Saturday, January 23, 2016

Climate Change

Climate change is something that affects us all, in one way or another. To get a real feel for how our world is changing, here are some places/ways to witness climate change first-hand.

You can literally see this glacier melting in Iceland.
Solheimajokull Glacier, Iceland

- Glaciers have been melting quickly in recent years. The melting can be seen firsthand and local guides attest to the seriousness of the matter.

Alaska, USA

- Fewer whales off the coast of Alaska are thought to be due to warmer than normal ocean temperatures. This state is warming 5x faster than the rest of the planet according to some reports!

- In addition, when wildfires occur in Alaska, the permafrost (insulating top layer of earth) is burned away, the greenhouse gases within can easily get into the atmosphere. - Ryan Koronowski.
This lake in California is at record low water levels.
Venice, Italy, has been flooding more in recent years.
(Photo by Daily Mail Online.)

California, USA 

- Extreme Drought has caused concerns over the water supply and also increased risk of wildfires.

Montana, USA. 

- It is thought all glaciers in Glacier National Park might melt by 2020.

Venice, Italy

- Venice is flooding. Faster than normal. In 1900, St.Marks Square only flooded seven times, while it flooded 99 times in the year 1996!

The Great Barrier Reef

- Coral is dying which results in the death of the tropical fish living there!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stay healthy and clean while traveling

Here are a few simple tips to keep yourself clean and healthy while traveling!

1) Pack a small hand sanitizer or soap towelettes - restrooms often run out of soap!
2) In keeping with the above theme, a small pack of kleenex can also be useful.
3) The dirtiest places on a plane include the tray table, seatbelt buckle and restroom handles. Good reason to use the hand sanitizer.
4) Bring individually wrapped cold medicine, headache medicine, bandaids and neosporin. Just in case!
3) Use large zip-loc bags to pack your shoes, to keep dirt and germs off your clothes.
4) Pack a plastic bag to store dirty clothes, so they won't mix with the clean ones.

Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Foods around the World

I asked friends from several countries around the world what food they think represents their country (or at least is a recognized symbol). Here are their answers!

America - Steak, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

Italy - Wine and Pasta (I have to add Gelato)

Spain - Cured Meats (Chorizo, Jamon)

Mexico - Mole

Australia - Beef Pie

South Korea - Kimchi, Bulgogi (grilled marinated beer sirloin) and Galbi (beef rib)

China - Xiao long Bao (steamed pork bun)

Iran - Chelo Kabob or Ghormeh Sabzi

England - Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Pork Pies and Cream Tea

Phillipines - Adobo (a type of cooking involving of marinated meat or vegetables) and Lumpia (egg rolls)

Taiwan - Braised pork over rice, Beef noodle soup and Potstickers

Switzerland - Swiss cheese (ie. Gruyère, Tête de Moine, Berner Hobelkäse, etc.), Mountain meat (ie. Bündnerfleisch (dried beef), Rohschinken (the Swiss version of prosciutto), Speck or Mostbröckli) and of course Swiss chocolate!

Do you agree, or have other suggestions based on where you are from?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tired of Taxis? Try Uber!

Uber - One of many ride-share companies!
Tired of taxis? More and more options are available at a street corner near you! This post focuses on one such option: Uber. This is a service you use through an app on your smartphone. After you sign-up with your information and link a credit card, you simply request an Uber car through the app. The driver can text or call you, and you get up to the minute details on when the car will arrive.

Regarding safety, Uber does background checks on their drivers. Most drive relatively new cars (often an energy efficient Prius). But, as more and more ride-sharing services enter the market, there are likely to be more rules and regulations to help keep everyone safe!

Bonus! Get your first ride (up to $15) free through this link!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Power of posting reviews!

Even the TSA can now be reviewed on Yelp!
Sometimes bad things happen, even when on vacation. I wanted to highlight one way travelers can "fight back" with large airlines and hotel chains for bad customer service - through reviews. Twitter, Facebook, Trip Advisor and Yelp are being used by so many as they plan trips, and bad reviews can really hurt big business. 

A 5-star hotel with less than glowing reviews will make
people look to 4-star hotels with great reviews! 
Star ratings of hotels now mean less, while real customer reviews carry more weight. As time moves forward, I think we'll see less of the standard star and diamond ratings, and more based strictly on number and type of customer reviews. People are going to care less about a 5-star hotel with mediocre reviews than a 4-star with all positive reviews.

Even the TSA can be reviewed! Through an agreement with Yelp, the TSA can now be reviewed, and suggestions are monitored and taken into account for making improvements. Personally, I had one remarkably bad experience at SFO with an extremely unprofessional TSA agent. I wrote down the checkpoint number and person's name, knowing I was going to report it later. Keeping these specific details are key to any complaint or review. Instead of going public, I wrote a letter to the TSA itself, which passed the information on to the local airport, from which someone did reach out to make sure the individual was disciplined. 

Traveling is supposed to be a wonderful experience. When people (or places) ruin that, make sure to spread the word. Whether it be directly with the company or through social media. They have to listen, especially with everyone watching!