Out2News Traffic & Travel

FDOT Monitoring Roosevelt Bridge as Hurricane Isaias Approaches

19 Aug FDOT Logo

Tallahassee – As Hurricane Isaias approaches the state, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is prepared to close Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart if we encounter wind speeds of 45 mph or greater. This will allow law enforcement officers enforcing the 5-ton vehicle weight restrictions on the bridge the ability to seek shelter. FDOT will reopen the bridge once tropical storm force winds subside and law enforcement officers can safely return to the bridge. Dixie Highway will remain open for two-way traffic.

FDOT is currently monitoring Hurricane Isaias and coordinating with the Florida Division of Emergency Management on necessary response.

20 July Hurricane Route
20 July During and After

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives

20 July Travel

Article by: Consumer Reports

Long car trips can literally be a pain. But you can remain physically comfortable on long drives with these tips.

Stay alert. Drowsy driving can be fatal. Don’t push yourself to drive late into the night, when you are usually asleep. Switch drivers if you start to fade. If you’re the only driver, get a hotel room.

Pull over every 2 to 3 hours. “Sitting too long is hard on the lower back due to that constant flexed position,” says Lynn Millar, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. It may compress the discs between your vertebrae, potentially leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs. Your neck and hips could get tight, too. Getting out of the car and walking around a bit can help keep you comfortable on long drives.

Stretch your back. On your driving breaks, stand tall and circle your shoulders back five times. Then reach arms overhead and arch back slightly. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower arms and repeat once or twice.

Uncramp your legs. Try this calf and hip-flexor stretch: Stand with feet staggered in a lunge, left knee bent in front and right leg straight behind so that your heel touches the ground. With hands on hips (or holding on to something for balance), clench the right side of your gluteal muscles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Relax your shoulders. Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, slowly draw your head back as far as you can. You might feel a stretch along your upper spine and shoulders. Repeat six times.

Flex your feet. Trips longer than 4 hours increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis, a clot that forms, usually in the lower leg or thigh, says Mary Cushman, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Stopping to walk around helps. Passengers in the car should do ankle rolls and alternate flexing and pointing their feet one at a time every half hour or so.

20 July Summer Main Flyer
July Salt of the Earth
19 Aug FDOT Logo

Roosevelt Bridge Repair Update

Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has completed its initial
assessment of the Roosevelt Bridge and has found that the broken tendons on span one of the southbound bridge are the only major structural repairs that are necessary before reopening the bridge to traffic.

Today, FDOT announced that it has selected a contractor to work with the Design Team and perform the
necessary repairs on span one and also other minor repairs on both bridges. These repairs are anticipated
to take approximately four months, weather and material availability permitting.
Based upon their bridge repair and construction qualifications, Structural Technologies LLC will assist FDOT with finalization of the design plans and complete the necessary repairs to restore the bridge’s strength, with the ultimate goal of re-opening the bridges to all vehicles and six lanes (three in each
direction). The cost of the repairs will be determined once the design and scope of work are final. The
bridge design is anticipated to be complete by the end of July and repair work is anticipated to begin in August.

The Department has also found corrosion at locations in both bridges, which if left unaddressed could cause issues in the future. After restoring the bridge’s strength, allowing it to re-open to traffic, FDOTwill then perform work to address the corrosion and preserve the bridge for decades to come. The preservation work will have little to no impact to traffic in or around the area.

The cause of the corrosion is still under review at this time. FDOT continues to collect samples from the bridges and is sending them to the FDOT materials lab for further examination. The collection of samples is a very methodical process and is taking place along the entirety of the nearly mile-long bridges.

Intermittent lane closures are possible while work is ongoing at the bridge. These closures will be
communicated as soon as possible. FDOT continues to monitor traffic in and around the area and will
make every effort to not impact traffic during peak travel times.

