Great Places to See – Bellingham

With summer temperatures finally heating up there is no better time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for a short distance trip or an overnight excursion the city of Bellingham is just what you need.

The city offers a variety of activities for all ages and lifestyles. From outdoor hiking and biking at Galbraith Mountain to dinner for two in historic Fairhaven . There are also many local businesses to enjoy downtown, such as INNATE which is a must see destination for art and one of a kind screen printing.

Bellingham’s Saturday market is the place to be during the summer, it offers great produce, ready to eat food, and crafts. It’s no surprise that it has been ranked the number one farmer’s market by Sunset Magazine.

Get out there and enjoy the community of Bellingham which is just far enough away so you feel like you are on vacation but close enough to the comforts of home. Enjoy!

~Professional Medical Corp.

 

 

What you should tip while traveling

Summer is in full force with many people taking their vacations with their family and friends. Do you ever wonder what you should tip at restaurants, your valet driver, or for room service, etc? AARP.com put together a list of tip suggestions!

Hotel Tipping:

Bellhop: $1 to $2 per bag

Car valets: $1 to $3. Always tip them when you pick up your car.

Room service: 10 percent is adequate, 15 percent to 20 percent for a large or difficult order.

Housekeeping: $2 to $3 per night and $5 if you have more than three people in a room/suite. Leave the money in an envelope with “Thank You” on it, so they know the money is for them.

Doorman: $1 for help with each bag, $1 for hailing a cab.

Transportation Tipping:

Cab driver: 15 percent to 20 percent tip of the fare. (Find out ahead of time if your cab driver accepts a credit card. If he/she doesn’t, make sure you have enough cash for both fare and tip.)

Airport transportation attendants: If the driver helps you with your bags, offer $1 per bag.

Restaurant Tipping:

Servers: 15 percent to 20 percent of your total bill after tax. Most servers make less than $3 an hour, so tips are really their salary.

Bartenders: $1 per drink. If you’re waiting for a table, it’s also courteous to close your tab at the bar and then start fresh with your server for your meal.

If you order food at the bar: Same as if you were seated — 15 percent to 20 percent.

If you use a discount coupon for your meal: Tip your server on what the bill would have been before the discount. A little extra for discounted “happy hour” drinks is also appreciated.

Click here for more tip suggestions & original article

Article information courtesy of AARP.com

New study shows more men than women die of almost every type of cancer

It has always been known for years that men die of cancer more often than women, but this is the first that a new study was able to analyze individual cancers and study the sex differences. The journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention used data from 1977 to 2006 by cancer registries across the U.S and found out 33 out of the 36 cancer types that were reviewed, men died more than women. The three cancer types that women died more of are peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery cancer, gall bladder cancer, and cancer of the anus, anal canal, and anorectuum.  All three cancer types are exceptionally rare.

The study does not explain the causes of men’s higher cancer incidence, because it is not clear. These are the top five biggest disparities cancer deaths rates found in the study (they are all rare as well):

  1. Cancer of the lip: 5.51 men died for every one woman
  2. Cancer of the larynx: 5.37 med died for every one woman
  3. Cancer of the hypopharynx: 4.47 men died for every one woman
  4. Cancer of the esophagus: 4.08 men died fore very one woman
  5. Cancer of the bladder: 3.36 men died for every woman

Read original article here

What do you think of the new study?

Single and Ready to Mingle?

Kid time or quiet time? Know before you go.

Single and ready to mingle you say? Cruise lines hear your call. If you’ve ever travelled alone on a cruise, then you know a thing or two about unfair supplemental fees. Not a couple? You still have to pay like one and solo travellers have had a enough. Several cruise ships are now offering single cabins and eliminating the discriminatory “single” fee.

The cruise liner Epic is one of the first to introduce this single option and their 128 singles cabins sold old almost immediately upon release. Thought about a cruise lately as a way to meet someone special? Perhaps you should. This type of cruising may be just the way to relax, enjoy yourself, and meet a companion in the process.

See AARP’s cruise vacation tips here:

http://www.aarp.org/travel/cruises/info-04-2011/greenberg-video-cruises-singles.html

Tips for the Solo Adventurer

Long before “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert began contemplating the solo journey that would change her life and create a literary blockbuster, June Meineke was dreaming of taking a trip around the world.

So when Meineke took an early retirement from her job, she came up with a plan, but no set itinerary. The only thing she knew is that she would fly to Paris, France, in September and return to the United States from Auckland, New Zealand, six months later. She would choose the rest of her route along the way. She would also travel alone.

“It was the trip of a lifetime. I would highly recommend it to anyone and I’d love to do it again,” Meineke said of the trip that began last fall and ended in March.

The journey took her from France, through Germany, Poland, Bosnia and Croatia to Turkey. From there, it was on to India, Dubai, and finally New Zealand. Along the way, Meineke made a startling discovery.

