Rookie mistake – canceled old reservation before making the new one

So tomorrow I leave for a conference in Indianapolis. A few days ago, my wife said it would be fun if she came with me and we brought the dogs. The stupid Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, where the conference is (and where my reservations are) is not dog friendly. But there’s a La Quinta half a mile away and they are dog friendly.

So I cancel the Hyatt and go to book La Quinta. No availability, but you knew that from the post title. We decided it would be too much work to start searching for hotels very close to the conference hotel and that were dog friendly.

I call the Hyatt to uncancel – no can do even though fewer than 5 minutes have passed. How much to book a room? About 400 bucks. My conference rate was 150 so I’m going to feel this in my pocket book.

Luckily I was able to get another room at the conference rate, but it’s a room with a view so I have to pay 170/night. Not as good as 150/night but way better than 400/night.

Of course the worst part will be leaving my wife and furkids home but at least I learned my lesson. Make the new reservation before you cancel the old one. I knew that – just needed a reminder.

Tips to Make Your Next Trip More Adventurous and Memorable

Going out on a trip is fun and make it more memorable by being more adventurous. We only live once. As cliche as it may sound, we need to make the most of it. Go out of your comfort zone – have fun, be bolder, and adventurous.

Here’s how you can achieve that adventurous and memorable trip!

Go to places you’ve never been to.

Most people prefer going to places where they feel familiar and comfortable. For example, Paris is beautiful and special, yes, but do you need to go to Paris every time you are out for vacation? Why not try something new? Go to a place you’ve never been to.

Get a globe, randomly pick a destination and fly there (if your budget permits). How awesome would that be! Places like South Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and others will give you adventures you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Explore like you are searching for something.

Do not just refer to travel guides or Google Maps when you are deciding where to go. Let your instinct take you places. If you are in the far flung places in Thailand, or Vietnam, you can talk to locals and ask which places are best to visit. If you are in New Zealand, there are many car hire in Queenstown to book, so you can easily go to remote nature parks. Allow yourself to explore the beauty of the country or city you decided to visit.

Try outdoor activities.

Are you the type who always stays in the hotel or just go to restaurants and other establishments? For a change why don’t you try various outdoor activities? Try bungee jumping, cliff diving, parasailing, and scuba diving or go wall climbing! Doing those activities will definitely make the trip more special and memorable. Do not be afraid to go wild. It is nice to feel closer to nature through those activities. For once, leave your smartphones, tablets, laptops and other gadgets behind and just enjoy the moment doing outdoor activities.

Leave your work and your worries at home.

Leave your worries at home. When you go out for your next adventure, you must make sure you will not think about work. Do not open your email while you are away because it is definitely a major spoiler of fun. Also, be sure to forget your problems or any worries. You are out to enjoy and relax so stick to that agenda.

Be with your favorite people.

Lastly, go to this next adventure with your most favorite people in the world. Anything will be special when you are sharing it with your dearest friends and loved ones. So make sure to bring them with you on your trip.

Live life to the fullest. Make your next trip more adventurous and memorable using the tips we discussed in this post. But, do not be reckless. You must know the boundaries between being adventurous and being reckless. What you need is clean, exciting and spontaneous kind of fun to make it more special and one of a kind.

5 ways you can unwind during a business trip

After a hectic day of meetings, travel and work functions, being able to “switch off” during a business trip is a skill in itself. Down-time might be minimal, so you need to escape the grind when you can. Feeling physically and mentally refreshed for the next day’s activities is vital. Here are five ways you can unwind during a business trip.

Pamper yourself

You mightn’t be able to fit in the four hour deluxe spa package that you probably deserve, but a relaxing 30 minute massage or dip in the hotel Jacuzzi could be just what the doctor ordered. All work and no play makes Jack (and Jill) a tightly wound employee. Many motels and resorts boast their own day spa facilities on-site, so why not join the pamper program?

Take a stroll

Whether your business trip takes you to the centre of a big city or a location way out in the middle of nowhere, there’s nothing like a leisurely stroll to clear the mind and stretch out those tense muscles. It’s also a good excuse to engage in a little sightseeing. Get out there and make the most of your surrounds. You never know what you might stumble upon. It certainly beats lying in your hotel room and staring at the ceiling all evening.

Watch TV

An oldie but a goodie, this tip will help take your mind off the day’s work-related events and provide a genuine entertainment option in the process. It might seem contradictory to the advice given above, but it’s good to keep your options open – and there’s no reason you can’t follow all of our tips!

Even the most rundown of hotels has a working television with a decent selection of channels. Sit, back, relax and escape reality for a while! It’s the perfect accompaniment to room service snacks. Speaking of food …

Eat well

It might be tempting to grab the quickest and easiest meal option during a business trip, but it pays to be selective. The ritual of sitting down and tucking into a nice meal – either alone or with company – nourishes the soul and keeps those tastebuds happy! Resorts/hotels such as Kings Park Accommodation, offer delicious, home-style dining – perfect for when you spend extensive periods on the road.