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NORMAL REDEFINED… AGAIN

19 October Cruiseplanners Ad Travel 1 Side

Article by: Les Leibowitz, Cruiseplanners
In the months that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, the country began to re-open rebuild, and get back to normal, only now we faced a different issue, what is the new normal? The things we did on September 10th could no longer be done the way we have always done them, and our daily routines would be changed forever. We now arrive at an airport hours before scheduled flights, and the TSA security checks resemble theme park lines. We also consider things that we never gave a second thought to like going to the movies, shopping malls, and to restaurants. We weigh the benefits and the risks of attending large events, we evaluate crowds, and look to see where emergency exits are. We’ve made adjustments so that we can enjoy our lives safely, and get back to normal.
Well we’ve been challenged once again. COVID-19, “The Coronavirus” appeared like a Hollywood blockbuster, and spared no one. Hopefully you were not one of the many that were physically sickened by the virus, and unfortunately you didn’t have to get sick to be affected. Maybe you know someone that got the virus, or maybe you own a business that had to close due to the virus, you may even just know a business that had to shut down because of the virus, either way it touched everyone in some fashion. We watched and we listened to the experts as they told us the precautions to take in preventing the spread of the illness. As time goes on, we know realistically that staying quarantined indefinitely is just not an option, and at some point those not fortunate enough to work remotely have to get back to their places of business, and kids will have to get back into the classrooms, so we’ll make adjustments to our routines, and we’ll get back to normal.

As the world slowly re-opens, there is a rise in confidence as people once again are beginning to dine out, shop at malls, and gather in small numbers. We know that after being locked down for the last few months, people are ready to get out, and ready to take real vacations again, and destinations around the world are anxiously waiting to welcome guests back. In a few weeks theme parks, and resorts will re-open, and over the summer Cruise ships will start sailing again all with reduced capacities of guests, and new guidelines, and protocols for a safe and healthy visit while trying to minimize any inconvenience. Recently, we have seen a new trend in vacation planning. There has been an increase in interest in tourist attractions within the United States such as beachfront, and mountain resorts, vacation home rentals, and recreational vehicles, and American river cruising just to name a few. While these ideas themselves are not new, they have recently become more popular as people want to stay closer to home, at least for now. All of us in the travel industry are anticipating that the implementation of the new guidelines and procedures will be so seamless that we won’t even realize the adjustments have become part of the daily routine, and we’ll get back to normal.
Finally, Carolyn and I have always said that while it’s not required for all travel, passports and travel insurance are going to be more important for travelers than ever before even if you are staying on the homeland. So, whatever it is that you chose to do, there is no doubt that things will feel different, and at times seem odd for a while, but we’ll get used to it, we’ve done it before. This is normal re-defined, again.
If you have any questions regarding the current travel advisories and guidelines or travel in general, please feel free to contact Carolyn or myself at any time as we will be glad to assist any way that we can.

Leslie Leibowitz
Franchise Owner
t: 772-600-7409
e. leslie.leibowitz@cruiseplanners.com
w. www.itsacruisething.com

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FDOT Treasure Coast Traffic Report August 1 through August 7, 2020

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS MARTIN COUNTY
1. Kanner Highway / State Road 76, from south of Pratt Whitney Road (County Road 711) to SW Jack
James Drive

Description: Kanner Highway is being widened from south of Pratt Whitney Road to SW Jack James Drive.

Work on this 1.94-mile project includes: reconstructing Kanner Highway from CR 711 to Locks Road from a two-lane undivided highway to a four-lane divided highway with a raised median and curb & gutter; adding seven-foot-wide bicycle lanes from CR 711 to Locks Road; adding a 12-foot-wide shared use path on the east side of Kanner Highway from CR 711 to Locks Road; adding a six-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side of
Kanner Highway from CR 711 to Locks Road; installing drainage features that will improve drainage; and resurfacing Kanner Highway from Locks Road to SW Jack James Drive. Access points and turn lanes will be provided throughout the corridor at the following locations: there will be turn lanes at the two signalized intersections CR 711 and Locks Road; full median openings will be at Mary Drive, Tropical Avenue, and SW Old Royal Drive; and a left-turn-only median opening will be located at Beverly Terrace.

Cost/Completion: $12,892,088.57. Completion is expected in summer 2021.
Traffic Impact:
The speed limit on Kanner Highway from south of Pratt Whitney Road to SW Jack James Drive
has been temporarily reduced from 50 MPH to 45 MPH. This speed limit reduction will be in
place through the end of the project.
One lane in either direction of Kanner Highway from Pratt Whitney Road to SW Jack James
Drive will be closed intermittently Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for roadway
work. For lane closures on Kanner Highway where there is only one existing lane in each
direction, two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew.
One lane in either direction of Pratt Whitney Road at the Kanner Highway intersection will be
closed intermittently Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for roadway work. Two-way
traffic will be maintained by a flag crew.
The sidewalk on the west side of Kanner Highway is closed through fall 2020. Pedestrians
should use the newly constructed shared use path on the east side of Kanner Highway. Please note, due to current roadway conditions the shared use path terminates prior to Locks Road and Pratt Whitney Road/SW96th Street for pedestrian safety. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Kathleen Dempsey at 772-359-5118.

