Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy While You Travel

A vacation at any of Bluegreen Resorts’ destination properties across the United States, from Orlando to New York City to Las Vegas, can offer many opportunities for enjoyment for you and your family. However, if you own pets, you are probably concerned about the welfare and happiness of your animal companions while you are away. If you decide to hire a pet sitter, here are some key points to keep in mind:

Most cats, and many other animals, develop strong bonds to their homes, thus making care from an in-home pet sitter a good choice. This service can be expensive, but if you have multiple animals, it could be more cost-effective than boarding at a kennel. A professional pet sitter in your home may check on your pet anywhere from one to three times daily, or may even stay overnight to look after your pet. The typical charge for drop-in visits ranges from $15 to $50 per instance.

You will want to check the sitter’s certificate of insurance and make sure she is bonded, since this individual will have access not only to your pet, but also to the contents of your home. In addition, you should ensure that you’re hiring a sitter with the necessary, animal-focused, first-aid training to respond appropriately in an emergency.

Before you depart, invite a prospective sitter over so you can see how the sitter interacts with your pet. Check references and ask each client how the sitter got along with the client’s pet. Once you select a sitter, you should explain to them your pet’s medical needs and daily routines, exchange contact information, and leave your veterinarian’s phone number, including the emergency line, in a visible place. Additionally, you should teach the sitter how gates and locks operate, and how to know when something on your property is not as it should be. Inform your sitter how you would like him or her to enter and exit your home, and give the individual the necessary keys and instructions.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters provides a certificate course. You might find added peace of mind knowing that your potential pet sitter is a member.

Packing for Multiple Climates

If you plan to join Bluegreen Resorts for a winter trip to our Lincoln, New Hampshire, vacation destination at South Mountain Resort, and then immediately spend a week at Solara Surfside near Miami, you might have a problem figuring out what to pack. Multi-climate vacations require a multi-tasking wardrobe.

For women, simply changing a scarf or adding a piece of jewelry can completely transform an outfit. Aside from necessary items, like an insulated parka and ski clothes for New Hampshire and a swimsuit and cover-up for Florida, you can get by with surprisingly few items. Pack a versatile black dress, stretchy black pants, and an attractive wrap, and you should be able to go from casual to dressy with a simple switch of accessories. Throw in jeans or khakis and a few comfortable tees or tops for everyday wear.

Layering is the smart traveler’s secret to enjoying multiple locations. Let your wrap dress up your jeans and tee, and if you’d like, add a few wrinkle-free items in complementary colors you like so that you can mix and match. Choosing a color palette that fits in with all your destinations and pairing it with black or another neutral virtually guarantees that everything will go together.

Winter clothingIf you will be in winter weather, you already know you will be bringing snow boots, so go easy on the other shoes. Pick a classic pair of black sandals for dressy occasions and comfortable flats or sneakers for walking tours and traveling to and from your destinations.

For cold weather, skip the chunky sweaters and opt for wearing thermal silk underwear under your clothes. Men can select moisture-wicking shirts and button-ups instead of thick coats, and top them with an all-weather jacket or microfleece. Woolen socks and sturdy, all-purpose shoes are good choices for male multiple-destination travelers, as are lightweight, zip-off convertible pants.

Making a list will help keep you organized as you pack. It can also assist you in paring down what you bring to those items that you really need. Remember to bring packets of soap so you can hand-wash and reuse as many items as possible. In addition, you can always find a place to donate unneeded clothing before you leave one destination for another, or buy what you need on the road.

Car Trips with Kids – Activities to Keep Everyone Happy

With distinctive vacation accommodations in vibrant cities and charming small towns across the United States, Bluegreen Resorts can help families create long-lasting memories of togetherness. Visit Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, for an entertainment paradise that includes water parks, amusement rides, and plenty of miniature golf courses. Alternatively, you can try the famous theme parks in Orlando, Florida, or the high-speed roller coasters at Silver Dollar City in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. Whatever vacation destination you choose, you might decide get there via a family road trip.

Here are some tips to keep the peace in the car and increase the quality of the road-trip adventure for everyone:

Make travel time story time. Your local public library likely offers free downloads of audiobooks for your electronic devices, or you can choose some recorded books for the CD player. With CD books, unlike DVDs, the driver can enjoy the story, too. In addition, don’t forget the power of good, old-fashioned stories read aloud by a non-driving adult. An interactive story can also be fun, with everyone taking turns making up parts of a story.