Advice to Solo Travelers

• Test traveling on your own. Before you take a big trip solo, drive 20 miles outside your home zone and go have lunch or see a movie.

• Your first trip solo might be going cross-country to see a friend, then exploring that friend’s city by yourself. You can branch out from there.

• If you don’t want to eat alone, go to the bar area of a restaurant. There are always other single people there who want to chat or you can talk with the bartender.

• In places where you’ll stand out, buy some local clothing when you get there so you can blend in a bit better.

• It’s important to have confidence. Consider a self-defense course that will help you hold yourself in a certain way.

Source: Beth Whitman, author of “Wanderlust and Lipstick”

“You would not believe the number of women traveling alone. There were more women traveling on their own than men,” said Meineke, who is in her 50s and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Opening Up to the World

“Eat, Pray, Love” — both the book and the new movie starring Julia Roberts — is fueling lots of interest in the experiences of solo travelers, especially female ones. There’s just something romantic, exhilarating and liberating about the idea of setting off on your own and exploring the world and yourself along the way.

No companion? No problem.

Gilbert said her book would likely be missing many of its most memorable characters had she not embarked on the journey by herself. Being alone simply forces a traveler to open up more, whether out of loneliness, curiosity or boredom, she added.

“You cannot have the experiences traveling with a partner that you have traveling alone. You just won’t,” Gilbert told CNN.com earlier this year.

“There are different kinds of travel for different purposes. I do think there’s a certain time in life when it’s a really wise thing, just as a human being, to kind of go out and put yourself in the world and see what comes,” Gilbert said.

People who travel alone make up a quarter of all U.S. leisure travelers, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a tourism research company. It found that slightly less than half of U.S. solo travelers are women.

Adventure Awaits

They travel alone for different reasons. Some are single, divorced or widowed (Meineke’s husband passed away 18 years ago) and don’t let the lack of a partner or like-minded friend stop them from going on an adventure. Others are married, but enjoy doing their own thing and conquering the world by themselves.

“There’s an element of feeling self-sufficient when you’re on your own and things happen — you never have a perfect trip — and when something goes sideways there’s an empowerment to feeling like, ‘Wow, I just got myself through that,'” said Beth Whitman, author of “Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo.” She also runs a women’s travel website.

Beth Whitman travels at least once a year internationally on her own and loves visiting India. Whitman, who is married and lives in Seattle, Washington, talked with CNN.com just hours before she began a solo trip to Papua New Guinea. She started traveling on her own in college, creating itineraries that would impress any adventurer. Whitman once spent a year backpacking Pacific Rim countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. She also took a nine-week, 7,000-mile motorcycle trip from Seattle to Panama.  Loneliness can be a factor during such trips, but it usually doesn’t last long, Whitman said.

“What I find is that just at the point where you start to feel lonely and sorry for yourself, somebody comes along — you meet great friends along the way, whether it’s on a train ride or a bus ride or you land at an airport and you just buddy up with people to share a taxi,” Whitman said.

Outside the Comfort Zone

Still, the idea of being on your own away from home can be off-putting for many travelers. When asked whether they had ever taken a vacation alone, 43 percent of respondents in an informal CNN.com poll said, “Yes, I enjoyed it,” and almost a quarter answered, “No, but I’d like to.” But 30 percent said, “No, I wouldn’t enjoy it,” and 4 percent responded that they had taken a vacation alone but wouldn’t do it again. More than 35,000 people answered the online survey question last month.

Amber Rasberry has traveled to Spain and the Caribbean by herself.  She set out for Spain by herself exactly because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone. The 32-year-old Los Angeles, California, resident decided to go for it after she was laid off from her job in 2005.

“I just bought the plane ticket first. That’s how I knew, OK, there’s no turning back,” Rasberry said. “And then I figured everything else out after that.”

She lived in Spain for 3½ months, enrolling in language school and taking side trips to Portugal and other destinations. Rasberry indulged her solo travel bug again in 2008 when she took a summer vacation by herself in Curacao; she was just looking at countries on a map and booked her stay as soon as her eyes fell on the Caribbean island. She loved her time there, she said, not bothered by the idea of going to a resort where many of the guests might be coupled up. She’s also become comfortable with a situation many solo travelers may dread: Eating alone in a restaurant.

“That’s always the most self-conscious time because you’re walking in by yourself and you’re like ‘Oh, table for one’ and then they clear the other side of the table. But I always bring reading material and always have a glass of wine and just take my time,” Rasberry said.

“I love traveling and so I’m going to do that to the best of my ability and if there’s somebody who wants to come, great. But if not … I’m still going to do it.”

