(BPT) - After a few weeks of staying in hotels, you let out a sigh of relief as you walk through the front door of your home. As someone who travels for work, whether it be for relocation, training or sales, you know the feeling of coming home after a long trip — but you should also feel comfortable when you're away.
While you'll always enjoy returning to your family and home, you don't have to feel uncomfortable for weeks at a time during your extended trip. These four tips help you make your hotel experience feel more like home, and your overall trip more enjoyable.
First off, choose a suite to get more space.
Unlike typical hotel rooms, suites offer multiple rooms including a living room, kitchen and separate bathroom so it's more like an apartment. When you stay in a suite, you're less likely to feel cramped and you have the space to make it a bit more personal with your own touches.
Avoid eating out for every meal.
During business trips, many travelers are forced to eat out or order room service for every meal, but this can make you feel sluggish after just a few days. When you stay in a suite with a full kitchen, you can prepare your own meals as you would at home. Candlewood Suites hotels offer accommodations with a full kitchen including a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave and most importantly, a dishwasher. You can easily stay on your routine with healthy meals and make your favorite dishes. Additionally, Candlewood Suites properties offer the Lending Locker, where you can borrow items like a blender or crockpot to make your favorite items.
Unpack belongings after you check in.
It's hard to feel at home when you're living out of a suitcase. To make your suite feel like your own personal space, unpack clothes in drawers and closets, put away toiletries in the bathroom and store belongings like books in the nightstand. After you're all unpacked, you'll be able to relax more easily in your temporary home.
If you’re traveling for long time, you’ll eventually need to tackle your laundry as well. Candlewood Suites hotels provide free washing machines and dryers for guests to use which means you can conveniently take care of your laundry without ever leaving the hotel.
Personalize your space.
On short weekend trips, it makes sense to pack light. But, when you're in a new city for weeks or even months at a time, it's better to bring along more than just clothes and shower essentials. Personal touches, like family pictures, sports memorabilia and fresh plants can dramatically improve your space and feel more like your own. Some guests even like to bring their own bedspreads or wall art to make their suite feel like home.
Nothing can replace home, but a comfortable suite can at least come close. To learn more about apartment-style suites and how you can book one for your next extended trip, visit www.candlewoodsuites.com/business today.
(BPT) - Long before global positioning devices made it possible for ships of all sizes to independently sail with confidence anywhere in the world, lighthouses and lighthouse keepers protected the safety of seafarers. Today, ships use other methods for navigation, but lighthouses remain an important part of America’s maritime heritage. Across the country, lighthouses have been converted into museums, living history centers and even hotels.
“Modern commercial airline pilots couldn’t imagine flying without the aid of a control tower and air traffic controllers,” says Jeff Gales, executive director of the United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS). “In their time, lighthouses and lighthouse keepers were just as important. Their contributions made it possible for cultures around the world to expand across oceans and seas and safely return to land, guided by the lighthouse’s beacon.”
Each year, thousands of visitors learn about lighthouses and their storied pasts, gaining a new appreciation of their uniquely majestic architecture.
“With hundreds of lighthouses along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and on inland waterways such as the Great Lakes, it’s easy for many Americans to find a lighthouse that’s within reasonable traveling distance from home,” Gales says. “A lighthouse visit truly has it all — history and adventure, romance, scenic beauty, and family appeal.”
SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. has partnered with the USLHS to support lighthouse preservation and education. In conjunction with the release of its new Lighthouse Selections line of frozen seafood products, SeaPak is pledging $10,000 to the USLHS. The grant will go directly to preservation efforts already underway at the fabled Morris Island Lighthouse, which has long guarded Charleston Harbor in South Carolina.
To inspire you to visit a lighthouse this summer or fall, the USLHS and SeaPak have teamed up to share these fascinating lighthouse facts, along with some useful lighthouse tourism information:
* Historians believe one of the first known lighthouses was built in Egypt, nearly 300 years before the birth of Christ. “The Pharos of Alexandria” lighthouse was said to be more than 440 feet tall and guided ships to the city’s harbor for more than a thousand years before earthquakes destroyed it in the 14th century A.D. The Pharos is remembered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
* Despite the creation of other navigational technologies, many operational lighthouses still exist around the world. Most have been automated, but some are still “manned” by a lighthouse keeper. In the U.S., only the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in Massachusetts is still staffed. It is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the country.
* Each lighthouse has a unique light signature that helps mariners identify it. For example, a lighthouse may flash its light once every seven seconds, while another miles away on the same coast flashes its light every 10 seconds. The different flashing patterns help sailors know which lighthouses they’re passing in the dark of night. Lighthouses also are painted in distinctive patterns and colors, to ensure they’ll be a visual signal for mariners during the day, as well.
* Because they’re located in coastal areas, lighthouses are often found in communities that have a lot to offer tourists. A lighthouse visit can be the pinnacle of a trip that also includes dining in nearby restaurants, shopping, day cruises, stops at other historic sites, and additional family friendly activities.
