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On the road, drivers must deal with constant traffic concerns, including glaring sunlight, blinding rain, traffic jams, street signs and other drivers. But one distraction you might not have thought about is your kids.

Tips for Keeping Kids Occupied on Road Trips

Tips for Keeping Kids Occupied on Road TripsOn the road, drivers must deal with constant traffic concerns, including glaring sunlight, blinding rain, traffic jams, street signs and other drivers. But one distraction you might not have thought about is your kids.According to AAA, more than 1.5 million crashes have involved some kind of driver distraction, and 24 percent of crashes occur because of drivers having to deal with children in the back seat. Here are a few ways to keep the kids occupied the next time you hit the road.* Books and children's magazines: Time passes quickly when children are engrossed in a story. Take this opportunity to teach your children the importance of reading. If your kids can't read in the car, try books on tape or compact discs. * Crafts: Have the kids put together scrapbooks with items from the trip. Pack instant cameras, glue sticks, markers and construction paper to get them started. * Puzzles, board games and cards: At first these activities might seem unfit for road trips, but many newer versions are designed for travel. These games either come in compact cases or with magnetic boards to keep pieces from being lost in the vehicle.* On-screen entertainment: Increasing numbers of consumers are purchasing vehicles with liquid crystal display TV screens for passenger viewing. Today, not only can your kids play video games and watch DVDs in the car, they can catch their favorite television shows as well. The TracVision A5, created by Rhode Island-based KVH Industries, lets you watch live television while on the road. This in-motion satellite television system has a low-profile antenna that mounts to the roof of the car and a compact satellite receiver stored in the trunk. Compatible with DirecTV service, it provides hundreds of channels of satellite television and music. It's also designed to be part of a versatile entertainment system that can include DVD players, VCRs, video game systems and digital video recorders. The system sells for about $3,500. The monthly satellite service fee varies depending on the package selected but is similar to home programming.

What to Learn About Before You Go to a Foreign Country

What to Learn About Before You Go to a Foreign Country

Security. The Department of State's Consular Information Sheets are available for every country of the world. They describe entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, and special information about driving and road conditions. They also provide addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U.S. embassies and consulates. In general, the Sheets do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.In some dangerous situations, however, the Department of State recommends that Americans defer travel to a country. In such a case, a Travel Warning is issued for the country in addition to its Consular Information Sheet.Public Announcements are a means to disseminate information about relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, even if it does not involve Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, pre-election disturbances, and violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.You can access Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements 24-hours a day in several ways.InternetThe most convenient source of information about travel and consular services is the Consular Affairs home page. The web site address is /travel.state.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet at home, work or school, your local library may provide access to the Internet.TelephoneThe Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.By Mail/In PersonConsular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements are available at any of the regional passport agencies and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, or, by writing and sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520.Local Laws and Customs. When you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country where you are. Therefore, before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to visit. Good resources are your library, your travel agent, and the embassies, consulates or tourist bureaus of the countries you will visit. In addition, keep track of what is being reported in the media about recent developments in those countries.

Earn Free Flights with an Airline Credit Card Offer

Earn Free Flights with an Airline Credit Card Offer

In this day and age, we are always traveling. Whether on a business trip, visiting home for the holidays, or you just want to go on vacation, planning and funding the flight is always a headache. That is why most major banks and other credit card issuers now offer Airline Credit Cards. Airline Credit Cards provide the usual services of regular credit cards to make life a little easier. Not only is having an Airline Credit Card convenient, it is almost a requirement for anyone who is traveling. Come home with the perfect souvenir for everyone so that they can experience your trip as well! You never know when you will need emergency funds if you are in a foreign country! Well known credit card issuers such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express offer great plans on various airline credit cards. When researching which card is perfect for you, make sure that you take advantage of special offers that each one introduces to you such as 0% APR, reward plans, low rates on balance transfers and any other bonuses that will suit you. Usually, airline credit cards allow you to collect points through time and use of the card at various locations. These points can then be redeemed for airmiles, or other traveling rewards such as hotel accommodation, travel insurance, cruises, and car rentals. Search carefully and you will find that some even offer double points! You could also take advantage of offers like free first class upgrades or free companion airfare.When choosing an airline credit card, you can either get a credit card from your favorite airline or you can get a credit card with flexible rewards. An airline branded credit card usually has a great rewards program, but is limited to only that airline. A flexible rewards credit card can earn you trips on any airline with no blackout dates. Even if you dont have a trip planned for anytime soon, make sure that you take advantage of these special Airline Credit Cards now. Earn points on your everyday purchases now.