2. U.S. 1 Shoulder Widening and Resurfacing Project, from South of SE Heritage Boulevard to North
of SE Salerno Road

Description: U.S. 1 is undergoing a shoulder widening and resurfacing project from south of SE Heritage
Boulevard to north of SE Salerno Road. The improvements include: milling and resurfacing of all travel lanes, turn lanes, and shoulders; widening the shoulders to accommodate 7-foot buffered bicycle lanes; addressing pavement failures at Cove Road and Salerno Road; upgrading sidewalk and pedestrian ramps to meet American
with Disabilities Act (ADA)standards; upgrading signing and pavement markings; installing new pedestrian
countdown signal heads at multiple signalized intersections; upgrading traffic controller cabinets at all signalized intersections; and installing lighting improvements at Salerno Road and Cove Road intersections.

Cost/Completion: $8,446,060. Completion is expected in spring 2021.

Traffic Impact:
Intermittent lane closures will occur at the U.S. 1/Cove Road intersection Monday through Friday
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for roadway work and lighting installation. During this time, turning lanes
may be closed but traffic will still be able to make turns utilizing the through travel lane.

Intermittent lane closures will occur at the U.S. 1/Salerno Road intersection Monday through
Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for roadway work and lighting installation. During this time, turning lanes may be closed but traffic will still be able to make turns utilizing the through travel lane.
The southbound inside lane of U.S. 1 at the Cove Road intersection is closed around-the-clock for roadway work.

Two northbound lanes of U.S. 1 will be closed Monday through Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 6
a.m. for paving.

Intermittent sidewalk closures will occur on either side of U.S. 1. Pedestrians should cross at the
nearest signalized intersections and follow the detour signage in place. For more information,
please contact Community Outreach Specialist Kathleen Dempsey at 772-359-5118.
3. State Road 714/Martin Downs Boulevard/Palm City Bridge Fender System Replacement Project
Over the South Fork of the St. Lucie River Description: The State Road 714/Palm City Bridge fender system replacement project over the South Fork of the St. Lucie River started July 7, 2020. The improvements on this project include removing and replacing the fender system on the south side of the Palm City Bridge.
Cost/Completion: $888,985. Completion is expected in fall 2020.

Traffic Impact:
All lanes are open through July 17. For more information, please contact Community Outreach
Specialist Kathleen Dempsey at 772-359-5118.

4. Martin Highway from Martin Downs Boulevard to I-95 in Palm City
Traffic Impact:
The eastbound shoulder and lane of Martin Highway will be intermittently closed Monday
through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for utility work. For more information, please contact Steve
Jungjohan at 772-882-5084.

5. Martin Highway from 84th Avenue to I-95 in Palm City
Traffic Impact:
The eastbound lane of Martin Highway will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. for utility work. Two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew. For more information,
please contact Steve Jungjohan at 772-882-5084.

6. Kanner Highway from Lost River Road to Cove Road in Stuart
Traffic Impact:
One northbound lane of Kanner Highway will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. through Jul. 24 for irrigation installation. For more information, please contact Sam Bernal
at 407-877-7473.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

7. Midway Road Widening Project, from S. 25th Street to U.S. 1
Description: This 1.8-mile project includes: reconstructing the existing two-lane Midway Road to a four-lane, divided highway with a raised median; installing a new signal at Sunrise Boulevard; constructing a new bridge over the North Fork St. Lucie River; constructing a 6-foot sidewalk on the north side and a 12-foot multipurpose trail on the south side Midway Road; constructing 4-foot bike lanes on both sides of the roadway;
reconstruction of S. 25th Street approximately 1000’ to the south & north of Midway Road; reconstruction of
Sunrise Boulevard from W. 1st Street to Charlotta Street; reconstruction of Oleander Avenue from W. 2nd Street
to Merritt’s Ditch; drainage improvements, including constructing 6 retention ponds at 5 locations; and signage,
signalization, and lighting improvements.