* Throughout the summer and fall, lighthouses along America’s seasides and inland coasts are the focal point of festivals. For example, the lighthouses of Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands on Lake Superior host a celebration every year in late August and early September; two dozen historic Maine lighthouses are open to the public on Maine Open Lighthouse Day (which this year falls on Sept. 10); and, in New Jersey, the annual Lighthouse Challenge weekend (this year on Oct. 15-16) encourages people to visit all of the state’s participating lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast.
* You can easily book a lighthouse tour that comes with behind-the-scenes insights into the history and operation of a lighthouse. In some cases, you may even be able to stay in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and assume some honorary duties!
* While you’re having fun visiting lighthouses, you can help support their preservation by participating in the USLHS Passport Program. When you visit a participating lighthouse, you’ll earn a stamp in your free passport. You also help support the lighthouse through your ticket price and gift shop purchases.
“The history of the lighthouse is almost as old as human history itself,” Gales says, “and while the 300-year era of manned lighthouses in the U.S. has ended, lighthouses remain a precious symbol of our maritime heritage.”
Visit www.USLHS.org to learn more.
Winter is approaching, bringing cold temperatures, salty roads, wet conditions and other challenges for drivers. To ensure your vehicle is at its best, follow these six simple tips to get your vehicle winter-ready. Whether it’s packing an emergency kit and jumper cables or preventative maintenance like getting a car wash to defend against ice, salt, sand and slush; preparation is key to keeping your vehicle going strong throughout the winter months.
6 Car Care Tips for Cold Weather
(Family Features) Winter is approaching, bringing cold temperatures, salty roads, wet conditions and other challenges for drivers. To ensure your vehicle is at its best, follow these six simple tips to get your vehicle winter-ready. Whether it’s packing an emergency kit and jumper cables or preventative maintenance like getting a car wash to defend against ice, salt, sand and slush; preparation is key to keeping your vehicle going strong throughout the winter months. For additional winter car care tips, visit carwash.org/watersavers.
(BPT) - The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping and winter will soon be here. While snow can be pleasant to look at, it can also wreak havoc on roadways and create hazardous driving conditions during the winter months.
Everyone dreads the nerve-wracking winter commutes, but there’s plenty you can do to prepare your vehicle for inclement conditions. By taking a few precautionary steps in advance of the drop in temperatures, you can make sure your vehicle is better equipped for safe, smooth travel during the colder months.
Tires are one of the most important factors of safe winter driving; they can be the difference between a safe commute and a ride in a tow truck.
“It’s crucial for drivers to be conscious of what type of tires are ideal for their region’s climate and driving conditions,” says Matti Morri, technical customer service manager, Nokian Tyres — the inventor of the winter tire. “Too often, drivers think all-season tires are satisfactory for all conditions, which puts them in an unsafe position during the winter months. Even the most mechanically sound vehicle is no match for winter without proper tires.”
Take the time to make sure your tires are in optimal condition before the first snowfall to make the picturesque beauty of winter more enjoyable.
1. Make sure your tires are suited for the conditions.
Whether a driver needs all-season, all-weather or winter tires depends on the climate the driver is based in.
* All-season tires perform best in temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above. For most of the country, this means they are ideally suited for spring, summer and fall driving. If you don’t experience snowy, slippery conditions in the winter, all-season tires are sufficient.
* All-weather tires can be used year-round and still provide excellent handling in the snow. All-weather tires are ideal for drivers that experience four seasons but are not designed to withstand the harsher winters in the northern regions.
* Winter tires are designed to grip in colder, winter conditions, not just in snow. These tires provide extreme grip in weather below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter tread patterns are also designed to provide excellent grip in icy and snowy conditions. Winter tires are engineered specifically to perform most effectively in harsh environments where colder temperatures are the norm. They don’t just combat snow and ice, they’re specifically designed and tested to function better in areas where temperatures can drop down well below freezing.
2. Monitor tire pressure.
Once you’ve found the proper tire for your climate, it’s important to closely monitor the tire pressure. As the temperature drops, tire pressure falls with it. In fact, for every 10-degree drop in temperature, tire pressure decreases by 1 pound per square inch.
Low inflation can cause a number of problems with your vehicle. It increases fuel consumption, shortens the life of your tires and creates an unsafe driving experience, as if you don’t already have enough to worry about while driving in the snow.
Tire pressure should be inspected at least once a month and always before a long trip. So grab a tire pressure gauge and your vehicle’s owner manual before hitting the road this winter.
3. Monitor and rotate your tires.
Once your tires are properly inflated, take a look at the tread. Tires are considered legally worn out when they reach 2/32nds of an inch. To err on the side of caution, replace your tires when they reach 5/32nds of the remaining tread depth for winter driving. One way to check is to insert a U.S. penny into the main groove so that the edge of the coin touches the tread and Lincoln's head is upside down. If the top of Lincoln's head remains visible from the groove, the tires are fully worn.
Tires need more tread depth during the winter to compress snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. Insufficient tread depth sacrifices the vehicle’s traction and mobility in the snow. You should monitor the tread depth closely throughout the winter and rotate the tires at least every 7,500 miles.
