Tips on Preventing Lost Luggage

If you are taking a volunteer vacation, a family trip to Disneyland or a Mediterranean cruise, few things put a damper on events like lost luggage. Lost clothes, toiletries, medications and electronics can drastically impact plans and enjoyment. Aimee Robinson, writing for Express Newspapers shares some tips that will help your bags arrive at your destination at the same time you do.


Luggage: One simple passenger mistake makes lost luggage more likely – do you do this?

LUGGAGE going missing is a traveller' s worst nightmare, however, it seems there are some passenger mistakes that make this unfortunate scenario more likely. Are you guilty of doing this on your travels?

By AIMEE ROBINSON

Lost luggage is a nightmare for many travellers. While often this means passengers are left without their baggage for days at a time, causing chaos for holiday plans, a worst-case scenario can see their bags lost forever. It turns out that while airport and airline staff are sometimes at fault for this, there is also a chance that one simple mistake by passengers can be the reason their luggage goes missing.

The problem can arise long before passengers even get to the airport.

One travel expert revealed the small oversight, which they said is often why bags don' t make it onto the right aircraft.

On a post in Reddit, the expert explained: "Not a secret, just common sense; the reason some bags miss their flight or get misrouted is because passengers don’t remove old tags.

"It confuses handlers as well as the conveyor belt scanners. I see it happen all the time."

Bag tags are used by airline carriers to route luggage to its final destination.

A small tag is usually attached to the tag with a barcode and number, meanwhile, the passenger is given a stub with a matching barcode.

It is vital passenger' s keep this tag safe, it will come in extremely useful should the bag go missing.

Additionally, some airports still require the passenger to maintain their baggage tag stub as proof before being reunited with their luggage.

However, once a journey is completed it is advised customers strip their luggage of their used tag so as not to confuse future flights and risk losing their luggage for good.

While baggage handers are frequently told to double-check the dates on luggage tags, the fast-paced nature of the job means sometimes mistakes can be made.

In fact, the latest baggage report from SITA revealed that 22.7 million bags were lost or temporarily mislaid globally.

According to SITA, there are several common reasons why luggage goes missing such as ticketing errors, bag switches, airport or customs restrictions, failure to load the bag or security issues.

Luckily, a baggage handler also shared his top tips on how passengers can keep their luggage safe,

He said these tips are simply "common sense".

In order to ensure your bags stay together, even if they aren' t with you, the airport worker suggests making sure all of your bags are the same.

He says: "Get the same bag, same colour same everything.

"If you’re lucky they will stay together and come off the truck together, not only because the handlers will place them together because they look the same, but they stack better when they are the same size."

The baggage handlers also went on to offer a word of warning when it comes to packing.

"If your bag is over 55lbs, it’s gonna have a bad time.

"How annoyed do you get lifting your own bag into the back of the car, imagine having to do that 200 times, it gets frustrating and tiresome, and sometimes we just throw with very little care because they are too heavy to do carefully."

Other handy hacks include ensuring you have a sturdy bag-complete with a re-enforced handle and strong exterior, and filling out the attached name card that comes with many suitcases.

Of course, there are some situations when lost luggage simply can' t be helped.

An expert from Staysure, a travel insurance provider, spoke to Express.co.uk to offer advice on what to do if passengers find themselves in this situation.

Julian Kearney, CEO of Staysure, says the best thing to do is "keep hold of any airline or any other ticket that confirms your travel arrangements".

He added: "In most instances, luggage is reported missing whilst under the supervision of airlines and there is nothing that travellers can do to prevent their luggage going missing whilst in their care.

"In the unfortunate event of this happening, Staysure customers are advised to notify their airline straight away and register the loss by completing any necessary paperwork.

"This will be required in support of any claim made under their Staysure Travel Insurance Policy."

Express Newspapers

Travel safely

Safety is always paramount when considering a travel destination. There is a lot of turmoil in the world and minimizing exposure to violence, crime and public unrest – especially when travelling with children and loved ones – is very important. To help in trip planning, Lonely Planet has released its list of safe destinations.


The safest countries in the world for travel in 2020, according to a new report

The Nordic nations of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are some of the safest countries in the world to visit, according to a new report from security specialists at International SOS.

The organisation released its 11th annual Travel Risk Map, an interactive map which predicts the safest and most dangerous places to travel in 2020, as well as the biggest issues travellers will face. Countries were ranked in different risk categories: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme.

The Nordic nations were grouped in ‘insignificant’, along with Switzerland, Greenland and Slovenia. The US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of Europe were rated as having a “low” level of travel risk, in addition to Argentina, Japan, China and Namibia.

According to International SOS, criteria was based on “the current threat posed to travellers by political violence, social unrest, as well as violent and petty crime.” Other factors include transportation infrastructure, industrial relations, the effectiveness of security and emergency services and susceptibility to natural disasters.

Those ranked as having a “medium” risk level include Russia, India, South Africa, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mozambique, Brazil and Indonesia.