Cost/Completion: $26.85 million. Completion is expected in fall 2021.

Traffic Impact:
One lane in either direction of Midway Road between 25th Street and U.S. 1 may be closed Monday
through Friday except from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for drainage activities, signalization,
bridge work, and embankment/excavation. Two-way traffic will be maintained with a flag crew. One lane in either direction of Oleander Avenue between West 1st Street and just north of Midway Road by Merritt’s Ditch may be closed Monday through Friday except from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for drainage activities and signalization. Two-way traffic will be maintained with a flag crew.
One lane in either direction of Sunrise Boulevard between West 1st Street and Augusta Street may be
closed Monday through Friday except from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for drainage activities,
embankment, and signalization. Two-way traffic will be maintained with a flag crew.

One lane in each direction of 25th St. from 1,200’ north to 500’ south of Midway Road may have daytime and nighttime lane closures Monday through Friday except for between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. for drainage work. One lane in either direction of Melville Road just south of Midway Road may be closed Monday through Friday except from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for drainage. A flag crew will maintain two-way traffic.
One lane in either direction of U.S. 1 at Midway Road may be closed Monday through Friday except from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for signalization and lighting.
Eastbound and westbound traffic on Midway Road from just east of Oleander Avenue to Star Avenue is shifted to the south on the newly constructed roadway to facilitate roadway construction to the north.
Eastbound and westbound traffic on Midway Road from 25th Street to Oleander Avenue is shifted to the north on the newly constructed roadway to facilitate roadway construction to the south.

Northbound and southbound traffic on Oleander Avenue from 2nd Street to Merritt’s Ditch is
shifted to the west on the newly constructed roadway to facilitate roadway construction to the
east.

Northbound and southbound traffic on Sunrise Boulevard from 1st Street to Charlotta Street is
shifted to the west on the newly constructed roadway to facilitate roadway construction to the
east.

Northbound and southbound traffic on 25th Street from Canoe Creek Lane to approximately
1,000 feet north of Midway Road is shifted to the east to facilitate roadway construction to the
west.

8. Kings Highway Widening Project, from South of State Road 70 to North of the I-95 Overpass
Description: Kings Highway / State Road 713 is being widened from south of State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass in the City of Ft. Pierce and unincorporated St. Lucie County. The improvements on this 3.417-mile project include: reconstructing the existing two-lane undivided Kings Highway with a newly constructed fourlane divided roadway, relocating Canal No. 40 and Canal No. 32E to accommodate widening to the west, realigning Kings Highway at the intersection with Okeechobee Road which will improve the existing connection
with the Turnpike, replacing existing culverts/swales and installing a closed drainage system and retention ponds, installing a new highway lighting system, and upgrading signalization with vehicle detection devices and ITS cameras. Features of the new roadway will include: a 30-foot wide median with Type E Curb and Gutter (22-foot-wide raised plus two four-foot-wide paved inside shoulders), 6.5-foot-wide outside shoulders which
will also serve as buffered bicycle lanes, a 12-foot-wide shared use path along the west side, and a 6-foot-wide sidewalk along the east side.

Cost/Completion: $45,221,785.65. Completion is expected in fall 2022.

Traffic Impact:
The speed limit on Kings Highway from south of Okeechobee Road / State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass has been temporarily reduced from 50 MPH to 40 MPH. This speed limit reduction will be in place through the end of the project. One lane in either direction of Kings Highway may be intermittently closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through fall 2022 for roadway work. Two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew. During this time, intermittent side street closures may occur, maintaining two-way traffic at all times.