Langkawi Attractions By Road.

Langkawi Attractions By Road.

A great way to see Pulau Langkawi's many attractions is to rent a car and drive from place to place at one's own leisure. Car hire is reasonably priced and the island is linked by a network of pleasant roads with ample signages. A great place to start your sightseeing tour is to begin at Kuah town itself, where the tourist information centre is based (next to the town's mosque). Grab all the brochures and maps which you may need and you're ready to go. Within the vicinity of the jetty and the tourist information center is the harbourside's parklands which houses the Dataran Lang and Lagenda Park - the former a landscaped square with a concrete statue of the Langkawi eagle and the latter a 20-hectare park commemorating the island's legends in sculptural form. Heading west from Kuah town will take you to the rural countryside surrounded by paddy fields. Let the road signs lead you to Makam Mahsuri, the grave of the island's legendary heroine. Being the island's most popular legend, this tomb/shrine is to Langkawi what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Going back to the main road will lead you to Pantai Cenang, the island's longest stretch of beach with the most happening nightlife. This beach houses the highest concentration of accommodation providers, ranging from budget chalets to five-star resorts, and is therefore the liveliest spot. Laman Padi, a "rice museum" is also located at Pantai Cenang for those interested in all aspects of rice farming. The Underwater World, a colossal aquarium with a fascinating collection of freshwater and marine life is further down the same road. From Pantai Cenang, take the route to the airport. A go-cart racing centre is situated along the way for those who are game to participate. Past the airport is the small town of Padang Matsirat where the very disappointing Beras Terbakar or "Field of Burnt Rice" is located. Legend has it burnt rice still appear, the remnants of an 18th-century crop which was put to torch by local villagers to prevent invading Siamese troops from taking it. At the most, you will see a pitiful bowl of burnt rice in a plastic casing flanked by a signage. From the Padang Matsirat junction, follow the signage to Pantai Kok, a picturesque stretch of beach which some say is the finest in Langkawi. You will come across a red Thai-style structure along this road which was actually a Hollywood prop for the film Anna and the King starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt. Built as the Summer Palace for the Siamese monarch in the story, the structure has since been "recycled" as a tourist attraction. The admission charge is a bit steep but the place itself is well maintained and worth a visit. Cultural performances also are carried out at regular intervals here. Beyond Pantai Kok is Burau Bay, the other contender for accolade of the island's most beautiful beach. Burau Bay is actually a delightful cove flanked by the mysterious peaks of Gunung Mat Cincang. Two resorts sit on both ends of this cove: the Burau Bay Resort and the Berjaya Langkawi Beach Resort, both built to blend with the surrounding environment. Further up from Burau Bay is the waterfalls of Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells), a playground of fairies according to local folklore. Only the fit and enthusiastic outdoor-type should attempt the thirty-minute hike up the falls. Back track from Telaga Tujuh and turn towards Datai Bay, where "250 million-year-old rainforest meet the sea", or so the brochure claims. Two of the island's most luxurious resorts, The Datai and The Andaman are nestled among trees in seclusion here. A breathtaking golf course and a spectacular waterfall are also in the vicinity. The coastal road along Datai will also lead you past the Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation, a showcase for Malaysia's most famous artist, and a Crocodile Farm where the main attraction is a deformed croc. Moving up the north coast, you will find Pasir Hitam (The Beach of Black Sand) where the sand is streaked in black, and Kompleks Budaya Kraf, a crafts' complex of traditional craft products such as batik, silverware and pottery. At Padang Lalang turn right for Tanjung Rhu (Rhu Cape), a beautiful beach with shallow lagoons and vast sand flats during low tide. Visitors can also hire boat rides here to mangrove forests and the legendary caves nearby. Head west on the main road back to Kuah and you will past Air Hangat Village, a cultural centre around a natural hot spring, and the Galeria Perdana, a museum devoted to Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahatir's collection of gifts. Besides attractions on Pulau Langkawi, one can go island hopping to the neighbouring isles, each with their own coves of crystal-clear waters, snorkeling spots, eerie caves and fascinating folklore. Top on the list of must-see islands are Pulau Dayang Bunting, the archipelago's second largest island with a freshwater lake in the center, Pulau Singa Besar which houses a wildlife sanctuary, and the superb Pulau Payar, a designated marine park teeming with corals, fishes and baby sharks.