Aerial view of Rio De Janeiro. Corcovado mountain with statue of Christ the Redeemer, urban areas of Botafogo, Flamengo and Centro, Sugarloaf mountain.

The International SOS report ranked Brazil as “medium” risk ©microgen/Getty Images

The report considers Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan to be “extreme” risk countries due to ongoing conflicts, while Mexico has a mixed rating. The states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are considered “high” risk, while the rest of the country is deemed “moderate”. India, Egypt and Madagascar also have mixed ratings.

For the full report, see here. If you have any health or security concerns about a country you’re planning to visit, it’s always best to check your government’s travel advisory reports.

Lonely Planet

Life-changing Volunteer Vacations

For many people, family vacations create the longest lasting, happiest memories that are carried and shared for a lifetime. A family volunteer vacation has the added element of a new country, community and culture and changing personal outlooks as families give back while receiving a profound, eye-opening experience. Here is a fantastic article in a recent edition of Chesapeake Family Life


Volunteer Vacations that Give Back

November 1, 2019

Taking a family vacation can be a great way for families to relax and reconnect. But what if your family wants a more meaningful experience than the annual trip to the beach or a theme park? Enter volunteer vacations, a popular alternative to the traditional vacation that allows families to give back while also getting away.

Volunteer vacations have been on the rise for the past decade, and volunteer tourism or "voluntourism" is now an almost 200-billion dollar industry. It' s a trend that continues to grow as more families search for ways to make a concrete impact on the world around them.

"I think more people are seeking this kind of vacation because they have a personal desire to connect with a cause they support," says Kimberly Haley-Coleman, Executive Director of Globe Aware, a nonprofit organization that pairs families with volunteer vacation experiences. "We are living in such a digital world that it can be hard for kids to gain perspective on the world around them, and parents want to give their children the experience of making a difference in a direct way."

Many organizations, like Globe Aware, Discover Corps, and Together for Good, are helping plan vacations that directly impact a community in need. Globe Aware' s popular Cambodia trips have families build wheelchairs for land mine victims, while its Guatemala trips focus on a local mountain community where families help improve housing and plant vegetable gardens for single mothers.

Though many volunteer vacations focus on global experiences, travelers can also make a difference closer to home, like the trips offered by the American Hiking Society during which participants repair trails at national parks.

Volunteer vacations also take the hassle out of planning, as trips are completely planned by the organization and almost always include housing, food and real-time training. "A volunteer vacation takes the legwork out of planning and it' s a great way to vacation while doing good and working toward a common goal," says Libby Wile, Senior Director of Programs at the American Hiking Society.

While volunteer vacations are aimed at making a difference for others, the experience is just as impactful for those doing the work. "When a family experiences this type of vacation, the effects can be felt long after the trip is over," says Haley-Coleman. "It can give kids a sense of appreciation for what really matters, and it can be empowering for them to know that they' ve truly made a difference."

Read on for five volunteer vacations that offer a variety of experiences from exotic travel to far-off locales, to one-day Caribbean opportunities, to nature-based trips closer to home.

Globe Aware
For almost twenty years, Globe Aware has been connecting families with volunteer opportunities around the world. With 20 international locations, Globe Aware offers a variety of experiences for families who want to make a difference. Travel to Thailand and work with endangered elephants or help rebuild in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico. Globe Aware' s planned trips last one week and include food, accommodations, medical insurance and bilingual translators. Additionally, Globe Aware also offers customized experiences that can be added on to existing vacations.
globeaware.org

Chesapeake Family Life

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Changes to Cuba-U.S. Flight Rules

The current U.S. administration announced Oct. 25, 2019  that all flights to Cuba would be stopped to any city other than Havana. Globe Aware’s volunteer vacation programs are based in Havana and will continue to function.

Washington Post

Social media a key motivator for Gen Z Travelers

Determing the next great trip and adventure can be a challenge: finite money and time must vet seemingly infinite travel opportunities. Generation Z travelers are turning to social media to help them in their due diligence, finding the next-best-destination, trend and activity. Allie Jones in a recent article for Conde Nast Traveler examined the trends and motivators sending the newest generation of travelers around the world.


Gen Z Are Starting to Travel' And Instagram and YouTube Determine Where They Go

By ALLIE JONES
July 29, 2019

Experts differ on the exact confines of America' s newest generation, Gen Z, but for the purposes of this article, let' s say that it includes anyone born after the year 1995. That means that Gen Z' s oldest members are now in their late teens and early twenties' the time of life when, if you' re lucky, you get to start traveling on your own.

Like many of her peers, 18-year-old influencer Kayla Kosuga has documented her early travels on social media. Kosuga, a recent high-school graduate, has 550,000 subscribers on YouTube, where she' s posted videos about her "morning routine," her boyfriend, "being grounded," and other relatable aspects of teen life for the last two years. Last year, she recorded a vlog during a family trip to Washington, D.C.' the classic boring educational vacation. But this year, she informed her followers she was striking out on her own in a video titled "TRAVELING WITHOUT MY PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME." (She went to Beautycon, an influencer conference, in New York City.) Later, she traveled to Bali with her boyfriend and documented the trip on YouTube and Instagram, where she has 162,000 followers.

