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Packing for a vacation can be a maddening experience. You spend hours digging through your closets, chests of drawers, and other storage spaces looking for all the right clothes. Then comes the fun part: Trying to pack it all into a suitcase while staying under the weight limit. You surely don’t want to get socked with a surcharge once you arrive at the airline ticket counter.

Throughout this mind-bending exercise, it’s easy to overlook some very important steps that can help make your Arizona vacation go smoother, especially if you suffer a loss. Here are some suggestions to consider before packing your luggage.

1. Buy a backpack. Talk about versatile baggage. Forget that small piece of luggage that comes snuggled inside your main suitcase. A backpack has multiple storage compartments that secure with a zipper, and it easily stores in the overhead bins. Best of all, you can sling it over your shoulder for easy transport.

2. Store your valuables in the backpack during the flight. This will keep them in sight, but also protects them. A 35mm SLR camera and a handheld transceiver (H-T, to you ham radio ops out there), bit the dust on separate trips because I stashed them in the suitcase. Even though I wrapped them in clothing, they still got jostled enough to break. A very costly learning experience.

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3. Make photocopies of your passport. Leave one copy at home or with a trusted friend. The others are stashed in your room safe. (If you don’t have access to a safe, hide the paperwork in rolled up clothing.) If your passport is lost or stolen, the sooner you can provide the consulate or embassy with a photocopy, the faster you’ll get a new passport. You may even consider scanning the appropriate page, and leaving that file home. Your contact there can easily e-mail the file, should that become necessary.

Vacations Increase Employee Health And Productivity

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It is almost that time again: time to reflect on the old year and bring in the new. What is your New Year's Resolution?

If you are making a New Year's Resolution, you are not alone. Millions of Americans make a New Year's Resolution. While popular goals are weight loss or to stop smoking, there may be one goal you haven't thought of before. Giving to charity—whether it’s money, donations, or your time—is a great way to kick off the new year. Besides helping others in need, giving to charity has several positives for the giver.

Even if life is going great, giving can be a challenge. Money and resources can always be spent elsewhere and finding the time to volunteer can be tricky. Despite these challenges, giving can reap personal and even financial benefits that outweigh the sacrifice.

Here are the biggest benefits of giving back this new year:

1. Make Your Brain Happy

Science may not seem to have much in common with the matters of the heart, so you might be surprised at this first benefit. Donating can activate the reward areas of your brain. A study from the University of Oregon showed that charitable actions trigger a similar reaction to drugs or other pleasurable stimuli, releasing happy chemicals including dopamine and endorphins. Another research study from the National Institutes of Health looked at participants who decided to donate a portion of $100. The people who did donate experienced a similarly positive reaction in their brains.

Instead of splurging on a new dress or pair of jeans, make a New Year's Resolution to donate to charity and enjoy the good vibes.

2. Help Others Who Need it Most

In a perfect world, there’s always a good time to give. But real life is different. There’s always a friend's birthday or big vacation to save up for. But while you are making your big plans for the new year, there will always be someone out there who could use your help.

Giving back doesn't always have to mean monetary donations. Volunteering your time and your talents can be an incredible gift as well. Do you have a knack for arts and crafts? Make a resolution to work with the kids in the neighborhood to build simple art products. Are you a musician? Visit your nearest nursing home and perform a mini-show for the residents.

There are times where it’s tricky to donate time or money. If you own a good amount of extra clothing or toys, you can donate these to your local thrift store or organization. These items are especially useful during a natural disaster when families have lost everything and need the basics to get back on their feet.

3. Be a Role Model for Friends and Family

If your New Year's Resolution is to connect better with your children, consider donating to charity. Seeing you give will set a solid example for children - think of others and help those in need. You can also encourage your children to give a portion of their allowance or go through their old toys to see what they can give away. It’s important to let your children decide on what to give so they don't feel like it’s another chore.

Tell your family and friends about your resolution to give more this year. Letting them know will help make you accountable throughout the year as well as motivate them to donate.

When you do give, make it personal. Do research and find causes important to you. Don't feel limited to giving money: your time and old items can be equally helpful to those in need.  

4. Copy any pertinent medical records and prescription information as above.

Guided City Tour in Arizona 

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Encourage staff and managers to take their vacation time. Even a day or two of vacation can make a huge difference in employee motivation. Now is the best time to plan the summer schedule and ensure that your employees are taking those earned and deserved vacation days.

USA TODAY (MAR 01 2007) published that some 51% of executives surveyed by Accountemps, Menlo Park, Calif., a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals, maintain they are more productive after a vacation than before

Now there is more proof that vacations increase employee productivity and even improve overall health, as the Travel Industry Association released its conclusions from studies of data that looked at the health benefits of vacation travel.

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, travelers rate their overall health 1 full point higher while on vacation.
  • Travelers say they get three times more deep sleep and sleep almost 20 minutes longer after their vacation.
  • Even the anticipation of vacation travel generates an increase in positive feelings about one's life as a whole, family, economic situation, and health.
  • An annual vacation can cut a person's risk of heart attack by 50 percent
  • Women who take more vacations are more satisfied with their marriages.
  • More than half of employed Americans say they come back feeling reconnected with their family after vacation.
  • Three out of four executives believe that vacations are necessary for them to prevent burnout or that vacations improve their personal job performance.
  • Travelers experience a 25 percent increase in performance on vigilance tests after returning from vacation - travelers 45 or older show a 50 percent increase in performance.
  • Two out of three executives believe that vacations improve their creativity.

Results indicate that annual vacations can improve health, quality of daily life, productivity, and commitment to family and the workplace.


 

Vacation Things To Do