Designate your kids as official vacation scribes. They can take pictures of interesting things and people they see, and make up stories to go with them. Give them journals in which they can record their memories and glue in ticket stubs, travel brochures, and small souvenirs. Another good idea is to bring along a cookie or baking sheet to use as a tabletop that will keep art supplies and toys from rolling off when you turn a curve. You can also add some magnetic letters and numbers to increase the fun.

Before the trip, visit Pinterest.com, where do-it-yourself enthusiasts have “pinned” graphics of “car bucks” and other printable rewards you can distribute to show appreciation for good behavior. Pinterest also offers numerous ideas for road-trip-friendly games and crafts, as well as diagrams showing how to assemble simple play kits with travel themes.

Other ways to keep kids occupied include seeing who can spot the most different state license plates and playing “I Spy” using sites outside your windows. If you are traveling at night, find some inexpensive glow-sticks or glow-in-the-dark bracelets that your kids can use as personal nightlights. For little artists, you can create a mini art kit by putting small colored pencils, stickers, and a pad of paper inside a DVD case, which can double as a mini writing desk. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Choosing Travel Insurance – A Primer

When traveling in the United States or abroad, you might wonder whether you need travel insurance. The answer is more complicated than you would expect, and varies for each individual’s or family’s circumstances.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when thinking about travel insurance:

In general, the higher your risk of becoming ill, encountering unpredictable situations, or experiencing significant financial loss due to an upset in plans, the more you need travel insurance of some kind. To consider two extremes, a healthy young adult traveling a conventional route on a shoestring budget and staying with friends will likely need less insurance than an older individual with a chronic health condition planning an expensive adventure trip will. Among the situations travel insurance can address are replacement of a passport, cancellation of a trip because of a health problem, and bankruptcy of a travel provider.

Check with your health insurance company to see if your existing policy covers medical problems that arise when you are outside the country—many do not. If you are on Medicare or participate in a national health insurance program, you probably do not have coverage outside your own country’s borders. Medical evacuation from some destinations can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and insurance to cover that possibility can be relatively inexpensive.

Travel protection insurance covers you if you must cancel prepaid travels. Sometimes, the repayment is only partial, but if you have purchased an expensive trip far in advance, the peace of mind will likely be worth the expenditure. Such policies typically reimburse you for events such as death or illness, an outbreak of violence in your home city or destination, and damage from a natural disaster that would make your destination hazardous. Your credit card company may also offer this type of insurance.

Insurance for lost or damaged baggage might also be available through your credit card provider, and airlines must reimburse you within certain limits.

Typically, companies sell travel insurance in package deals, so study the available options and determine whether you truly need all the types of protection in any particular package. There are ways to purchase travel insurance piece by piece on comparison-shopping websites, such as InsureMyTrip.com, although the savings may not be significant.

Staying Safe in the Woods – A Guide for Families

Bluegreen Resorts offers comfortable, affordable stays in dozens of vacation destinations across the United States, most of them with easy access to outdoor fun. Hiking, walking a nature trail, or camping overnight in the Ozark Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or the White Mountains of New Hampshire can bring the whole family closer together. In addition, remembering a few basic outdoor safety tips can give you the peace of mind to enjoy the experience even more.

Before heading for your adventure in the woods, make a checklist of the things you will need. These may include shelter and comfort items such as tents, sleeping bags, and blankets, as well as personal care products, water and food, and outdoor gear such as fishing tackle, flashlights, and cooking equipment.

Prepare your first-aid and healthcare supplies. The checklist for these will probably include prescription medications, salves for treating burns and blisters, a snakebite kit, antiseptic, gauze bandages, and tools such as scissors. Additionally, you will want preventive products such as insect repellent and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. Most physicians recommend protecting babies younger than 6 months with protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats rather than sunscreen. People of all ages should also protect themselves with sunglasses, hats, and clothing that covers arms and legs.

You will likely want to pack bottled water, because many bodies of water in the wilderness, even those that appear clean and pure, harbor parasites and bacteria. On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers information on water disinfection procedures for campers and hikers.

Pack food in water-resistant containers and store them in an insulated cooler. Remember to separate raw and prepared foods, wash hands and utensils thoroughly, and make sure meat is adequately cooked.

Circle your campfire with rocks or a metal device to keep it in bounds, and make sure no branches are overhead. Assign someone to watch the fire at all times, and extinguish it completely before you break camp. In addition, do not use portable stoves or heaters inside your shelter.

Be aware of which plants are poisonous and learn how to treat exposure. Do not approach wildlife. Stay on marked paths, make camp before it gets dark, and inform someone outside your group of where you plan to be and when.