travel tips


Love the Sports, Hate the Coverage

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Well, it’s that time of year when sport’s fans go a little crazy. Football is already in its third week and baseball is about to begin the playoffs and World Series. Basketball won’t be far behind.

Now I love sports, but what has happened to the coverage of sports is very troubling. My late father would always say the coverage of football should begin with the kickoff. He was right. Currently we are treated to at least an hour of pregame analysis that is usually way off target. We get pop or rap artists before the game and at half-time, and a group of former players and coaches giving their opinion before, during, and after the game. That is interspersed with occasional trips back to the studio where another group can “break it down” for us. Did I leave out the female sideline reporters who spend the entire game waiting to ask a harried coach one or two insipid questions. It usually goes something like,”Coach, your team gave up a lot of points in the first half, what do you need to do in the second half?” “Play better defense.” “Thanks coach, back to you in the booth.”

This is by no means a criticism of the young ladies on the field. They are simply doing a job they are hired to do. But who needs it? Who needs five guys on the field and another five in the studio decribing what you just saw with your own eyes. Besides, isn’t it time for the Black Eyed Peas to do another number?

travel-Tips

Keep this number with you or in your cell phone:

U. S. State Department Emergency Assistance 

202 501- 4444.

 

Many airports and train stations now have water stations with purified water. Carry a light plastic water bottle with you to save money and stay hydrated.

 

Airlines have recently reported making billions from their ever-increasing baggage fees. Domestic flights are strict and foreign carriers weigh your carry-ons and have a zero tolerance overage policy. I would never advise anyone to cheat an airline, but you are certainly allowed to wear a coat, and on a recent trip to Europe, I was surprised at how many pairs of underwear, socks, and other necessities fit into the large pockets of my coat.

Thank You

In my last blog I wrote about my wife Trisha’s birthday. Thank you to all those who sent her a greeting. She had a great day and is just as beautiful as the day I met her.

Trisha Parker

Trisha Parker

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http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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Trisha and John Parker

 

Tips For Seniors Traveling Abroad

Having recently returned from an incredible travel adventure to Italy and France, I thought it might be beneficial to share a few travel tips for those considering such a trip.

1. If you plan on driving while in a foreign country, make sure you check in with your insurance agent. In most cases they will advise you to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company in the country you are visiting. This is important because when renting a car in the U. S., if your coverage is like mine, the rental car’s coverage is typically not necessary.

2. When possible, book a hotel in the middle of the cities you want to visit. Most foreign countries have rapid transit much better than ours and you can travel easily through most of them. Often, the entire country is connected by efficient rail systems. On our recent trip to Italy, we became very familiar with the Milan train station as we traveled through it several times. Of course, the way most foreign cities have been centrally designed, once there, you can walk to most of your destinations.

3. Because we are all connected to our smart phones, don’t feel you have to get expensive extended coverage while abroad. Most hotels, restaurants, coffee houses, etc., have free Wifi. To stay in communication back home, we simply sign up for a $10 universal texting plan. It gives you peace of mind in case you need to contact a family member or friend. Otherwise, forget you have a phone and enjoy your trip.

4. As a senior, there is a registration program the U. S. government offers that will also provide an extra sense of security while abroad. Here is the link for registration. This will give your family members an extra way to communicate with you in case of emergency. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

5. Take your personal safety and security seriously. In most countries you will visit, you probably won’t have to worry about major crime. The fact is, petty crime such as pick pockets, etc., exists in all cities. Keep your passport, credit cards, cash, travel tickets, and I.D. in a hidden travel belt. I have always resisted this suggestion, but during our long recent trip, I decided to wear one and found it quite convenient.

6. If you have any other questions about your health and safety in a country you plan to visit, here are two more links that will keep you informed:

Current Travel Warnings and Current Travel Alerts

Bon Voyage

 

Travel Suggestion

If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit right here in the good old U.S.A., I suggest you think about southern Arizona. Having made several visits to this part of the country in the last few years, my wife and I have come to love the area.