Southbound Kings Highway just north of Okeechobee Road is shifted to the east through spring
2021 to facilitate roadway reconstruction. During this time, the southbound to eastbound turning
lanes is reduced to one lane.
Southbound and northbound Kings Highway at the Orange Avenue intersection is reduced to one lane in each direction through spring 2021, temporarily removing the designated turning lanes, to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
Full Closure: Crossroads Parkway just east of Kings Highway is closed for reconstruction of Crossroads Parkway. This full closure is anticipated to be in place through August 2020, weather permitting. During this time, motorists heading north on Kings Highway should detour via Graham Road to South Jenkins Road to Okeechobee Road. Motorists heading southbound on
Kings Highway should detour via Okeechobee Road. For more information, please contact
Community Outreach Specialist Kathleen Dempsey at 772-359-5118.
9. Orange Avenue from Angle Road to Jenkins Road in Ft. Pierce

Traffic Impact:
One westbound lane of Orange Avenue will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. for utility work. For more information, please contact Steve Jungjohan at 772-882-5084.
10. U.S. 1 from Easy Street to Weatherbee Road in Ft. Pierce

Traffic Impact:
One northbound lane of U.S. 1 will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for utility work. For more information, please contact Steve Jungjohan at 772-882-5084.

11. U.S. 1 from Midway Road to South Market Avenue in Ft. Pierce

Traffic Impact:
One northbound lane of U.S. 1 will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
through Jul. 24 for utility work. For more information, please contact Tim Barry at 315-708-9577.
12. State Road A1A just North of Avalon Avenue in Ft. Pierce

Traffic Impact:
The northbound lane of State Road A1A will be closed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. to construct an entrance. Two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew. For more information, please contact RJ Buchmeyer at 772-370-9144.

20 June International Travel

Driving Tips to Help You Increase Gas Mileage

20 June Driving Tips 1

Article Courtesy of AAA

Your car isn’t the only factor that directly impacts how much gasoline you use (and pay for) each year—it’s also how you drive.

Fuel is the second biggest cost of owning a car, according to AAA research. But there are ways to use less. Simply driving sensibly—avoiding rapid acceleration and braking, for example—can save you up to 40 percent on gas in stop-and-go traffic, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Here are driving tips to help you increase gas mileage—which, in return, will save you money at the pump:

Accelerate gradually
Avoid “jackrabbit” starts, but don’t accelerate too slowly.

20 June Driving Tips 2

Pro tip: Drive like there’s an egg on the gas pedal—press evenly and gently on the accelerator to avoid breaking the egg.
Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Be consistent
Tests have shown that using cruise control when driving on level highway roads can save gas. That’s because maintaining a constant speed requires less accelerating and braking. Just remember to avoid using cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
Estimate how much gas your vehicle will use on a road trip with the AAA Gas Cost Calculator.

Lose unnecessary vehicle weight
Every pound of unnecessary stuff in your car reduces fuel economy, and rooftop carriers multiply the effect with additional wind resistance. If you’re not using that bike rack and don’t need that box of old books, leave them at home to increase gas mileage.

Anticipate stops
Stay aware of traffic ahead of you; when you anticipate you’ll need to stop, let your foot off the gas as early as possible (using brakes as necessary to let other motorists know your intentions). Time stoplights to maintain momentum and avoid unnecessary stop and go.

20 June Driving Tips 3

Pro-tip: Using a prepaid pass on toll roads can help avoid stops and increase gas mileage, too.

Avoid excessive idling
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and whether you’re using the air conditioner, according to fueleconomy.gov. Avoid long warm-ups in the morning, and when safe to do so, shut off your engine if you’ll be stopped for more than a minute.

Combine errands into one trip
Getting more things done in one outing can help increase gas mileage. Also consider what time you’re heading out—avoiding stop-and-go rush hour traffic can save you time and money.

Bonus tip: Give your car some TLC

These don’t involve driving, but good habits in maintaining your car can help increase gas mileage. Reduce fuel economy by maintaining recommended tire pressure, keeping the air filter clean and replacing exhaust oxygen sensors before they fail.

Mar Healthy Tips

Cruise Planners “Don’t Let Our Name Fool You”

me and carolyn

Article by: Les Leibowitz – Cruise Planners

Finding a subject for an article is not always as easy as one might think.  As the author you want to compose something that is both interesting and helpful for the reader and for the author. I found that for me the easiest topics come from common questions that Carolyn and I get from people such as what is the best Cruise ship or the best destination, but here is the one question that comes up even more often than the others, and that is “do you just do cruises”?  The short answer is No, but then that would violate the rule of making this article interesting and helpful.