According to Jonah Stillman, a 20-year-old expert on his generation, this documentation is a crucial part of how Gen Z travels, whether they have hundreds of thousands of followers or not. "We really are the first native generation to a world with iPhones, smart tablets, smart watches, all these different things," he says. Stillman runs the consultancy GenZGuru with his father, David Stillman, a Gen Xer, and they advise companies like the NFL and Deloitte on how to reach young consumers. "Social media plays into, not only travel, but almost every aspect of life" for Gen Z, Stillman says. "Gen Z pretty much goes through every decision they make, every activity they do, every trip they take, with the lens of: how can I create a permanent moment using social media? Whether that be taking an Instagram photo, or creating a travel blog, or posting day to day updates on my Snapchat story."

Riley Taylor, a 20-year-old photographer who often shoots Gen Z travel influencers at music festivals like Coachella and popular European destinations like Venice, confirmed that social media is one of the first things he thinks about when booking a trip. He typically works with models like Eva Gutowski, 24, an influencer who parlayed teen YouTube stardom into a travel-influencing career, creating glowy, dreamlike images that, he says, are extremely popular with his peers. "One of the things I love about social media is that you can kind of see the places that other people have been to and curate the way that you would want to visit these places and what you want to do," he says. "I often use the saved section of Instagram and will save a bunch of inspiration photos for a certain place that I want to go to. That kind of helps me figure out where I want to go and what I want to do there and make sure that I take photos of."

“GEN Z PRETTY MUCH GOES THROUGH EVERY DECISION THEY MAKE WITH THE LENS OF: HOW CAN I CREATE A PERMANENT MOMENT USING SOCIAL MEDIA?”

Taylor said that Instagram is currently the most influential platform among his peers, followed closely by YouTube. There are thousands of travel influencers on these platforms who make a living visiting far-flung destinations, often at the behest of hotel, airline, and fashion brands, he adds. And many of them are just barely out of school, like Taylor' s friend Gutowski, who has 6.8 million followers on Instagram and recently posted photos from Tokyo, New York City, Death Valley, and Disneyland. (Disneyland remains a very popular Gen Z destination, perhaps because the park encourages visitors to take as many photos as possible.)

According to Stillman, influencers like Gutowski have essentially replaced old-school travel agents and formalized review sites for Gen Z travelers. "What we have seen specifically with travel, picking travel destinations is pretty much the end of the era of experts as we know it," he says. "We’re not going to big travel agencies or companies to get recommendations of where we are going. It’s really peer-to-peer reviews, and you see that in almost all aspects."

Taylor concurs. Usually he picks places to travel "by word of mouth, or if I see somebody I trust and look up to on social media [who has] been there, then that would definitely be a deciding factor," he says. He adds that social media influencers have been his primary motivation when it comes to planning trips for himself' and its clear that Instagram and YouTube have made travel feel more accessible than ever before to Taylor and his peers. "From a young age, I really did want to travel and I was always so scared and didn’t think that it would actually happen,” he says. “But from watching so many people on Instagram and YouTube and different social media platforms go to these places and see that it’s not a big deal, I was kind of able to get over my traveling fears and start traveling."

And like many of his peers, Taylor has been savvy about getting certain trips paid for. Brands like the fashion company Revolve have invited him to Coachella to take photos of other influencers, who in turn promote the festival to the general public. (Taylor himself has 128,000 followers on Instagram.) Stillman says that music festivals are a common first trip for his peers to take away from their parents. "I think that Gen Z has really brought back what maybe the traditionalists remember in their age of Woodstock' we have our modern-day versions," he says. "You see on social media that Gen Zers flock to these different events, whether it be Lollapalooza, Coachella, Country Fest, all these different things, because it’s the best of both worlds. You’re vacationing, you’re with friends, you’re in a very unique environment."

Overall, Stillman says that Gen Z travelers are price-conscious and more likely to spend money on travel and experiences than pretty much anything else. "Growing up in the midst of the 2009 recession and seeing the downfall of their parents’ money" contributes to this mindset, he says. "We are very price-conscious shoppers. Oftentimes, when you buy a premium item, or something nice, it creates buyers’ remorse. However, when you see my trip, or you buy a festival ticket or concert ticket, whatever it may be, you very rarely have remorse about a great experience with friends. You also get to create that memory on social media."

And that "memory" gets shared with many others, providing them a glimpse into influencers’ lives and allowing them to build up the confidence for their own first trips. When Kosuga posted "Traveling Without My Parents For the First Time" on YouTube, she was sharing the ups and downs of navigating everything from Beautycon to Times Square (fan encounters included). The travelogue garnered over 300,000 views' and is one of her best-performing videos to date.

Conde Nast Traveller

Volunteer Programs Helping Companies Connect Globally

Corporations of all sizes have international suppliers, manufactures, agents and customers. Learning about the countries, communities and people is important in understanding how best to manage these business relationships.Kimberly Haley-Coleman of Globe Aware has decades of experience leading groups around the world on short-term volunteer experiences and creating and managing volunteer abroad solutions for groups and companies of every size.


Managing Risk and Reward When Volunteering Abroad

Nearly every public company in the world, and an increasing number of smaller companies, have some level of international engagement linked to their core business. It’s part of the globally connected present. Industries ranging from medical, tech, import-export, energy, and finance to agriculture, production, construction, manufacturing, marketing, executive and risk management need to be alert to how geopolitical events could affect their people, product and profit.

IMG 20190507 WA0006At Stratfor, we believe success in working internationally can be developed with the application of geopolitical know-how: understanding the implications of historical, social and cultural mores, business practices, geography, politics and infrastructure of the countries where you choose to do business.

Tracking and managing those geopolitical risks can be nearly unmanageable for smaller companies, unless they have strategies and partnerships in place to complement what they can do themselves.

Kimberly Haley-Coleman has firsthand knowledge of what’s at stake. She is founder and Executive Director of Globe Aware, a non-profit company that develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments. The company’s goal is to provide an immersive volunteer experience for busy professionals who want to make a difference in a short amount of time doing projects that are actually requested by the communities they serve. Ventures in giving range across continents, from Southeast Asia to South America to Eurasia and beyond. Globe Aware works with communities on projects they identify and volunteers in both service work and learning more about the people with whom they are working. Globe Aware links volunteers with ventures and people all over the world.

I’ll say it’s sort of a mini-Peace Corps experience. While the typical Peace Corps experience is a 2 1/2 year commitment, this is a one week intensive immersion.

Globe Aware volunteers immerse themselves in service and in a community. Projects range from building schools in the Andes to building irrigation projects in Southeast Asia to teaching students in Guatemala to working at an animal rescue in Costa Rica or preserving elephant habitat in Thailand.

“I’ll say it’s sort of a mini-Peace Corps experience,” Haley-Coleman explained. “While the typical Peace Corps experience is a 2 1/2 year commitment, this is a one-week intensive immersion. It’s similar in the sense that you’re giving back to the community, side-by-side with locals, as equals, on some project that they’ve chosen, that’s important to them, that will hopefully make a really big impact in a short period of time.”

Prior to launching Globe Aware, Haley-Coleman led a distinguished career in a broad number of private sector fields tied together by a central theme: helping internationally-focused businesses succeed. As both a for-profit and non-profit leader, Haley-Coleman has a deep appreciation for the value of global awareness.

She told Stratfor that when she decided to launch her company, it became apparent on where she should focus in providing a potentially life-changing experience: awareness and mitigation of risk, and the need to understand at a deeper level the place where you are working.

First and foremost, while we’re looking for communities that have need, we also want them to be communities that are culturally expansive… It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily in the communities of the greatest need, we have been asked to have programs and places like Somalia, Darfur, Afghanistan, Syria, and in terms of risk and liability we just aren’t in a position to go into war-torn countries… We really have to watch in terms of safety where were putting our volunteers, and then the projects we work on have quite a few criteria. We’re not operating heavy equipment and machinery, we’re not high on ladders, we’re not Doctors Without Borders, so we are not handling bodily fluids and things like that.

But confounding and complicating efforts is a continually shifting menu of issues that face most developing regions. These changes can be disruptive to people and business as well as potentially dangerous. Or they can be rich in opportunity, if you are knowledgeable and poised to take advantage of change. Haley-Coleman said:

We are very actively monitoring the state department sheets that come from Canada, the U.S. and England. They do a pretty good job of any even minor possible situations, such as an expected protest or strike. Then we also monitor the CDC… alerts relating to health and things like dengue fever, Ebola, Zika. This is another thing that’s always changing. Avian influenza and H1N1, when those things came out they really impact who’s willing to go where, and who’s allowed on a plane and what is deemed safe or not. However, we also are staffed locally by people who are based there looking at that situation. Those can change too. For example, in Puerto Rico it’s not just about, “Hey is there a hurricane coming, is there a protest, is there a war?” It’s also, “Can we get the materials right now to even put roofs on houses, given how difficult it is to get donations delivered in Puerto Rico?”

The rapid pace of change from one project to the next and from one country to the next takes careful pre-planning and close attention during trips. There are always challenges to managing multiple projects across multiple continents from the home office to the field: including, sometimes, evolving in-country laws and even some level of corruption. Haley-Coleman says she enjoys navigating it all.

If materials are expected and needed at a particular location, the idea is all the materials are there before the volunteers get there. Well, there have been times when we’ve been asked for bribes to get materials there on time.

These are the kinds of things that are always changing so this is an area where it is helpful to have somebody who is notifying our volunteers of what’s going on, what to expect, how much to pay for this or for that, where to get the best value for your money in terms of bringing money into a country. Because that’s changed too, there was a time when travelers checks were the primary safe currency, and I would never tell anyone to do that now… While we have seen, in terms of bribes, where we’re more likely to encounter that, the volunteer, it might be invisible to the volunteer. For example, if materials are expected and needed at a particular location, the idea is all the materials are there before the volunteers get there. Well there have been times when we’ve been asked for bribes to get materials there on time.

Haley-Coleman loves what she does, and enjoys the challenges presented by constant change and the constant need to stay updated. But those challenges have also become central to most businesses in the digital age. The same skills needed to juggle projects and secure the safety of supplies and people are critical elements for success ' whether your business is local, national or global in scope.

Stratfor Enterprises

Volunteer travel to Lake Peten Itza, El Remate, Guatemala

A family' s tradition of sending grandchildren, once they reach the age of 16, on trips to introduce them to different cultures and people and around the world continues. Here is a travelogue entry by Zeth to Guatemala with Globe Aware. Previous grandkids selected volunteer work in the Andes mountains of Peru, with the Roma people of Romania and in a small rural village in the West African country of Ghana.

Day One: Lake Peten Itza, El Remate, Guatemala

IMG 9987Moments like yesterday are why I' m a travel junkie. The guys still asleep, I took an early walk along a small road where we' re staying. What a treat! No city noise, only the idyllic sounds of nature: tropical birds unlike we hear at home … the occasional cry of a monkey, perhaps chiding her youngster … insects buzzing … and the crunch of my footsteps along the gravel-dirt road.

After a while a small older man walked in my direction, and I offered my best "Buenos dias, senor." He offered me a mostly toothless smile and gently reached out toward me " but not his right hand, as if to shake hands, his left hand. He held onto my hand and we had this wonderful nodding and eye-to-eye exchange while he said something I couldn' t understand. Had he been an American in the U.S., I would have likely averted my eyes and pulled back thinking, "Why is he still holding onto my hand?" But he just continued to smile with old soul eyes and, as we parted, he blew me a kiss! For me travel is less about the big Eiffel Tower/Pyramids/Vatican imagery, and more these small, magical moments when we have real human contact with people we would otherwise never encounter. Blissful!

Day One was mostly orientation and a few hours of R&R. Globe Aware’s local organization is Project Ix-Canaan, founded by Canadian Anne Lossing who came to Guatemala 20+ years ago toward the end of Guatemala' s long civil war. She wanted to empower the local Mayan community to protect their own rain forests, and identified the community first needed health, education and opportunity.

Over the years she and her Guatemalan husband, a doctor, have established a medical clinic and a dental clinic (at left) which is staffed largely by visiting clinicians from the U.S. and other places. (No patients on the weekend, so it was empty.)

They also have established an after-school youth development center and a women' s center, each of which we toured today.

We also visited a school where we' ll be teaching later in the week, and Anne pointed out shards of pottery on the ground " at least hundreds but easily 1,000 or more years old " that can be found in several places in this region called Peten. The Mayans believed that vessels had a kind of spirit and they would break most of their pots during sacrifices or in burials, and also every 40 years to start a new beginning.

Self

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Volunteer travel experience in Peru with Globe Aware

A Fresno State lacrosse player shares her eye-opening volunteer travel experience in Peru and living with and learning from the Cuzco community. Enjoy!


 

Two weeks in Peru with Lauren Kiszely

7/24/2019 12:00:00 PM | By: Savannah Stoeckle / Communications Assistant

FRESNO, Calif. – For many college students summer vacation is a prime opportunity to visit with family and friends, go on vacation, attend concerts, make memories and escape from the books and mile high piles of lecture notes.

 

For Fresno State lacrosse junior attacker Lauren Kiszely, summer began with an experience that not many people get the chance to have. The Robbinsville, N.J. native kicked off summer 2019 with an eye-opening two-week volunteer trip to Cuzco, Peru.

 

Kiszely was approached with the idea by a pair of former high school lacrosse teammates who had done the trips before. She was immediately interested and began to pack her bags for the trip.

 

The group traveled to South America with a nonprofit organization called Globe Aware. The organization’s ultimate goal for its trips is to encourage people to give back in unique ways. One of the key concepts of the volunteer trips is to understand the cultural differences in these countries and be able to recognize and appreciate the differences that these cultures bring, instead of trying to change them into something that they cannot become.

 

That is exactly what Kiszely learned.

 

“It was very humbling,” said Kiszely. “We learned a lot about how people live in these communities. It was a very gratifying experience that I will never forget. It made me appreciate everything that I have here at home.”

 

The way of life is different in Peru than it is for a Fresno State student-athlete in California. With a major culture shock, Kiszely learned quickly that things are not the same.

 

“They cook by burning stones and dirt, then they cook their food in the dirt,” added Kiszely. “They don’t use running water. They don’t have bathrooms. All of their clothes are hand-made. Many people use animals as a means of transportation. It was just so different.”

 

Globe Aware takes two week trips and sets the first week for volunteer work and the second for exploration of the country.

 

They stayed at a boarding school for the kids who lived in communities that did not have any kind of higher education. Kiszely and the other volunteers spent their time going around to the different schools around Cuzco and learning about their ways of life.

 

During the first week, Kiszely and her group worked on different projects in smaller villages such as building staircases, painting and sanding down supplies that were needed for larger projects. They also had the opportunity to help a family build a stove out of mud and straw.

 

Outside of the hands-on volunteer work, they also helped the local children to enhance their English speaking skills.

 

“At night, we hung out with the kids and taught them English through different games and activities,” explained Kiszely. “We also helped them with their homework and we were almost like tutors for them.”

 

In the second week, Kiszely was able to explore Peru with her group and see the beauty that the ancient sites had to offer. The junior Bulldog had the opportunity to climb Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu, visit a small beach town called Paracas, and go sand boarding in the desert at the Huacachina Oasis. The group capped their trip with a stay at Peru’s capital city, Lima, before heading home.

 

In a big, yet small world, Kiszely got the chance to meet up with Fresno State lacrosse senior goalkeeper Laurel Maunder while in the foreign country. Maunder got the chance to study abroad in Peru at the beginning of the summer.

After living in Peru for two weeks, it is safe to say that Kiszely has a new outlook on life and the things that a lot of people often take for granted. Our lives, whether they are in a rural society or in a more advanced one, need to be valued deeply.

 

“I would 100 percent do it again,” said Kiszely. “I am already looking to do another one next summer. I highly recommend that if given the opportunity, everyone should go and experience how other countries live their daily lives and see how different the culture is.”

 

“Fresno State Athletics: The Pride of the Valley” – The Bulldog Foundation creates championship experiences for Fresno State student-athletes as they strive for excellence in the classroom, in competition, and in life. To become a BDF member, please call 559-278-7160.

Fresno State Athletics: The Pride of the Valley

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Travel Anxiety: Survival Tips to Enjoy Your Trip

Use these strategies to calm your mind as a traveler with anxiety.

By Elaine K. Howley, Contributor
This article is based on reporting that features expert sources including Indra Cidambi, MD; Moe Gelbart, PhD; Sanam Hafeez, PsyD

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in America, affecting about 40 million people, or more than 10% of the population, according to figures from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety can occur in any number of settings " day-to-day worries and generalized anxiety disorder are common. But it can also result from more specific, short-term reasons, such as getting ready for a big trip.

As with other types of anxiety, "when we talk about travel anxiety, it' s important to understand that it' s real,” says Dr. Indra Cidambi, the medical director at the Center for Network Therapy, who' s double board-certified in general psychiatry and addiction medicine. Learn how to implement the following tips into your travel prep plans.

Tips to Ease Travel Anxiety

  • Acknowledge your anxiety.
  • Learn more.
  • Make a plan.
  • Write a list.
  • Bring light, inflight distractions.
  • Avoid coffee and other stimulants.
  • Carry a paper lunch bag.
  • Chew on ice cubes.
  • Splash your face with cold water.
  • Eat Ayurvedic spices.
  • Download a relaxation app.
  • Try cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Consider hypnotherapy.
  • Discuss medications with your doctor.

Although "most travel is elective and designed to be fun and good, there' s a host of A to Z potential stressors" you' ll encounter along the way, says Moe Gelbart, a psychologist in private practice and founder of the Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California. "Even though you' re going somewhere fun, you' re going to the airport. You' re leaving your home and pets," and there' s many niggling, maybe irrational fears that can crop up, such as "the fear that your washing machine is going to break and flood the house," he says.

These natural concerns can be compounded by where you' re headed. "The father you go from home and the harder it is to get back, the more potential stressors you may experience," Gelbart says. For example, if you' re leaving a sick relative at home, worries over whether or not they' ll be OK while you' re gone are natural and commonplace. "Leaving our normal, familiar routine and walking into the unknown brings with it a whole set of concerns and problems.”

If you' ve ever experienced such anxiety or fears before a trip, you' re not alone. As many as 25% of travelers may feel anxiety before leaving home, says Sanam Hafeez, a psychologist and faculty member at the Columbia University Teacher' s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Given that travel industry trade group Airlines for America projects that 257.4 million travelers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines in summer 2019, that means there' s clearly a lot of anxious people wandering around in our airports and other travel hubs.

What Causes Travel Anxiety?

So many different factors can contribute to feelings of anxiety prior to a trip. From a fear of flying to being anxious about leaving behind work or loved ones, there' s a lot of ways our brains can tell us maybe we shouldn' t get on that train, plane, bus or cruise ship. When flying, many people cite getting checked in and going through security at the airport as a major source of anxiety, and "40% of the people who travel also get anxious because of take-offs and landings," Cidambi says. Concerns surrounding clearing customs and immigration when traveling to a foreign country are also a common source of anxiety. Worries about baggage " whether it will meet weight and size restrictions and turn up at the final destination if checked " can also cause stress.