Southern Arizona has so many fascinating places to visit, I’m not sure any one person could visit them all. We try to take in one or two each time which gives us plenty of reasons to return. Here are just a few of the places we have recently enjoyed. For more information simply click on the links.

Kartchner Caverns State Park 

Arizona State Parks: Kartchner Caverns: Home

 This is one of the newest and most interesting attractions in the U. S. It was discovered in 1974 by two explorers. Only revealed in 1988, the state of Arizona spent millions of dollars and opened it to the public in 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titan Missle Museum

Titan Missle Museum

My wife Trisha and I visited this location and took the guided tour a few weeks ago and it was fantastic. As seniors, we all remember the days of our nuclear standoff with Russia. The U. S. maintained many Titan Missle sites during those years and they were all manned 24/7 by the military. The sites were eventually destroyed, but this one was left in tact for historical purposes. It is the only publicly accessible site remaining from that era. There is a museum, gift shop, video room, and a guided tour for your enjoyment. I was surprised to see an actual Titan II Missle in the silo and our guide took us through a simulated launch. Quite breathtaking.!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tubac

Tubac Arizona > Southern AZ Artist Colony & Travel Destination

Here is an all-in-one place to visit. This historic Spanish settlement has become a true resort. You can find art gallaries, gift stores, wonderful food, golf, spas, and much more. Most of all, the relaxed and peaceful environment is worth the visit by itself. We love the beautiful hand painted pots and other crafts. On our last visit we purchased three more for our outdoor area. Quite beautiful and unique. Whatever your pleasure, you will find it here. Below is Trisha with good friend Susan at the main entrance.

 

Vitamin Warning

This one is for the guys. We live in an era in which people take lots of vitamins. I admit to taking them myself. Unfortunately, we often think more is better. A new study warns that taking too much Vitamin E can increase a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer. Because there are vitamin products out there with very high units of Vitamin E, men are being warned. The new research results were published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The multi-million dollar study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  As with any medical information, check with your doctor.

Grandkids

A long time ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, October was my special month. It is the month of my birth. The fact is, birthdays were never a big deal in my family. I mean, everyone has one, so what’s the big deal. Well, so far this October, four of our grandkids have had birthdays. It is my greatest gift and a wonderful blessing. Happy Birthday each and every one. 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Let me begin by saying I’m probably one of the most patriotic people you will ever meet. My father served in WWII and his father in WWI. I served four years in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam war. I also consider every first responder and all civilians who gave assistance on 9-11 to be true heroes. Additionally, I was and still am heart-sick for our country and everyone who suffered the loss of a loved one in the cowardly attack on innocent life. I didn’t, however, participate in the cultural and media-created grief-fest over the last month.

As a typical young man growing up in this country, I took my share of blows. As a skinny 7th grader, I was punched by the biggest 9th grader in school when I accidentally stepped on his foot. Pretty sure I broke some ribs but I never told anyone about it. Later on as a high school senior, I took out the catcher while scoring the winning run that gave my baseball team the league championship. Guess which one I choose to celebrate? What has happened to our culture when we create a spectacle to remember taking a horrible cheap shot from a bunch of lunatic fanatics? And why have we spent so much time building a monument to, lets face it, our biggest defense failure?

I can predict some of the answers. One would be we are doing this to honor the victims. Yes, I’m sure that’s part of it. But we won’t forget those people. They were the murder victims of heartless criminals. What I believe we should have done was build a new set of buildings twice as high on that site. What has happened to our can-do spirit in this country? We cry and moan over every mishap and wallow in collective grief. Remember when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident? For days the media brought us images of people around the world gathered in mass laying down flowers and crying. I felt bad for her and her family, but to be honest, I had never met her. I certainly didn’t break down or have a desire to gather with my neighbors to grieve. We all suffer the loss of loved ones. It’s the most difficult and emotional aspect of life. But if something happens to me on the highway, I sure don’t want my family to gather at the place of my demise and build a roadside memorial to visit each year.

