unwind. One may choose to spend some time on the beach or explore another country. But the best way to enjoy a vacation is having a good companion. Dogs are good traveling companions because they are always curious. They also have the ability to create a happy ambiance resulting to a relaxing vacation.

When traveling with a dog, it is best to bring the perfect dog travel companion to avoid troubles. A good and loyal companion is the Labrador Retriever. This breed may be large but they are adaptable, friendly and fun. Another is the Brussels Griffon, a rodent-hunting dog and diminutive Belgian breed. In fact, this breed is often brought by Belgian carriage drivers on a long journey during the 19th century. This proves that they are indeed a good travel partner.

Besides large breeds, small breeds are also a perfect dog travel companion. First in line is the Maltese. Since they are small, they can be easily transported. This breed is intelligent, playful and can make a vacation worthwhile. Second is the English Bulldog. Being small and cuddly, they are able to sit next to the owner or on the owner’s lap.

Other than choosing and bringing the perfect dog travel companion, there are things that one must also consider. First is to plan ahead. Know the destination and activities one would like to do especially how to get there. Will it be by air or by land?

Air travel or riding a plane is not the perfect or suitable option when traveling with a dog. Airlines usually consider pets as cargo depending on the size. Small ones or toy dogs are quite lucky because they are allowed to stay with the owner. Larger dogs, on the other hand, will have to stay in the cargo section. Owners may not approve of this; however, airline rules must be followed to avoid delays and further problems.

Meanwhile, travel by land or via automobile is the best way. The owner as well as the pet will be comfortable throughout the journey. Moreover, there is less chance for the dog to get lost. Just make the proper adjustments in the vehicle, so that the dog can move freely. In addition, make sure to stop once in a while and allow the dog to stretch, drink and relieve himself.

Furthermore, traveling is not only a form of relaxation for the owner. It can also be a form of bonding between the owner and the dog. To make sure that the bonding or vacation is a success, make the necessary arrangements beforehand.

The Unwanted Travel Companion

Alternative Approach For Dealing With Hemorrhoids – The Unwanted Travel Companion

Let’s face it, long hours, days and weeks of sitting in cars, planes, trains, and ships to get to your final destination can wreak havoc on your rear end. Those of us with weaker vein walls can suffer from that unwanted travel companion known as hemorrhoids. There is nothing worse than reaching your dream location only to suffer from the discomforts of hemorrhoids.

Being a sufferer myself, I decided to do what I do best, research everything I could find about Hemorrhoids on line as well as with my wonderful doctors, and alternative medicine specialists regarding hemorrhoids.

I learned some of the best and safest methods including some herbal and alternative methods to use to treat, and deal with hemorrhoids during your long trip in an effort to help other travelers enjoy their journey.

Sleeping on your Left side will reduce the blood pressure in the veins that are weak. This works great, especially with a pillow under your legs for support.
Elevate your legs throughout the day. Yes, you will have to allow yourself to sit down and take a break several times during the day which is very difficult for busy moms like me.
Try not to stand in one place too long that includes when you are shopping for souviniers, meeting new people, or even cooking meals for the family. If you do have to stand, elevate one foot higher by placing it on a stool while you are standing in one spot.
Sit in a Sits bath using Witch Hazel liquid or using the witch hazel herb (brew as a tea first then add to the bath) and Epson salt. Be sure the water is on the cooler side since warm water stimulates blood circulation.
Exercise daily like taking a brisk 20 minute walk, or swimming which will help to strengthen those weak vein walls.
Find a comfortable chair, or lawn chair that you can relax in and kick your feet up. Hey, your on vacation!
Kegal excursive will help strengthen the veins and muscles in the pelvic, and rectum area and help with preventing Hemorrhoids.
Sit on cool Potato peels. Sounds crazy, I know, but this has had great results from other travelers, and pregnant moms, including myself.
Sleep with a pillow under your legs at night to keep them elevated.
Alternate using compresses to help reduce hemorrhoid shrinkage with warm water, then cold compresses.
Use Horse Chestnut suppositories at bed time.
Take Rutin supplements which help support Vascular Health and a Healthy inflammatory Response. It’s safe to take during pregnancy without toxins.
Bump up your vitamin C, and Omega 3 Fish oils. This helps to strengthen and support the vein walls.
Eat more fiber and stay hydrated. Hemorrhoids can burst, causing black and blue bruising spots and tend to do so if too much pressure is asserted during bowel movements.
Bring along an inflatable travel pillow seat cushion to alleviate some of the pressure while you must continue to sit to reach your destination.

So no matter how far you travel, take comfort in knowing that you can find soothing relief by implementing even a few of the methods listed in order to treat travel hemorrhoids while you are on vacation. Then you can focus on the fun stuff, like sight seeing, learning about new cultures, tasting new cuisine, and traveling with your kids.

Happy Travels!