Safe Travel - What to Bring 10 Tips

1. Safety begins when you pack. To avoid being a target, dress conservatively. Don't wear expensive looking jewelry. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence.2. Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.3. Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to conceal them in several places rather than putting them all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.4. If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.5. To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first.6. Bring travelers checks and one or two major debit/credit cards instead of cash.7. Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.8. Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, lock your luggage.9. Consider getting a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from your overseas location(s). Access numbers to U.S. operators are published in many international newspapers. Find out your access number before you go.10. Check with TSA or your local airlines to see if there are any restrictions like liquids, lighters, matches, etc. These rules change often so check before you go.

Eating Well While Traveling

When you're on a full-blown vacation or even when you are just taking a weekend trip, your meals can be enjoyable milestones in your day rather than the subjects of your nightmares; and speaking of nightmares, the cost of eating can eat up a big part of your vacation budget. Following are some tips that will help you eat better, spend less and, as a result of the two, possibly even sleep better while on your trip.BreakfastStart your day with a healthy breakfast and, by definition, that excludes 'just grabbing a donut for the road.' Not that there is anything really wrong with donuts but donuts and pastries are high in sugar and fat -- sugar may give you a morning boost but it doesn't last long and half way through your morning you'll find yourself looking for a second breakfast or a brunch. Your best bet for breakfast is eating a balanced meal, just like your other meals of the day: Many hotels and motels offer you a complimentary continental breakfast -- that just means a breakfast buffet with a good variety of foods -- just what you need and what you should be looking for! Work your way around the buffet you'll find them offering bread, waffles and English muffins right next to a toaster, some jams, jellies and syrups for spreading or pouring on your toasted choice, a variety of cold cereals with milk or sometimes hot oatmeal, some fruit for your side dish or for mixing in with your cereal and then there is yogurt, orange juice, grapefruit juice and tea or coffee. If you skip the continental breakfast and opt for a restaurant meal, the same rules about a balanced breakfast apply but you'll be able to add eggs, bacon, sausage and table service to the mix.With breakfast done, you'll have a 'full tank' that will keep you going through your morning activities and keep you focused on enjoying a full schedule rather than being distracted by an empty belly.Lunch When you think about it, it makes sense to have your main meal of the day in the middle of the day -- especially when you're traveling. What you're doing is packing in the calories and then, during the course of your active afternoon, burning them off. This also makes good financial sense; many restaurants have lunch specials that feature all the things you will be able to buy later, at supper time -- at a higher price. If you're staying in a hotel or motel, ask the desk clerk or concierge about their favorite restaurant. You may get a tip about a restaurant that serves some local favorite foods; that's a nice way to enhance your travel experience with some genuine local flavor. The rule about eating a balanced meal works for lunch as well as it does for every other meal. You might start your lunch with a salad with a favorite salad dressing or a fruit salad or fruit cup or that salad might be a main course -- there are some wonderfully filling and healthy (balanced) main-course salads with chicken, ham, bacon bits, seasoned croutons and a world of other ingredients. Depending on where you're traveling you may just want to experiment a bit with some local favorite menu items -- ask your waiter or waitress to suggest something and be sure to ask about ingredients if there is something you know you shouldn't be eating. Don't skip dessert! A small dish or ice cream, with or without toppings or a small slice of pie or cake is a nice way to finish your lunch (remember, this is your BIG meal of the day). Snacks?Just in case foods are always a good idea when you're traveling. You may be sightseeing or just traveling when you get that urge to eat something. Stopping and buying something is always possible but its really an unnecessary expense if you have a snack bag stowed away in your bag or backpack -- besides, stopping along a tour route to buy something means your paying inflated tourist prices! The way to put together your own snack bag is to stop at a grocery store and buy some dried fruits, nuts, raisins, crackers and something to put on the crackers like peanut butter or cheese. Keep your snack bag handy!SupperAfter your big lunch you should be looking for a light meal to end your day -- it's good for your waistline and will give you a better night's sleep. One great and economical idea for that end-of-the-day meal is to combine that trip you should have made to the grocery store for your snack items with some purchases for your supper. Get some tasty lunch meats, bread, cheese to make sandwiches and some fruit for dessert. Many hotels and motels have small refrigerators in their rooms and many even have microwaves; when making reservations pick a location with these amenities and use them. Making your own supper can be a major savings to your vacation budget and may even allow you to save enough to spend an extra day visiting an attraction you might otherwise have to skip. Home again!It's always good to be home and just in case it hasn't occurred to you, you might look at some of these eating and spending tips and apply them to your eating habits and your food budget even when you're not on the road. Bon Appetit!

Summary

On the road, drivers must deal with constant traffic concerns, including glaring sunlight, blinding rain, traffic jams, street signs and other drivers. But one distraction you might not have thought about is your kids.