Entries in Travel (10)


‘Are We There Yet?’ Survey Reveals How Often Kids Ask

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) --  “Are we there yet?” It’s the age-old question asked by kids on family vacations everywhere. And while it can seem like children ask it hundreds of times during the course of a family vacation, it’s actually far fewer, according to a new survey.

The question is asked an average of nine times on a seven-day family vacation, according to Cambria Suites, a hotel chain. For parents of kids six and younger, however, you can expect to be asked the dreaded question 13 times.

The survey revealed a few other family vacation tidbits. While most respondents (65 percent) view their family vacation experiences as positive, for instance, parents come home exhausted. One in four reported needing a vacation after returning from their vacation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Red Light-Running High During Memorial Day Weekend

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Memorial Day weekend means time off from work, hanging out with friends and family, and running red lights.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads says that the incidence of motorists flying through red lights jumps 27 percent over the holiday weekend compared to typical weekends, based on information gathered from 142 areas in 18 states.

According to coalition president David Kelly, if the findings are spread out to all 50 states, it means there are 1.2 red-light violations every second of Memorial Day weekend -- not exactly a reassuring figure if you plan on hitting the road over the next few days.

Kelly explains that the spike in drivers ignoring red lights probably has something to do with people wanting to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. The increase in traffic, which leads to more congestion, adds to impatience behind the wheel.

The study also shows that Fridays are when most violations happen, with over three in ten occurring between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Getting a ticket is the least of motorists’ worries if they're caught. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that during 2009, speeding through red lights resulted in 676 deaths and 130,000 injuries. Often, the fatalities didn’t involve the driver, but another driver or pedestrian who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Psychic Offers Travel Guidance to Reduce Commuter Stress

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A bad travel experience can ruin anyone's day, but a self-described travel psychic says she knows the secrets to guiding people away from the aggravation of crowds, delays and traffic and towards a smoother journey.

Linda Lauren said she is a fourth generation psychic medium and uses her gift to counsel clients along their way, whether it's for a vacation or their daily commute -- think part travel agent, part ghost whispered.

"I can pinpoint a person's energy so that I can work with how they're going to travel, and what they need to watch out for in terms of pitfalls or how they react," she said. "Energy is everywhere."

Watch the full story on ABC’s Nightline Friday at 11:35 p.m. ET

Lauren uses several tools of the psychic trade for her clients' readings: a "hope deck" of cards she designed herself, calendars, astrology charts, numerology and crystals and will often see visions. For airline delays, Lauren said she sees a clock with numbers reversed or maybe upside down. When it comes to road detours, she sees red lights.

"If I'm envisioning traffic for this person, I'll see a whole bunch of people in a can of sardines," she said laughing. "I know it sounds weird."

A half-hour session with Lauren costs $90, but her clients say not only is she worth the money, it also helps their businesses, although many of them admitted they would never tell their customers they use a travel psychic to plan business meetings.

"What I use Linda for is the same what I would use my accountant for or my attorney," said Todd Evans, one of Lauren's clients. "If you have to do a lot of business and big business and it really makes a difference."

While flying in a post-9/11 world has made travel increasingly stressful, and the highways have become clogged with more cars, more and more frequent travelers are turning to psychics like Lauren for directions.

Jeff Moran is a self-described control freak, who said he is on the road about 60 percent of the time, between traveling for his high-powered public relations job and personal trips. He sees Lauren for a travel reading about once every two months.

"What stresses me out is everybody else doesn't know what they're doing," Moran said. "If I can at least stack the deck in my favor, I will finally find that golden halo of business travel isn't as bad as what it really is to the rest of the world who's not following this advice."

While it all sounds a little like hocus-pocus, Lauren's clients swear by her readings.

"I've been on the receiving end of, 'Don't take that plane,' and then that plane went out of service the next day because there was an issue with the engine," Moran said. "So I trust this woman implicitly with watching out for me."

In one reading, Moran was asking Lauren for guidance on a trip home to Pittsburgh to spend Christmas with his family. Lauren advised him to take the Pennsylvania turnpike. When Nightline caught up with Moran after the holiday, he said he ran into delays because of rain.