Courtesy of AARP

Remember These Tips When Planning a Vacation

When we think of traveling with our grandchildren, most of us imagine an experience that’s postcard perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to spoil that picture. Try our tips to avoid these common vacation slip-ups:

1. The Slip-Up: Not Coordinating Your Schedule
The Scenario: Heather Flett remembers vacationing with her parents and her sons, ages 1 and 3. Everyone was psyched for a good time but forgot to coordinate their alarm clocks. “My kids get up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on a normal day. They are ready to eat by 7:30 and take naps just after eating lunch at noon. Sometimes we have time for fun in the afternoons but, if necessary, that afternoon nap can stretch until 4.” Her parents, on the other hand, thought it wasn’t really a vacation unless they could sleep until 10. The plans were good, but the timing was way off.

The Save: Never underestimate the power of synchronization. Put together a schedule you all can live with. It might mean not being together 24/7, but the hours you do spend together will be full of fun and meltdown-free.

2. The Slip-Up: Not Understanding Different Priorities
The Scenario: You work hard to make a trip special, but your grandchildren define the word a little differently. “My mother-in-law planned to have us ride all the rides in the morning, when we’d avoid lines,” says Jennifer Milikien of a recent trip to Disney with her mom, her in-laws, and her 3-year-old daughter. It was a great plan but was thwarted when the little girl wanted to stand in line for Winnie the Pooh’s autograph.

The Save: Again, a little pre-trip planning will put things in perspective. Ask everyone what qualifies as a “don’t miss” on their list, and devise an agenda that will hit each person’s number-one priority. The other stuff? Forget about it! After all, vacations are short, but Pooh’s paw-print in an autograph book lasts forever (and so do those memories).

3. The Slip-Up: Having a Greta Garbo Complex
The Scenario: Your family, friends, and even the bellhop at the hotel offer to help out, but you politely decline any assistance, as if juggling three little boys, an armful of souvenirs, and a live lizard through a swanky lobby is a piece of cake. Get a clue: “I vant to be alone” may work for Hollywood blondes, but not so much for Gramps and Granny.

The Save: Time to be honest here. Sure, you may have singlehandedly taken your own brood to Disney World, but that was a generation ago. And these aren’t even your own kids. They’ve been raised with different rules (we’ll get to that next), and you may be unfamiliar with their schedules, their temperaments, and their energy levels. Best to take along another adult who can help out. Even after all these years, two heads are better than one, and at least you’ll have someone to commiserate with over coffee after the kiddies are in bed.

4. The Slip-Up: Believing the ‘Ultimate Grandparenting’ Myth
The Scenario: Johnny wants cake. “Mommy always says no,” he sniffs. Well-meaning, ever-loving Granny slips the boy a slice of angel food, just this once. And if he wants a brownie, too? Heck, it’s vacation.

The Save: Remember the old saying, “I can spoil them if I want. I’m their grandma”? Forget it. Lock it away with all those other ideas which have proven downright awful after time, like beehive hairdos, Milli Vanilli, and tofurkey. The truth is their parents know their kids best, and the rules are there for a reason. It will be better for them—and saner for you—if your time together mirrors the children’s normal life, with just a smidge of wiggle room. (It is vacation, after all.)

5. The Slip-Up: Failing to Know Before You Go
The Scenario: Little Chrissy is skimboarding under your watchful eye. Then that big wave hits and the board bops her on the nose. You head to the emergency room but have no idea when she had her last tetanus shot or what insurance plan her family has.

The Save: It’s easy to get swept away planning all the fun stuff, but don’t forget to address health and safety issues. “You may think you know everything you need to know about your grandchildren, but you may be unaware of things that are important,” says Nadine Nardi Davidson, author of “Travel With Others Without Wishing They’d Stayed Home” (Prince Publishing, 1999). “It’s a good idea to review the children’s medical history, including any problems, vaccinations, allergies, or the need to use glasses.”

So, make up a fun safety pack with the child’s medical information, necessary medications, insurance card, and a letter from Mom or Dad authorizing you to make medical decisions during the trip. Don’t forget the car seat or booster if you’re traveling by car. After all, nothing will take a vacation off course more quickly than an accident. And if you do make a mistake, forgive yourself and move on. No need to spoil the rest of the vacation by dwelling on the past. Enjoy the time you have together. After all, that “Mom-Mom mistake” will make a great story at family reunions for years to come.

Courtesy of AARP.com

National Parks Threatened by Climate Change

Thinking of planning a trip to a national park you’ve always wanted to visit? You may not want to wait. Experts say national parks from coast to coast are threatened, both their landscapes and wildlife, due to global warming.

“Many of the effects of climate change have been happening faster than anybody expected, and all the parks are in some way experiencing them, whether it’s drought leading to wildfires or coastlines that are vulnerable to sea-level rise,” reported Mark Wenzler, the director of clean-air and climate programs for the National Parks Conservation Association. Some parks are even at risk of losing their most iconic features; for example, the glaciers of Glacier National Park are melting and may disappear within the next two decades.

Threatened National Parks
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Ellis Island National Monument, New York and New Jersey
Everglades National Park, Florida
Glacier National Park, Montana

To read more about why these National Parks are endangered and what you can do to help CLICK HERE

Courtesy of AARP