Gifts for the kids, a nice present for your partner, a purchase or two for yourself – whatever your end goal, shopping is a fantastic way to unwind during a business trip. If it’s been nothing but work, work, work, then shopping can provide the ideal distraction. Plus it’s a great way to reward yourself for all that hard work. Retail therapy saves the day yet again!

Business trips don’t have to be a chore. No matter how hectic your schedule is, there is always time to unwind. Follow the tips above and you will gain the most out of your next work excursion.

How do you like to make the most of your downtime on a business trip? Share your suggestions below.

Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is a place I had never heard of until I saw the video below of some people diving from crazy heights. While the diving is insane, I am also impressed with the medieval bridge everyone is jumping from. Old stone walls, mosques, churches; they all look awesome.

If I understand correctly, the bridge in this video is the Old Bridge, finished in 1566. The locals call it Stari Most Bridge, which is probably a better, more specific name than Old Bridge.

Mimar Hajruddin dsigned the old Stari Most Bridge. Hajrudin was a disciple of Sinan, the father of classic Ottoman architecture.

The Old Bridge spans 28.7 meters of the Neretva river, 21 meters above the summer water level. Seems that people have been jumping from the bridge for centuries (see the second video below).

What ethical decisions do you make when deciding to visit Cuba?

Interesting article here subtitled “A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see.” The article is more focused on the hardships faced by average Cubans and goes into some detail on historical context.

To me, one of the more interesting bits is that workers in a Spanish-run tourist hotel take home 67 cents a day of their $8/hour salary. The average Cuban has a maximum salary of $20 a month. A doctor is permitted to earn up to $30 a month. But you know someone is getting the 7.33 an hour taken from all the hotel workers’ wages. What are the moral implications that tourists must consider when choosing whether to support the government that takes almost everything from people working in the tourism industry?

The wage issue is related to another issue – only a few elite Cubans get to enjoy resorts and other tourist facilities. While no longer banned outright from the resorts, most Cubans simply can’t afford to visit them. The article cites Hemmingway’s old hangout, the Floridita bar, where a beer costs a week’s wages. If a tourist goes to Floridita now, does the experience lack authenticity? There are no Cubans drinking there.

But there are ways in which visiting the resorts helps ordinary people. Workers are allowed to keep their tips making tour guides, taxi drivers, and maids in hotels some of Cuba’s elite.

And it is possible to skip the fancy resorts, as one of my former students did when he visited Pinar del Rio to deliver a message to a Cuban family for a motel worker in Mexico.

When different cultures mean ideas don’t translate

I was never an interpretation and translation guy, but when I taught linguistics in the College of English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, I ran into lots of students and teachers from the Interpretation Department. One of the most interesting lectures I saw came from a group of students talking about Korean phrases that don’t translate well into English and English phrases that don’t translate well into Korean.

So I wanted to share some experience and start a discussion based on words that get lost in translation when traveling abroad. There are some good ones in the article I link to here, like feeling L’appel du vide when waiting for a cruise ship to dock. That’s a French idea for feeling something like homesickness only for a place you have never been.

For a personal example, living in Korea I often heard the word jung. It took a few years for me to get the concept. Jung is sort of a feeling of camaraderie and building jung is important in Korea. It’s still a somewhat foreign concept to me, but from my perspective, jung often involves getting together for drinks. Office workers go out drinking together, college students go out drinking together, professors go out drinking together. Sometimes students and professors take an overnight trip and drink together. We take the bus to some cabin in the country and hang out overnight. That’s called MT (Membership Training) but it’s about drinking and creating jung – not about training.

I’ve seen all sorts of things during MT. There is always a barbecue and there are always drinking games. Students stay up drinking all night, I think. I’m not sure because professors always go to bed before students. Professors might have a 2 room cabin with all the male professors sleeping in one room and all the female professors sleeping in the other room. Everyone gets a thick blanket / thin mattress thing to throw on the floor and sleep on. I have never seen a western style bed (box spring and mattress) at an MT. I assume the students have a similar set up, just two bigger rooms, if they sleep at all.

You might be wondering about privacy, but this is a concept that doesn’t translate so well from English into Korean. For example if you say in English that you prefer to yoga in the privacy of your own home, that privacy seems like a good thing. However it’s hard to translate “in the privacy of my home” into Korean and maintain the same positive connotation. I don’t mean to say that there is no privacy in Korea, but the concept of privacy and the expectation for privacy is a bit different in Korean culture than in American (and I assume other Western countries’) culture. The different cultural concepts of privacy can definitely impact your travel experience.