"[Lauren] didn't predict that it would be pouring rain, but I defend her by saying even the meteorologist didn't predict that," Moran said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Travels World to Meet All Her Facebook Friends to Beat Anxiety

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WILMETTE, Ill.) -- Last year at this time, Arlynn Presser made a New Year’s resolution that nearly scared her to death.   

The 51-year-old romance novelist and mother of two resolved to travel around the world to meet all 324 of her Facebook friends.

It would have been a daunting mission for anyone, but even more so for Presser:  Her white-knuckled fear of leaving her Wilmette, Ill., home was intense enough to trigger debilitating panic attacks.  She had battled agoraphobia -- a type of anxiety disorder that can be triggered by open spaces, leaving home, crowds or other uncontrolled situations -- since she was a teenager. First, she’d experience sweating and shortness of breath, and then severe pressure in her chest that felt like a heart attack.

 ”I’m not even sure what sets me off. The first anxiety attack was in a thunderstorm in a grocery store.  I had another one in a bookstore. Your world gets smaller and smaller, because the places that become off-limits grows,”  Presser said. ” At one point I was having trouble getting out of my bedroom.”  

 On her blog, she put it this way:

“I’m scared of travel.  I’m scared of flying.  I’m scared of just about anything outside my door.  I probably use Facebook to keep in touch with my friends in a way that may be good or might just give me a false sense of intimacy....I will meet every one of my facebook friends this year, and I figure I’m going to be surprised.  A lot.”

She was. Three hundred and sixty-four days later, Presser had visited 292 friends and traveled to 11 countries. With her 23-year-old son, Joseph, she flew to Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Mumbai, Rome, Austria, Germany and England. Her journey also took her throughout the United States and Mexico. She would still get panic attacks, but her son helped her work though them.

Presser had tried therapy and medication in the past, but nothing seemed to ease her fear.

"I didn’t go to my son’s high school or college graduation, and I never went to his college to visit,” Presser said. But on her Facebook-fueled odyssey, Presser finally got a friend to take her to her son’s alma mater.  ”She took me on a tour of Boston University two years after he graduated. It was amazing. It was the parent’s weekend I never had.”

The year-long journey cost about $30,000, but Presser said it was worth every penny. “I need a little time to sort of process it, but I do feel like I have more of my life back.”

Presser is no longer a prisoner trapped in her home. She was out for a walk in an Illinois Forest Preserve when ABC News reached her by phone for this interview.  Presser said she still got panic attacks but finds herself better able to work through them.

“I think that therapy teaches you to rely on your therapist. Drugs teach you to rely on drugs. This taught me to rely on my friends and myself. ”

There is also power in peer pressure.  Had she not made her resolution public on Facebook, Presser said she would not have had the support and encouragement of friends who held her accountable.

“I think that’s the real important thing about resolutions. If you say publicly to all of your friends, ‘This is what I’m going to do,’ there is this energy and you have to follow through.”

Presser has not made any resolutions this year but said she would likely spend her time trying to help others who battle the same type of paralyzing fear.

“I’m learning there are a lot of us,” she said, “I want to learn how to help people who have reached out to say, ‘I’m just like you.’”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Medical Tourism: Bargain Plastic Surgery on the Luxe

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- From $20,000 contouring surgery in Poland to facial restructuring in China at a seven-star medical spa, cosmetic surgery services and luxury medical tourism are gaining in popularity across the globe.

With the current tough economy, it can be attractive to look at opportunities to combine a surgery and luxurious vacation as a lower-cost package than a procedure in the United States, medical tourism experts say.

"As new cosmetic and plastic surgeries come out, it's advantageous for the patient," said Jonathan Edelheit, CEO of the Medical Tourism Association, which counts 100 countries within its organization. "You can have a surgery for the same high quality -- but at 50 percent to 90 percent less -- and take the vacation you never thought you could afford. It's a huge trend and the tourism of the future."

All surgeries need to be carefully considered as a serious medical procedure, said Dr. Steven Svehlak, who operates a plastic surgery practice in Los Angeles.