“Cruise planners” is an American Express Travel Partner with its corporate headquarters based in Florida and is the largest home-based travel franchise in the nation with over 2,000 franchise owners. We’ve owned our franchise for fifteen years and operate it locally in Palm City with associates of our franchise on Florida’s West Coast, Northern Florida, and New York City.  While the name says who we are, it hardly scratches the surface about what we do.  As cruising is ever so popular today with oceans full of ships to meet just about everyone’s life style and wallet and offers such things as fine dining, Broadway style entertainment and theme park style adventure all in one place, we can also provide vacation options far beyond the deep blue sea.  An industry term commonly known as a “full service” agency, means that we can build for you a land vacation as you want it with destinations from right here in the U.S. to historic cities of Europe or even an adventurous African Safari.  As we do with all our cruise industry partners, Cruise planners maintains partnerships with the world’s leading tour vendors and suppliers providing us and you with the best overall availability and experience possible.  From a simple hotel stay with lazy days on the beach to golf at the pebble beach resort, from a Colorado ski trip to Scuba diving in the Galapagos, A historic tour of the Civil War battlefields to retracing the footsteps of the D-day invasion with the “Beyond the Band of Brothers Tour”. Anywhere in the world that you can think of going either by land or by sea, Cruise planners can get you there. As it says in all of our advertising we are “your land and cruise experts.  

How to Plan the Perfect MLB Spring Training Trip

Mar Travel Photo

Article by: The Discoverer Blog
Photo Credit: Evan Meyer/Shutterstock

For most people in North America, spring starts with the vernal equinox in March. But for baseball fans, it starts much earlier than that — around mid-February, to be exact, when MLB teams report to either Florida (the Grapefruit League) or Arizona (the Cactus League) for spring training.

Not too long ago, spring training trips were thought to be reserved for only the most die-hard fanatics. (Think: Jimmy Fallon's character in "Fever Pitch.") These days, though, they're popular among even casual fans, as well as families and road-trippers from neighboring states. And no wonder — what's not to love about a quick getaway filled with sunshine, baseball, and good food?

If you're new to the spring training experience, or thinking about planning a trip to see your favorite team this spring, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time.

Time Your Trip Strategically

Players report to spring training in early February, but games start toward the end of the month and last through mid- to late March. Sometimes the easiest way to plan your trip is to look at your team's schedule and see when they're playing key rivals, or when they have the highest concentration of games in a short span of time. (Split-squad games happen frequently, so there are some weeks when you can see a team play twice in one day.)

Keep in mind, though, that teams tend to narrow down their rosters as the regular season approaches, so if seeing lots of potential future big leaguers is important to you, it's best to visit earlier in the spring. On the other hand, if you want to get a feel for what the team will look like in the more immediate future, you're better off planning a trip for one of the final weeks, when your favorite starters will play deeper into games. Either way, try to factor in a weekday or two; training facilities can be very crowded on weekends, especially for teams with fan bases in or near Arizona and Florida, so you'll have more opportunities for player interaction on a Wednesday or Thursday than on a Saturday or Sunday.

AMAZING AZAMARA

DSC_451

Article by: Les Leibowitz - Cruiseplanners

When it comes to cruising, the question I’m asked more than any other is “what is your favorite cruise”? My wife Carolyn has an analogy that she likes to use to respond to that question. She says cruising is like pizza, not everyone likes the same. Each person has their individual taste and opinion as to which pizzeria makes the best slice. Cruising follows that same path; everyone has their favorite cruise line and ship. To complicate things even more, there’s different levels of luxury that people like when they travel, and like pizza it can divide a household.

Carolyn and I started cruising when adventure on a ship was considered shuffle board and ping pong tournaments. Now it’s rock climbing walls, bumper cars, ice skating, surfing, and more. Cruising has become a resort at sea with the added value that families want. For people that don’t want all of that, others options exist. We recently tried a new cruise experience, new to us anyway. We sailed Azamara Cruise Line’s “Azamara Journey” one of three ships in the Azamara fleet. As a part of the Royal Caribbean family of brands, its known as a Boutique Luxury Cruise line with concierge style service, and included amenities such as beverages and gratuities. Azamara’s smaller ships only accommodate approximately six hundred guests per sailing allowing longer stays, and more overnights in ports that the larger ships can’t access. Unlike the massive floating cities that today’s newer ships have become, the much smaller ships of Azamara have a lower guest to staff ratio providing you with the personal comforts of a luxury vacation that have become lost by its larger sisters. The Captain along with many of the senior officers can be spotted all around the ship daily making sure that their guests are being well attended to.