Here’s another cool article that talks about “hygge” a term that they say doesn’t translate well into English. Hygge kind of reminds me of jung except instead of building camaraderie with colleagues, hygge is more for family and friends:

“Hygge is a deep sense of cosy that can originate from many different sources. Here is a good example from my life: a cloudy winter Sunday morning at the country house, fire in the stove and 20 candles lit to dispel the gloom. My husband, puppy and I curled up on our sheepskins wearing felt slippers, warm snuggly clothes and hands clasped around hot mugs of tea. A full day ahead with long walks on the cold beach, back for pancake lunch, reading, more snuggling, etc. This is a very hyggligt day.”

So what phrases do you know like hygge and jung? What words or phrases have you encountered in your travels that don’t translate well into English?

Bicycle on vacation? Be careful out there!

I recently learned a new word, when a good friend of mine announced that he got “doored” while riding his bike in New York City. He’s OK now but he did end up in the back of an ambulance and the ER. So this guest post seemed especially relevant. Like any other vehicle, there are a number of hazards cyclists should be aware of when on the roadway. By being aware of hazards, bike riders can avoid accidents, collisions and injuries that may otherwise require enlisting legal help from a service such as Motor Accident Legal Service. Here are four more things that bike riders must be careful of.

1. Potholes

Potholes are a risk for any vehicle but especially for cyclists with narrow wheels. Depending on their depth, hitting a pothole can cause damage to bike frames, wheels and a loss of control, potentially resulting in an accident. Cyclists should always look ahead to the horizon to give themselves enough time to identify approaching potholes and ride around them when safe to do so.

2. Glass and Other Sharp Objects

Punctures are the bane of any cyclist’s existence so riding over sharp objects is something to be avoided at all costs. Sharp gravel, road rubble from broken tar, and uneven, unsealed roads can all cause punctures. Despite the fact that a puncture may not mean loss of control, a flat tyre is always inconvenient. For cyclists that do happen to ride over glass, pulling over as soon as possible and inspecting the tyres for sharp fragments and removing these from the tread will minimise the chance of a puncture.

3. Slick Spots

Oil, painted lines, leaves and wet sewer grates on the roadway are all slippery to cyclists, especially when turning. To avoid being flung from the bike and becoming one with the pavement, bike riders should lean against a turn, shifting their weight to the outside pedal. Roads are the most slippery after the first few minutes of rain, when the oil residue accumulated on the road turns into a slick film. It may be worth waiting for these deposits to be run in and distributed by other cars before continuing riding, especially if it’s been a long period since the roads have been wet.

4. Other Vehicles

It goes without saying that vehicles, including cars, trucks and other bikes, represent a potential hazard for cyclists. It’s important that riders wear high-visibility clothing, especially in low light conditions, and also use reflectors and headlights so they can be more easily seen. Riders should avoid riding too closely behind other cyclists to avoid collisions from overlapping wheels. When riding along roads where cars are parked, cyclists need to be observant of motorists who may be leaving their cars, since car doors opening into the paths of cyclists is another major hazard. Motorists who are parked parallel to the curb also have a responsibility to check for cyclists before opening their doors. A cyclist can’t always trust people to do so though, so always be on alert.

What other hazards and risks make cycling potentially dangerous and how can these be avoided? Let others know by leaving a comment below.

Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.


Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.


Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

Travel idea: Ski resort in the French Alps

High above the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, La Rosière at 6,000 feet features over 90 miles of ski trails, beautiful alpine views with Mont Blanc in the distance, and easy access to Espace San Bernardo on the border between France and Italy. Skiers, from beginners to experts, come here every season to enjoy the sunshine, generous snowfall, uncrowded slopes, and the pleasant camaraderie of this family-friendly ‘Famille Plus Montagne’ resort. There is a special small village “The Gallopins” for the kids in the center of the resort, a “Baby-Club” (18 months-3 year olds), and “Club-Loisirs” for ages 4-12. The clubs provide full or part-time care with or without meals and interesting programs for the different age groups. Three and four year olds can take ski lessons sponsored by the ESF (French Ski School). La Rosiere offers wonderful piste and off-piste skiing, equipment rental, ice skating, snow shoeing, and snow kiting, as well as the fun of apres-ski dining, bowling, and nightlife at the Les Eucherts center. A unique attraction at the resort is the opportunity to legally heli-ski into Italy as far as La Thuile. No vacation at La Rosiere would be complete without indulging in the pleasure and convenience of the catered ski chalets in la Rosiere.

Chalet Aimee – Located in the Les Eucherts area, it has 4 en-suite bedrooms, 3 double and 1 twin, with one extra toilet. Two bedrooms have bath and shower, and two with shower only. In addition to a full breakfast and afternoon tea, guests are served a sumptuous evening meal with wine and aperitifs before dinner. The menu features a variety of appetizers and gourmet entrees such as beef bourguignon and roast loin of pork. For dessert, the choices include chocolate mousse, winter berry crumble, and vanilla pannacotta. Enjoy coffee or tea in the spacious living area, which opens onto the balcony for magnificent views of the evening sky and the snow-covered valley below. Chalet Aimee offers the same amenities as the other La Rosiere chalets including airport/train ski-lift transfers, equipment rental, and early suppers at 6pm for children. Special menus on request.

