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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 and Texas .

USA Today 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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.

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

5. Record the lost/stolen number of your credit card company. Include the last eight digits of your card number for quick reference. Keep a copy in your room safe and hidden in your suitcase. (Remember that thieves are most interested in valuables and cash.)

6. Leave contact information in your suitcase. Don't rely solely on the hang tag provided by the airline or tour company. Those can tear off during flight. Stash a couple business cards inside your luggage (ditto for your backpack).

7. Buy a money pouch. These are great for storing cash and documents, including your passport. They are inexpensive and available in lots of places.

Yes, packing for a vacation can be a lot of work, but is worth it. Every moment spent carefully planning for contingencies just adds to the comfort as you are relaxing on the beach or in the pool.

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Idea #1: Family activities for water lovers.

Broken Bow Lake has over 14,000 acres of pristine deep water. The water is incredibly clear and cool because its 180 miles of shore is lined with the forest covered Kiamichi Mountains. Nature in its most unspoiled state is found along the Glover River, Oklahoma's only untamed waterway (which means there are no dams blocking its course). Because Glover is secluded, its calm waters are ideal for floating on a raft. Beavers Bend has paddle boats and bumper boats. Rent a canoe and take a long lazy cruise together. Take turns paddling, then stop and drift for awhile, taking in the scenery - that includes Eagles flying overhead. Canoes seat two adults and two small children. Older kids will love kayaking, rafting or zooming around the lake on jet skis.

Idea #2: Create your own family posse on horseback.

Southeastern Oklahoma is home to over 535,000 acres of land available for horseback riding. The Ouachita National Forest and the Three Rivers Wildlife Management areas are prime areas for exploration as a family. Horses can travel on the forest floor. The Beavers Bend Depot is perfect for beginners and children where a 2.5 mile ride allows riders to catch a glimpse of deer and various types of wildlife. For more experienced riders, the back roads of McCurtain County offer endless riding adventures.

Idea #3: Play a game of family golf in a pine-laden wilderness.

The course has a pro shop, resident pro, cart and club rentals. Fairways cascade through stands of pine, oak, and hickory and past deer, fox, and wild turkey. More than one hole offers a fine view of Broken Bow Lake and the occasional glimpse of bald eagles.

Idea #4: Take a stroll together in a nearby small town

Head to nearby Broken Bow, OK to walk around and do some window-shopping. Grab hamburgers at Stephen's Gap. Catch an old timey radio show live on Broadway Street. Watch chainsaw sculpting at Hochatown Junction Station. Culture and history are plentiful in Broken Bow with three museums each with its own unique subject to offer a rewarding learning experience. The Gardner Mansion and Museum has a collection of pre-historic and historic Indian and pioneer artifacts. Located outside the museum are the remains of a 2,000 year-old Cypress tree.

Spending quality time together as a family can solidify and strengthen family ties, particularly when activities involve water sports, the great outdoors and splendor of nature as that can be found in McCurtain County.


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Vacation Things To Do Sightseeing