"If you do your homework and take your time to research these doctors and facilities," Svehlak said, "then you will be able to find reputable places to go to. But you need to be extremely careful."

Experts added that one of the big issues to consider when electing for a procedure abroad is making sure patients receive the prescribed battery of follow-up exams in correlation to their cosmetic procedures. For most surgeries, there are a routine number of follow-up appointments that go as far as eight weeks out, along with an appropriate amount of recovery time.

With that warning in hand, here's a look at five medical procedures and travel packages available for vacationers across the globe:

1. Abdominal Etching in Poland

The surgery works by removing fat from the targeted area and may be followed up by a series of fat-melting injections to the abdomen so that it may appear as though months of strength training have given the patient rock-hard abs.

Patients could combine surgery with an extended tour of Poland, with its scenic mountain landscape, remarkable museums and, of course, if the doctor says they can, a potato vodka tasting.

If Eastern Europe isn't your ideal vacation spot, the controversial procedure is also sought after in Brazil.

2. The Brazilian Butt Lift

Although the United States still tops the list of countries with the highest number of plastic surgeries, it's closely followed by Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Japan, according to statistics published by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

One of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in Brazil is the butt lift, which shapes your curves by injecting unwanted fat from the arms or abdomen and then into the buttocks to create a rounder, more defined rear, said Svehlak.

Once you've successfully recovered from your enhancements, a trip to the glorious beaches in a revealing bathing suit is certainly what the doctor ordered.

"Brazil is one of the most well-known places in plastic surgery," said Edelheit. "Being on the beach in Rio or San Paulo and going to the stores and restaurants -- it's the sexiness of a foreign destination, which is so attractive."

3. Surgeries and Safaris in South Africa

Dental work, rhinoplasties and cheek augmentations are just a few of the surgical procedures offered by a few select medical safari companies in South Africa.

As a new form of luxury tourism, a number of medical spas offer cosmetic procedures in luxurious surroundings, followed by a rejuvenating safari vacation complete with game drives, wildlife observation explorations and glamorous vineyard wine tours.

An outfit called "Surgery & Safari" coordinates every detail of your surgery and arranges your recuperation in "an oasis for the senses" safari on Mount Grace in Johannesburg.

4. Facial Restructuring in China

Large eyes, a fine nose and refined profile comprise a look coveted in China, with facial restructuring procedures comprising many of the 2 million surgeries completed in the country this year, The New York Times recently reported. If you choose to tour the Great Wall and undergo any number of transforming facial surgeries, China's new luxury medical spas offer surgical care with a gourmet meal after your procedure in holistic surroundings.

The influx of these holistic resorts and wellness retreats are quickly becoming a trend, said Edelheit.

"There's a huge rise in investment in building high-quality resorts, like 7-star resort hotels, designed for the patient experience," Edelheit said. "A patient has the feeling that they're being pampered, being able to recover in that environment. If you're in a more natural, happier environment, you'll recover faster."

5. Eyelid Surgery in Hawaii

Hawaii is considered one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world, but it's also a leading destination for those who desire eyelid surgery.

One type of eyelid surgery, often selected by those who believe that their eyes are too small, is accomplished by creating a crease above the lid that opens up the eye and gives it a refreshed appearance, said Svehlak. Only those with a single eyelid fold -- in other words, a subgroup of Asians -- can have this particular type of procedure done.

But Svehlak said that many older patients undergo a different type of eyelid procedure "to remove loose skin on the eyelid. By trimming the loose skin and tying everything up, you can appear more youthful, more opened."

You can elect to undergo surgery in one of Hawaii's modern medical facilities, which offer luxurious accommodation and a holistic approach to healing.

"We're seeing more hospitals integrate the medicine with the holistic side, and in the hospital they'll be giving you massages, aromatherapy, pedicures, spas built in, trends we don't see here in the [mainland] U.S. -- the purposes of which is to have you heal in your spirit as well as physically," said Edelheit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What Tops Most Americans’ Lifetime 'To-Do' Lists?