Azamara doesn’t sail the typical seven-night loop week after week. Their ships sail longer and more unique itineraries ranging from ten nights to seventeen nights and even longer. Azamara is also know for their signature events including a white night deck party with dinner and dancing, and their “Azamazing evening” where the entire ship is immersed in local culture on a complimentary one of a kind shore excursion. Step onboard, and there are no flashing neon lights, or bold colored upholstered furniture, no loud music or crowded bars in the lobby. Instead, there is a simple décor of light-colored walls, dark wood trim, glass accents, and beautiful staircases wrapped with black wrought iron rails topped with shiny brass rail caps reminiscent of classic ocean liners. The staterooms are also beautiful and simply decorated right down to the fresh vase of flowers.

Dining options are plentiful with an array of choices. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main dining room, the buffet or in the two specialty restaurants. There are no set dining seating’s so you can eat at your leisure. We never experienced a wait and were able to sit at a table of our choice either for two or with others. A very talented group of professional singers, dancers and musicians perform at different times in different venues throughout the cruise. This is definitely not the cruise for a family looking for all the bells and whistles of adventure, the average age of the Azamara guest is fifty-eight years young and above. They market to the retiree with schedule flexibility. However, if you are outside of their target age, know cruising and enjoy a peaceful voyage surrounded by local culture then you will certainly enjoy Azamara as we did.

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How to Love the Middle Seat

Article by: The Discoverer Blog

The middle seat on an airplane has gotten a bad rap. It may not be as alluring as the window seat, which offers a bird’s eye view of the world below, nor does it provide the freedom of the aisle seat, where frequent trips to the lavatory are permitted. But with the right kind of attitude and a certain amount of preparedness, the middle seat can still provide a pleasant flying experience. Don't believe us? Here's how you too can fall in love with the middle seat.

From refraining to recline your seat in flight to deplaning in an orderly fashion, air travel has an inordinate amount of etiquette rules. Regardless of whether you agree with these unspoken mandates, there is one stipulation about middle seats that could work in your favor. Each airplane seat is permitted one distinguished perk — the aisle has the most breathing space, the window seat has a built-in headrest, and the middle seat is allowed both armrests. So, next time you find yourself stuck in the middle, take full advantage of those armrests — you deserve it.

When you’re stuck in a middle seat, there’s a chance that the person sitting next to you is interesting. So why not chat with them? You might meet someone fascinating or learn something new. If the exchange goes well, you could even make a new travel buddy along the way. Even better, the middle seat is the perfect place for professional networking — you never know where a new connection might be. Either way, a little friendly conversation can go a long way and the middle seat is the perfect place to start.

Bringing your own entertainment is crucial for any flight, but especially when you're in the middle seat. If the middle seat makes you feel cramped or awkward, distraction is key. Download Netflix shows on your phone, dive into a new podcast, or bring a good book. Most important of all, make sure you come prepared. Charge your phone or pack an extra battery pack. If you’re a speedy reader, bring more than one book. With a little diversion, time will fly by — even in the middle seat.

Whether you’re booking basic economy, traveling with a partner or friend, or using an airline without assigned seating, a middle seat could be in your near future. So why not embrace it? Any plane ride — no matter how long — is only for a finite amount of time and anything that is temporary is manageable. Instead of focusing on the middle seat, focus on where you’re headed. Hopefully, it’s somewhere exciting, adventurous, or beautiful — and that should make your undesirable seat location totally worth it.

There Are So Many Benefits of Traveling?!

Traveling

Article by: Pete R.

Everyone keeps saying how important it is to travel. So what's all this fuss about?

The benefits of traveling are not just a one-time thing: traveling changes you physically and psychologically. Having little time or money isn't a valid excuse. You can fly for cheap very easily. If you have a full-time job and a family, you can still travel on the weekends or holidays, even with a baby.

Here are some of the main benefits of traveling. And I'm sure that once you get started, you'll find some more yourself!