Having proper tires is just the beginning of safe winter driving. Visit a mechanic prior to the first snow to get the rest of your vehicle checked out, and in case all else fails, make sure you have an emergency kit in you car. Drive at a speed that’s appropriate for the weather conditions and stay calm. Drivers should always approach winter driving with extreme caution and use their best judgment before hitting the road. Sometimes even the most prepared driver is no match for Mother Nature.
Insider tips for a weekend at a national park site
(BPT) - It has been 100 years since an important American institution was born. On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson and was established as a new federal bureau to oversee the country’s national parks and monuments.
Since then, the national park system has grown to encompass more than 400 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state. With that act, grand sweeps of mountains, canyons, forests, islands and seashores were preserved and made accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Whether you are looking for back-country skiing down a mountain or just a scenic afternoon drive, our national park system has plenty of resources and infrastructure to make a visit enjoyable and memorable to just about anyone.
It was John Muir, a naturalist and early parks advocate who said it best: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
No matter where you live, there's a good chance one of these mesmerizing landscapes or historical monuments is just a quick road trip away. However, while millions will visit these majestic spots each year, few realize a major challenge faces national parks across the country — waste. The National Park Service manages more than 100 million pounds of waste nationally, much of which is generated by serving more than 300 million park visitors per year — that's enough to fill the Statue of Liberty more than 1,800 times.
While waste is a major issue in the parks, visitors can make a difference. Subaru of America, experts in zero-landfill sustainability, is sharing its knowledge of these practices with the National Parks to help keep the parks beautiful for the next century. As part of that effort, the automaker, alongside National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), has developed a set of tips that visitors can adopt to help reduce some of the biggest contributors to landfills from national parks, including paper, plastics and glass:
Opt for online: While paper maps can be a park staple, there are smartphone apps that provide the same information and more. Even without cell service, some national park apps will give helpful information about where you can spot wildlife, catch a beautiful sunset, or even find a refillable water station.
Mug for the parks: Bring a reusable coffee mug from home or buy one from the souvenir shop to help reduce the 58 billion paper cups that are sent to America’s landfills every year.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle): Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand or buy one at gift shop, while taking advantage of convenient refilling stations around the park.
Ditch the Plastic Bag: Help reduce waste by not using a plastic bag for your souvenirs or groceries that you bring into the parks. Instead, bring your own reusable bag or tote for your items to help eliminate plastic bag waste.
Take Out What You Bring in: Think about what you bring in. Check to see if it can be recycled or composted in the park you are visiting. If it cannot, try to take it home. It is often far easier to recycle near your home than in rural park areas.
If you are interested in learning more about Subaru's efforts or what you can do to help make a positive impact for generations to come, visit subaru.com/environment.
(BPT) - This year, you'll be traveling to Florida for a theme park experience of a lifetime — and your family can hardly contain their excitement. While thrill rides and fun games make up the majority of your itinerary right now, it's a good idea to research other attractions in the area you can add to the list. Even the most seasoned amusement park enthusiasts need a break from the long lines and bustling crowds now and then. When your family desires a change of scenery, Visit Central Florida has the perfect escape to rejuvenate both kids and adults: Bok Tower Gardens.
Bok Tower Gardens is a beautiful, relaxing hideaway that's only a short drive from major theme parks and beaches. Much more than a botanical garden, this historic landmark offers a wide range of activities to keep your family entertained all day. Here are just a handful of the experiences you'll find at Bok Tower Gardens.
Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden
A recent addition, the Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden is a great attraction for foodies and home gardeners alike. Enjoy fresh garden-to-table dining, and learn tips for growing vegetables and creating interesting dishes during chef-led demonstrations. Along with the tasty meals, you'll admire the charming setup; this outdoor kitchen is built from reclaimed cypress wood and features a wood-fired brick oven.
The Children's Garden
Bok's new Children's Garden opens up in September, and offers three acres of play area in open, natural environments. Kids of all ages will have a blast exploring and learning through a wide range of activities, from rock scrambles to fairy trails. When the weather's warm, don't miss out on playful water games by the river!
It's a treasure-hunting game for the modern world! Geocaching, where you use GPS-enabled devices to navigate and track down hidden objects, is available in three different locations throughout the Gardens. The three geocaching locations also include trade treasures and a log book to enhance the game.
The Singing Tower Carillon Concerts
Pack a picnic and blanket, and enjoy lunch under the tower to the sounds of a live carillon concert at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. The carillon is a musical instrument consisting of 23 cast bronze bells, and can play music in any key. If you'd rather not prepare food before hand, you can find a fresh, flavorful lunch at the Blue Palmetto Cafe.
At Bok Tower Gardens, there are plenty of entertainment options created with the whole family in mind. Discovery Backpacks encourages your to explore the breathtaking Gardens, taking in the fresh scents and vivid colors, while enjoying fun and educational activities. If you wish to learn more about the Gardens, sign your family up for a free Garden Adventure Guide. During the tour, you'll learn fun facts about its culture and natural history. You can even use the map and clues to hunt for hidden tile posts on your way to the Singing Tower.
Natural beauty, fun activities and live music — what's not to love about these gardens? To learn more about Bok Tower Gardens and start planning your visit, head to visitcentralflorida.org today.
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