Michael Matisse/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- A new survey finds nearly seven out of ten Americans have created an ultimate “to-do” list for activities they want to achieve in their lifetime, and travel is ranked number one on the lists of 83 percent of respondents.

Achieving a personal goal was on the list of 61 percent of respondents, followed in popularity by "volunteering for a cause" and "doing something mentally or physically challenging."

Additional statistics from the survey:

  • 23 percent of Americans say they create to-do lists to challenge themselves.
  • 19 percent say a to-do list helps prioritize all the things they want to accomplish.
  • 72 percent of people with to-do lists share their goals and experiences with others.
  • 76 percent of people hope to carry out their to-do list item with another person instead of by themselves.
  • 20 percent of respondents put rekindling an old relationship at the top of their to-do list.
  • 57 percent say a lack of funds is the top barrier preventing them from achieving their to-do list goals.

The survey of 1,011 U.S. adults was commissioned by Hilton.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What’s More Joyous Than Childbirth?

Steve Mason/Digital Vision(LOS ANGELES) -- Everyone loves going on vacation, and a new survey by the online photo sharing website Shutterfly reveals just how much folks enjoy getting away from it all.

A recent survey of 1,000 adults finds 57 percent of respondents picked going on vacation as the most joyous moment of their lives, followed by the birth of a child.

The top five most joyous moments, according survey respondents:

  • Vacations -- 57 percent
  • Birth of child/children -- 49 percent
  • Winter holidays -- 46 percent
  • Own wedding -- 43 percent
  • Milestone birthdays -- 33 percent

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: More Business Trips May Lead to Increased Health Risks

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People who travel often for business are at higher risk for various health problems such as obesity and high cholesterol, according to researchers at the Columbia University.

Researchers analyzed the health data of more than 13,000 employees participating in a corporate wellness program.  Eighty percent of these employees traveled at least one night per month, while nearly one percent of the group were extensive travelers, spending up to 20 nights each month on business trips.

They found that heavy travelers experienced an increase in rates of "less-than-good" health along with the increase of nights on the road.  Furthermore, extensive travelers were 92 percent more likely to develop obesity compared to non-travelers' 33 percent likelihood for the disease.

The study's authors attribute the health risks linked to extensive travel to poor sleep, fattening foods and long periods of inactivity, among other factors.  They suggest that companies that require employees to travel should also offer stress management classes, choose accommodations with fitness facilities and encourage healthier food choices with meal reimbursements.

The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Website Offers Medication Translations for World Travelers 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(RADNOR, Penn.) – World travelers will now have more help identifying their medications in other countries.

Global health and safety services company HTH Worldwide has expanded a mobile and online translation guide to ensure that travelers get the same medication there were prescribed at home as drug names can vary by country.

The company has recently expanded, an online medication database, to include 28 of the world’s most visited countries. Recently, translations have been added for those visiting South Korea and South Africa.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Social Jet Lag Phenomenon Causes Post-Holiday Sluggishness

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Even if you didn't travel long distances during the holiday season, you may return to work feeling as if you did. British researchers use the term "social jet lag" to describe the mental and physical weariness people experience after days or weeks of irregular sleeping, eating and stress that experts say is similar to the travel jet lag that affects people who travel across time zones.

"Whenever we have a few days off, we have a tendency to go to sleep past our regular bed times and wake up later," said Dr. Salim Dib, assistant professor of neurology and sleep disorders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "That messes up our circadian rhythm and makes it difficult to get up at our normal time in the morning."

There are many reasons sleep experts say the holidays can wreak havoc on the body's built-in clock. In addition to getting less sleep because of social obligations, family visits or shopping, other seasonal factors play a role in disrupting sleep patterns.

"The holidays relate to doing things that are out of the ordinary, such as drinking more alcohol, eating fattier foods and more stress in general," said Dr. Nancy Collop, director of the Emory Sleep Center in Atlanta. "There may be more reflux and other things that are not good for sleep."

Fortunately, experts say, this phenomenon is temporary, but there are things people can do to facilitate a return to sleep normalcy. People suffering from social jet lag should focus on waking up at their normal time in the morning, even if it takes longer than usual to fall asleep and people get less sleep.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio