Safety Tips for Staying in a Hotel

When vacationing, the last thing you want to do is worry or have to deal with anything other than a good time, but in order to have a fun time, you must make sure the place you are staying in is safe. For the time being, your hotel room will be your home base and place where you keep everything you are travelling with, so if it is in a city or country you are unfamiliar with, it is important that you feel secure there.

The first step to having a safe hotel stay is to do your research before booking a room. You should see if the city or country is going through any hardships or unusual changes that would make it unsafe for tourists. You should also check to see if there are certain regions or cities that are known to be safer than others in one area. Look to see what type of neighborhood the hotel you want is in: the difference between a busy city location and a residential neighborhood can affect the security measures taken within the hotel.

Statistically, the safest rooms to book in a hotel are the rooms on the third through sixth floors. Hotel rooms on the ground floor and those closest to those are the easiest to break into.

After you do book your room and when you first arrive at the hotel, make sure you have access to a reliable telephone- either a cell phone or a landline. It is a good idea to get the emergency number for the area you are in (from the front desk) in case anything does happen, it is unlikely you will need it, but it’s always better to be prepared. It is also a useful to have a calling card so you can keep your family or friends back home updated on your travels and let them know you are safe. Checking in with someone from home on a regular basis is smart because then they will know to worry or to help if something does happen to you.

During your stay, always remember to lock your door. When you go out for the day or night make sure your shades are covering your windows and lock your windows and door. It is also a good idea to leave a light on and to put your “Do Not Disturb” sign on your doorknob to give the allusion that someone is in the room, which will deter someone from thinking about breaking in.

Lastly, if someone does knock on your door at night, ask them who it is and use your peephole to see what they look like. If they claim to be someone from the hotel staff, it is ok to call the front desk to make sure the person was sent there for authorized hotel purposes. Never open the door for a stranger, especially at night and if you are travelling alone.

These tips are intended on keeping you safe during your stay in a foreign city or country. Safety is one of the most important factors when travelling, but remember: enjoy your time, whether you are there for business or pleasure, do not forget to go sight seeing and embrace the culture of the area that you are visiting. Be open to new experiences, but also trust your gut. If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable then leave, but if you are enjoying yourself then stay and have a good trip!

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Columbus Day Sale!


Take advantage of our Columbus Day Sale and enjoy 10% off all mobile app and calling card purchases/refills. Sale valid October 9 – October 16.

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New to Russia: Krispy Kreme

Americans know the delight of Krispy Kreme donuts – the sweet treats are quite popular in the States. However, Russian citizens likely have not had the chance to try the confections unless they visited the U.S. – until now. According to the Washington Post, the very first franchise of the American chain has finally come to the streets of Moscow.
Krispy Kreme’s newest outpost
Russian individuals who have used international calling cards to discuss cuisine in the U.S. have likely heard of Krispy Kreme donuts, which is famous for its light, airy and delicious donuts that are often served hot. Though the store didn’t open its doors until Thursday morning, a line had already begun to form nearly 24 hours in advance. This may be because the first customer would win free donuts for a year.

Sussana Agababyan, a 21-year-old Italian translator, waited until the crowd died down before paying the store a visit. She sampled a chocolate donut as well as the original. “They put something in it,” she joked with the news source. “I had the original. It’s really tasty.”

Agababyan said she had heard of a rumor of a Krispy Kreme opening in Moscow, but because it had been delayed, she was disappointed and began to fear the big day would never come. Thankfully, she and other fans can now enjoy the donuts whenever they like.

The store is located on Nikolskaya Street, which has an interesting history. It was on that street were Russia’s first book was printed, way back in 1564. The first college in Moscow opened on Nikolskaya Street in 1685, and the first newspaper in the country was published there on 1703. It’s also located very close to the Kremlin and the Lubyanka, which houses the nations’ security police.

A history of Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme’s roots date back to 1937, when Vernon Rudolph purchased a top-secret recipe from a French chef in New Orleans. He took that recipe to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he began selling the first Krispy Kreme donuts to grocery stores.

Since then, the popularity of the donuts has allowed the stores to expand immensely. In 2000, the first international Krispy Kreme opened near Toronto, Canada. There are now Krispy Kremes in Sydney, London, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey and many other locations around the globe.

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Americans, Mexicans celebrate ‘El Grito’

September 16 is a very important holiday for Mexican citizens and people with Mexican roots. Mexico Independence Day celebrations are held on what’s known as “El Grito,” which translates to “The Scream.” This year was the 203rd anniversary of the holiday, and people all over the world celebrated. It was most likely the topic of discussion for individuals using calling cards to Mexico.
In San Jose
Celebrations were happening all over Mexico, but many of the festivities happened in California, where there is a large population of Mexican-American citizens. According to the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose was alive with various holiday activities. The primary spot of the festivities was at Discovery Meadow, which is located near the Children’s Discovery Museum.

The weather was ideal, which may be in part what inspired the large turnout. But many people likely also came to enjoy the music – there were both classic and contemporary Mexican musicians showing off their skills. In addition to the tunes, celebrants could enjoy food, dance presentations, games and a market where Mexican items were sold.

LA Celebrations
In Los Angeles, people gathered at City Hall for the city’s celebration of “El Grito,” according to local news station KTLA.

“I, like the other 1.2 million Mexican and Mexican-American Angelenos, am very proud of my heritage, and it brings me great pride to be this year’s sponsor for ‘El Grito’ festivities,'” said LA Councilman Felipe Fuentes, according to the news source.

The newly elected member of LA’s local government also participated in the ringing of the “rebellion bell,” which is a part of “El Grito” tradition.

Coachella Honors “El Grito”
Coachella, California, also held a major celebration, reports The number of visitors climbed into the thousands, all gathered under two large canopies to help keep them cool on the hot September day. This year, the festival was moved to a larger venue, Ranchos Las Flores Park, because so many were expected to take part. The reason for the increase in the number of celebrants was in part due to the booming Mexican-American population in the region.

Live music, food, games and free prizes were all part of the Coachella celebrations. Some of the cuisine for sale included Elote, a Mexican corn treat, and delicious shaved ice.

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Combating homesickness while you’re living overseas

Whether you’re living overseas for work or taking a long vacation, you’re bound to experience some homesickness. It can be painful and put a damper on your time abroad, but there are ways to combat this issue. Here are a few quick tips to help you through the difficult moments:
Packing some mementos
If you are going to be gone for a while, it’s a good idea to bring a few sentimental mementos from home to remind you of friends and family. One good idea is to ask each of your loved ones to take a silly photo of themselves, which you can then post on your walls or place into an album. You can also bring a beloved stuffed animal, a book given to you by a friend, or a few articles of clothing borrowed from your significant other. Having these items around will help remind you of your connection to home.

Keeping in touch
By far the best way to combat loneliness when traveling is to keep in touch with friends and family. There are many ways to do this, from email to Facebook. However, sometimes written exchanges don’t feel quite intimate enough, which is why you should equip yourself with a few international calling cards. Simply hearing a loved one’s voice can make you feel much more connected.

A reminder of home
Sometimes, it’s not the people you miss but the place. Living in a foreign country can be difficult, because it’s likely some of the customs you were used to at home simply no longer exist. One way to cope with this is to meet other people in your community who come from a similar place. Look for groups of ex-patriots from you country of origin, or post an ad on websites like Craigslist to find others in your same situation.

Your living space
While you may not be able to change the culture of where you’re living, you do have some control over your own space. If you’re staying in an apartment, for example, you can rearrange the furniture so it is similar to what you had at home. You can also cook your favorite foods when you miss them and hang up posters and photographs that remind you of where you came from.

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5 ways to avoid getting sick while traveling

Nothing puts a damper on a vacation like falling ill. It’s not uncommon for people to pick up colds while they’re abroad – after all, you’re likely exposed to various types of germs that may not be part of your everyday environment. Fortunately, there are a few actions you can take to prevent yourself from catching a cold while you’re traveling. Here are some tips:
Get plenty of sleep
When you are lacking sleep, your immune system is weak, making it much easier for you to contract an illness. That’s why you have to make sure you get plenty of shut-eye the night before you leave, once you arrive at your destination, and if possible, while you’re in transit. Bring an eye mask and neck pillow on long train trips. If it’s really hard for you to sleep while you’re traveling, consider purchasing an over-the-counter sleep aid.

More washing 
You probably wash your hands a few times a day after eating or using the rest room, but when you’re traveling, you need to bump this habit into high gear. Because you’ll be in public places, you’re going to be exposed to germs a lot more than you normally would. That’s why it’s a good idea to wash your hands more frequently. Having some hand sanitizer in your bag makes it much easier to keep bad bacteria at bay.

Sound of mind
Many illnesses are stress-related, so it’s important that you do your best to minimize anxiety while traveling. This may mean practicing breathing exercises, listening to calming music or using a calling card to keep in touch with a loved one back home who may be able to help you relax. During layovers, you may want to find an open space that would allow you to do a few simple exercises, like jumping jacks or pushups, as working out can also help reduce stress.

Eat well
Your body needs lots of healthy nutrients to ward off illness, so do your best to eat well while you’re traveling. This is easier said than done, seeing that many airports only offer unhealthy dining options. Bringing your own snacks is one way around this issue. Pack a few healthy items, like fresh fruit or vegetables, in your carry-on luggage and you’ll be good to go.

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Travel tips for parents of youth athletes

If you’re the mother or father of a child who seriously plays competitive sports, you’re undoubtedly proud of their accomplishments. For example, if his or her team does well in the season and gets to travel to be a part of a high-stakes important tournament, you’re bound to be ecstatic for them, even if you’re also simply happy that they’re enjoying the game.

In any case, traveling to support your kid’s sporting endeavors can be an incredibly fun experience. It can also be more than a little bit stressful if you aren’t prepared for what it will entail. In addition to remembering to pack the right clothes and accessories like prepaid phone cards, you’ll want to keep several tips in mind as you get ready to embark on this kind of trip.

Pack for comfort
You, your child, his or her teammates and their respective parents are going to be running around like crazy people throughout the duration of the trip. As such, you don’t want to be packing your nicer clothes – bring apparel that you’re comfortable driving in and wearing in the hotel and at sporting facilities.

Bond with fellow parents
If you don’t already know the parents of your kid’s teammates, you should correct that. You’re going to be in fairly close quarters with them for the next few days, so taking the opportunity to socialize with your fellow adults is a great way to let off any stress that might come about during the trip.

Kids need to eat right
While nutrition is always important for your youngsters, it’s especially vital leading up to a game. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recommends a solid, healthy breakfast – items such as poached eggs, fruit, bacon, whole grain bread and milk are ideal.

Keep it in perspective
The phrase “winning isn’t everything” is a cliché, but it’s entirely true. You certainly can’t think otherwise, or let your son or daughter fall prey to despondency if they lose. Be a force of encouragement and enthusiasm, before, during and after a game, no matter the outcome.

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