When 9-11 occurred, I was so proud of our nation’s great resilience and defiance despite suffering such a horrifying attack. Now I feel we have been shown to be a nation of weak and powerless wimps, wallowing in a collective sea of pity and self indulgence. I truly honor those who lost their lives on 9-11, but seriously worry our culture has lost much of its grit and spirit.

North to Alaska 

 

Last week my wife Trisha and I, along with my mother Marty, sister Sharon , and good friends Madelynn and Juan, had the good fortune to explore the great state of Alaska. It was our third visit, and for those of you who have traveled to this scenic wonder, you already know its indescribable beauty. Fortunately for us, the weather proved to be just cold enough at the glaciers to meet expectations, offered a few brief showers in some locations, and provided the most glorious days even the locals and our ship’s crew described as the best weather they had ever seen. 

 If you’ve never been to Alaska, do yourself a favor and make plans to see one of the most spectacular places on earth. Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took on our plane, train, and ship travel adventure:

  

 

As a senior citizen, I pride myself on staying up with current affairs. However, when I travel, I seem to lose all curiosity concerning day-to-day news events. Having just returned from a long trip, I’m still trying to catch up. Haven’t heard much about that Bin Laden fellow lately. How’s our high-priced economic recovery working? Have there been any scandals involving politicians? Are our political parties working together on our behalf? I’m sure the world is still cruising along peacefully without my concerns and input.

The fact is, when traveling, it’s still necessary for most of us to be in touch with loved ones. Now that most of us have cell phones, or even new smart phones, there is a simple and inexpensive way to stay in touch. For a very small charge, most providers will add international coverage to your text messaging. This is really a good deal. You will still have the ability to make a voice call if you have an emergency, but you can send a generous number of text messages for a small fee. Mine was $10 for the entire month. Since you will be charged for each person you put on your message list, I recommend you designate one person back home to be your contact and ask them to forward your messages. By doing this, only one message will be counted against your allotment. Pictures will add an extra charge, so be selective in sending them in your texts. Of course, you can also get phone cards and/or special calling plans (I’ve tried them all), but this way has worked the best for me and was the most economical.

Fellows, if you are headed for tropical climates, I’ve got some very good advice for you. Since luggage space and weight are very important due to today’s airline charges, most sporting goods stores now carry a variety of  cargo pants that weigh next to nothing and are very versatile. Some of them even have zippers just above the knee and can turn into cargo shorts with a quick zip. Additionally, the new light-weight micro-fiber shirts can not be beaten for travel. They are as comfortable as wearing nothing at all, and can be found in a variety of colors and styles. One more find is the latest light-weight linen pants. Not only are they very light and comfortable, they have draw strings instead of belts. You can cruise through airport security with ease and don’t have to get unbuckled. While I don’t have a reputation for being a “clothes horse,” my wardrobe now has several of these items and our latest travel adventure was a breeze. I even bought a couple of the new light-weight linen sports coats that have become popular. My luggage weighed almost nothing and I had everything I needed.

Cruisers

For those of you going on a cruise, you probably already know that during your trip most cruise lines offer you the opportunity to make an advance deposit on a future cruise. This is a good deal and here’s why: The fee is small, usually $100. Should you decide to book another cruise, your deposit will allow you to make a reservation without sending an advance deposit which is typically one-half the cost of your entire cruise. In addition, you will typically get back at least the same amount of your deposit in ship-board credits which is like getting free money. Not only that, but your deposit can be returned to you at any time you decide you want it back. It’s a good deal.

A Few Pictures

Here are just of few of hundreds of pictures from our latest travel adventure. This was my mother’s first cruise and we were accompanied by good friends Lyn and Herb. In addition to the cruise itself, we had several tours, boat rides, train rides, zip lining, para-sailing, hiking, and lots of fun.

It’s me with my girls, Mom and Trisha; Trisha with our favorite entertainer and friend Maurizio; Herb and I entertaining on the ship; Mom, me, Herb and Lyn sailing around Aruba; Trisha and me preparing to zip line Costa Rica; our whole gang having a dinner aboard ship.