Traveling Improves Your Health
Traveling Disconnects You From Your Daily Life
Traveling Makes You Smarter
Traveling Improves Your Understanding of Other Cultures
Traveling Makes You More Interesting
Traveling Allows You to Try Amazing Food
Traveling Makes You Feel Like An Adventurer
Traveling Expands Your (Real) Social Network
Traveling Creates Lifetime Memories
Traveling Makes You Love Your Home Even More

Final Words On the Benefits of Traveling

Traveling Doesn't Make You Feel (As) Bad For Spending Money

There is (yet) another one by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.” Cliché as this may sound, the money you spend on travel, is an investment in yourself. Travel doesn't make you feel as bad for spending money.

And one last benefit of traveling: it might provide some money when your flight is disrupted!

A Real ID is a Form of Identification

As interesting as this may seem, so many people are still not aware of a deadline on the horizon for what is known as “Real ID”.  A Real ID is a form of Identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a Real ID or another TSA approved form of Identification in order to fly after October 1, 2020.

The following is a recent article from the NY Times detailing what you need to know about the importance of the Real ID, and how to obtain them.

By Tariro Mzezewa

Oct. 2, 2019

Americans are not ready for the Real ID Act that goes into full effect a year from now, according to a survey released last week by the nonprofit trade group U.S. Travel Association.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to increase security measures concerning state-issued personal identification cards, mainly driver’s licenses, that are often used to access airports and military bases and nuclear installations. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, only Real ID-compliant documentation will be accepted for boarding commercial flights, including domestic flights, and entering federal buildings and military bases.

Compliant documentation includes passports (which are still required for international flights), passport cards and trusted traveler identification like Global Entry. But a majority of Americans turn to their driver’s licenses to pass through security for their domestic air travel, and only 42 percent of Americans hold passports.

Some 99 million Americans do not have the Real ID-compliant identification, the U.S. Travel Association said.

 Once the October deadline is passed, travelers will be turned away from airports when they cannot provide the approved identification at security checkpoints, potentially causing confusion and chaos.

“If Real ID went into effect tomorrow, almost 80,000 people trying to board a plane would be denied on Day 1,” the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement.

“This is significant not only because it will inconvenience travelers and create confusion at U.S. airports. It could do significant damage to our nation’s economy,” said Roger Dow, the president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association.

Many states, which oversee the task of issuing and processing driver’s licenses and many other forms of documents used to prove identification, were slow to adopt. Some have experienced delays, miscommunication with the federal government and technical glitches in their effort to issue Real IDs​ to residents​.

The Department of Homeland Security, tasked with implementing the Real ID Act, reminded Americans to get their Real IDs and acknowledged that significant progress has been made in issuing the IDs in less than two years​. Forty-seven states are currently issuing the IDs, up from 26 in January ​2017.

To receive a Real ID-compliant license, the Department of Homeland Security requires people to provide documentation showing their full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. Licenses are still processed by the state; some states may require more information.

​Travelers also have the option of getting an Enhanced ID, ​which is Real ID-compliant and can be used for domestic travel, as well as for traveling from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries by sea or land, but not on flights. Enhanced IDs are only available to American citizens, while anyone with lawful​​ presence in the United States can get a Real ID​. ​​

Most Real ID licenses display a star in the top right corner, and Enhanced ID license have the word “Enhanced” printed across the top span.

The U.S. Travel Association is urging Americans to check their Real ID status at their state’s motor vehicle department. The organization is also asking states to encourage residents to upgrade their license sooner than later.

For more information visit the Department of Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov.

Inventive Hotel Hacks for the Savvy Traveler

Article by: The Discoverer Blog
We can't deter chain hotels from serving sad scrambled eggs at continental breakfast or cap the amount of running kids around the fifth-floor hot tub, but we can alleviate some of the anguish. We know your king suite's not perfect. But a few weeks ago one Twitter user, Rick Klau, shared a genius hotel trick that spawned a brilliant thread of travelers sharing their best hotel tricks. Check out these eight inventive hotel hacks that won't stop trending on Twitter. You, savvy traveler, deserve only the best rest.

Keep the Curtains Closed With a Hanger

That tiny crack about a newspaper's width will make you wish you could gauge your eyes out at 3 a.m. when the cheap orange street lights are aglow beneath the same Chili's sign. @johnfein's solution is shutting the curtains with a hotel pen clip. Others chimed in sharing that binder clips, hair clips, safety pins, and clothespins do the trick too, if you can remember to bring them along. However, the two clips on the hanger in your closet will work too.

19 Aug Random Travel Tips