People with underlying anxiety disorders are at higher risk of developing travel anxiety. If you' re anxious to start with, adding the very real concerns of the unexpected problems that inevitably crop up while traveling can make for an upsetting and potentially debilitating situation.

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety While Traveling

Though travel anxiety can upset even the most well-traveled among us, there are some ways to help tame this potential problem and get back to enjoying your trip.

Acknowledge the anxiety. Gelbart says simply noticing that you' re feeling anxious can force you to pause and think about the situation a little more. "Allow yourself to feel it and own that feeling. Then, remind yourself that the things you' re worried about are, for the most part, not going to occur. And if they do, you' ll be able to handle it."

Learn more. Hafeez says that many fears are grounded in a lack of understanding or misconceptions. For example, if you have a fear of flying, it could be because you don’t know as much about how it works as other modes of transport. “Flying is statistically the safest form of transportation, but is far more mysterious to most than driving a car,” she says. But educating yourself about what to expect may “help to ease your fear and take some of your power back.”

Make a plan. Rather than endlessly worrying, identify which potential issue is most concerning or most likely to occur and consider how you' d solve that problem, Gelbart says. "Control the things you can control" by making contingency plans.

Write it down. For some people, something as simple as making a long list of everything that needs to be completed or packed before take-off can go a long way toward easing anxiety. Spend a few minutes brainstorming everything, then prioritize the list. As you complete a task, physically cross it off the list. Being able to see tangible progress against what can sometimes seem like an overwhelming list of things to do may help alleviate the anxiety of forgetting something.

Pack your tools. Hafeez recommends bringing an inflight distraction toolkit to keep your mind occupied. "In your carry-on, pack crossword puzzles or coloring books, download books or movies that are light. Do not watch or read anything that includes topics of murder, terrorists, plane crashes, fires, death, or anything that can trigger fear. Anything you are reading, listening to or watching should conjure pleasant thoughts. Distraction is key to staying out of fear/panic."

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes. Caffeine can heighten the jittery feelings that often occur when you' re feeling anxious. Alcohol can blunt your senses. So even if it might feel like it' s helping, it can slow cognition and dehydrate you " both situations you want to avoid when traveling.

Carry a brown paper bag. Those lunch sacks from your school days can also serve an important purpose in calming you down in a hurry if you start having a panic attack, Cidambi says. "Sit down and cover the nose and the mouth like an oxygen mask and start counting backwards from 100," while breathing as slowly and deeply as you can. During a panic attack, breathing becomes shallow, out of the chest. "We need to breathe from the abdominal muscles," to get a full exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen in the lungs. But so-called belly breathing requires deeper breaths than what most of us can manage in the throes of a panic attack. Breathing into a paper bag can help restore deeper, slower belly breathing, and counting backwards acts as a distraction that can further induce calm because it requires you to focus on something other than the panic you' re feeling. In addition, breathing in air you' ve already expelled into the bag will increase levels of carbon dioxide in the body. This helps reverse the effects of hyperventilation and restores the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.

Chew on some ice cubes. If the paper bag trick isn' t convenient, Cidambi recommends biting on an ice cube to help focus your energy and give you a means of releasing tension.

Splash cold water on your face. A classic way of calming yourself in the midst of a panic attack is to splash your face with cold water. Research has shown that immersing the face in cold water stimulates the vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic system. This system controls aspects of breathing and heart rate, and when the body senses cold water on the face, it reduces your heart rate and speed of breathing significantly in anticipation of being underwater and unable to access air.

Eat well. Cidambi adds that in Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative form of treatment that has its roots in ancient Indian teachings about the connection between the mind and body, cinnamon, ginger and cumin are thought to help calm your nerves. Though she says more research is needed to fully understand whether adding spices such as cinnamon to the diet can make a difference in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, it has its backers and few side effects. Using diet to control anxiety takes longer than popping a pill, but it might be a better option. "Going for a quick fix or leaning on a pill, that' s not the way to go," she says. Instead, take care of yourself for the long term by making sure you' re getting adequate rest and eating right in the days and weeks leading up to a big journey.

Download a relaxation app. Even just a few minutes of relaxation or meditation can help bring down your heart rate and blood pressure and quell anxiety. There are many apps available that can help with relaxation, "and when it' s right at the tips of your fingers in your cell phone, you can use it when you' re feeling nervous or anxious." Calming yourself is a skill that can be learned.

Seek cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is a term used to describe talk therapy, and it can have a powerful effect on how you react to stressful situations. Though it' s definitely not a quick fix, CBT can help you reframe how you think about traveling, and make you more able to cope with the unexpected problems you' ll face on the road by providing you with healthy coping mechanisms. "If you change your thoughts, you can change your response and behavior," Hafeez says.