Weekly Rates: $594-$1,498 p/p.

Chalet Christophe – This is a large chalet for up to 10 people, perfect for a group of friends or family, with 5 bedrooms, 3 double and 2 twin. Two en-suite doubles, one double shares the connecting bathroom with a twin, and the 5th bedroom is a twin. The open living and dining area (table seats 12) serves as a lounge area, and there’s a small kitchen off the dining area, typical of the catered chalet floor plans. Balconies on two sides of the chalet offer incredible views. Cots and high chairs, if needed, are free. Special diets and meal plans for children can be requested at time of booking. Everything you might need on your holiday are included in the chalet price including discounted rental equipment, satellite TV, private parking, and transfers. Three meals, breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner are freshly prepared by the chalet staff on 6 of the 7 days. They have one day off when you’re on your own to self serve or dine out locally.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Chalet Thomas – Another charming chalet in the La Rosiere complex, it has plenty of room for 10 people, with 5 bedrooms, 3 doubles, 1 twin, and one bunkroom with its own bathroom. It is fully furnished and equipped with bed linens and towels, complimentary toiletries, Wi-Fi, and lots of other amenities. The chalet has ample living and dining room space with picture windows on two sides for panoramic views of the mountains and valley below. The chalet hosts prepare breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner on six days, except for one day a week when they’re off duty and everything is self serve. This might be a good time to have lunch or dinner at one of the many fine restaurants at La Rosiere.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,498 p/p.

Chalet Valerie – This cozy, fully equipped chalet has 3 en-suite bedrooms and a loft type area upstairs with 2 single beds and hallway bathroom. The children would love their own special place away from the grownups. Although the chalet is somewhat smaller than others in the complex, it will comfortably accommodate up to 8 people. Balconies on two sides of the chalet provide wonderful views of the surrounding area. Great location in Les Eucherts, with shops, restaurants, bars, and an express chair lift. La Rosiere is a nice short walk or free bus ride from the center of Les Eucherts. The chalet staff prepares breakfast, afternoon tea, and a 3-course evening meal accompanied by before-dinner drinks and unlimited wine. Children can be served with an early dinner if you choose. Relax in the quiet luxury of the chalet and enjoy free Wi-Fi, DVD, and satellite TV, or pamper yourself with the mobile massage service after a day on the slopes.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Penthouse Chalet – The ultimate choice for a wedding or anniversary skiing party, families, or groups of friends for up to 14 people. Situated on the top floor of the complex, the luxurious ski-in ski-out penthouse is huge with 6 bedrooms, all with mountain or valley views. The bedrooms downstairs, 2 doubles and 2 twins, have full bathrooms. The master bedroom has a private balcony, as well. Upstairs there is a suite-type floor plan with a double and a separate bedroom. The 6th bedroom is a twin with a view of the mountains. A very large living and dining room arrangement features comfortable chairs and sofas, floor to ceiling windows facing the outdoor balcony, and a fireplace which adds a warm ambiance to a gathering place. Meals are served 6 days a week by the chalet staff, who live in a separate area on the premises. The Penthouse Chalet has a jacuzzi and hot tub in addition to the same amenities as the other chalets.

Weekly Rates: $796 – $1,794 p/p.

(Notes: Avg ski pass prices for 6 days, Adult – $256, Child 5-12 – $179, Youth 13+ – $224, Senior 65-74 – $205.

Chalet rates will vary depending on week and month. Packages and discounts available. Chalets are non-smoking, and no shoes can be worn inside. The resort staff provides helpful information and assistance.)

La Rosiere is easily accessible by plane from four airports (Geneva is just 2 hours away), by train from Bourg-St Maurice, or by car (a long, somewhat challenging drive.) It is an ideal, affordable destination with lots of great skiing for everyone, the opportunity for spectacular photography, and many other fun and exciting things to do for families or groups on a skiing holiday.

Sharon L Slayton

Are fun flight safety videos the answer?

In my performance systems analysis class we talked about a problem: Airline passengers don’t know what to do in an emergency. It seems that when it’s time to evacuate a plane, many passengers perform poorly. This may be caused by passengers not watching safety videos. Maybe.

I haven’t seen any evidence that the safety videos are actually effective training tools. Will passengers who pay attention tot he videos perform well during emergencies?

Airlines think so and are working hard to make sure people watch their safety videos:

Virgin America:

Air New Zealand:

What do you think? Are fun safety videos going to improve passenger performance in an emergency?