Consider undergoing hypnotherapy. If you' re really fearful, consider attending a fear of flying clinic or undergoing hypnotherapy, Hafeez says. These intensive strategies can help you cope with your phobia. "To conquer your fear, you must address it. Hypnosis finds out what triggers that fear in your subconscious. Over time, a hypnotist helps to reprogram the mind so that you are no longer afraid. Your mind relearns positive truths about flying. As a result, you can escape from your long-held fear."

Ask your doctor about medications. When all other non-pharmacological approaches have failed, it may be time to consider getting a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication. Hafeez says a group of drugs called benzodiazepines, which include clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan), "work very quickly to calm intense anxiety or panic." However, "these medications are habit-forming, so it is best to use them only in extreme situations of panic when you are faced with a phobic situation. And remember not to mix them with alcohol." Gelbart says he' s seen some patients who never actually use the medication; they' re simply comforted by the fact that there' s a pill in their pocket if they really need it.

U.S. News & World Report

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Volunteer Travel to Vietnam: Promoting a green message with recycled treasures

by Huyền Phương & Lê Hương
July, 11/2019

Driftwood, broken fishing nets or flip-flops may be rubbish to many people, but through the skilful hands of Hồ Công Thắng, who resides in An Bàng Village in Hội An, this detritus is transformed into unique objects.

When he was younger, Thắng realised he had a passion for turning rubbish into useful objects. He could spend hours working on his creations.

In 2016, he returned to Việt Nam after three years working in Japan as a shipbuilder. He chose Hội An to settle down as he thought the tourism destination would be a good market for handmade souvenirs.

He soon opened a shop named Art Garden Décor, offering decorative items made from rubbish and recycled materials.

His workshop is filled with old light bulbs, bottles, jars, boxes and bits of household appliances.

The old bottles can be painted and used as plant pots, while old wooden doors have been carved into decorative fish.

Sometimes, customers suggest ideas for his latest product.

The craftsman has sold thousands of wooden fish over the last two years, proving the popularity of his designs.

Yet each product takes many hours to design by hand.

"Though I make many products according to the same design, each item has unique details," he told Quảng Nam newspaper.

"When it comes to decorative objects, industrial production lines kill creativity," he said.

"If we know how to use and recycle waste and create new objects, it will save our natural resources," he added.

His team of three to eight workers (depending on the number of orders), have tried their best to meet demand from localities like Bình Dương, Phan Rang, Nha Trang and HCM City.

He is planning to co-ordinate with a local protection centre to offer jobs to needy children and the elderly.

Thắng has also collaborated with various organisations to display products with environmental messages.

His Goby fish sculpture made of iron and netting is being exhibited at An Bàng Beach as part of an initiative by the Globe Aware group, which includes foreign volunteers living in and visiting the coastal town.

He also helped the group make a " Blessing Box' near An Bàng Beach so people can leave things they no longer need for others to take.

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GIVE AND TAKE: A foreign visitor by the " Blessing Box' on An Bàng Beach – photo.

“Later this month, we’ll make another Goby fish trash bin to place at nearby Cá»­a Đại Beach and another give-and-take wardrobe,” Thắng told Việt Nam News.

“I think that he is very talented and thinks outside the box,” said Francesca Supple, a tourist from California who is part of the Globe Aware team in Há»™i An.

“His work is so unique and looks nothing like what we see in the United States,” she said. “I wish there were more young artists like him in the US.”

Nachesa Supple, Francesca’s daughter, said his work was both beautiful and functional because it made a positive impact on the community.

“I love how enthusiastic he is about making public sculptures to raise people' s awareness of the environment,” she said. “He is spreading a very powerful message and helps people realise how society can deeply impact nature.”

In May, Thắng’s team helped the Mekongaholics environmental group make a giant tortoise from recycled materials at Ông Beach on Cù Lao Chàm Island.

The sculpture was made from an old bamboo boat, fishing nets, plastic bottles and ropes collected on the beach.

The installation has attracted many tourists. It also won first prize at the Art of Recycle Awards hosted by the UNESCO Office in Việt Nam and the Coca-Cola Foundation.

“I like this sculpture and other small souvenirs Thắng designed,” said Nguyá»…n Thị Thắm, a local student, who also works voluntarily for the Globe Aware group.

“I help Thắng’s team do environmental and community projects,” she said. “He’s so friendly and warm. Foreign volunteers like him a lot.”

Thắm said he showed them how to make things in an artful and creative way. She also said his only drawback was that he didn’t speak much English, which hindered his capability to communicate with foreigners.

“Like other people living in Há»™i An, I recognise climate change has been caused by humans,” Thắng said. “I want to make a small contribution to raising people’s awareness of making the earth clean and improving the climate.” VNS

Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/sunday/522540/promoting-a-green-message-with-recycled-treasures.html#GviTpb3eW2ho9OfX.99

Self

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