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Commercial Medical Escorts Urges Online Travelers ‘Think Before You Click’

by Lux Joseph 18. September 2014

Despite media hype pitting travel agents against the Internet, travel agents continue to embrace the Web as a valuable source of travel information and encourage their clients to take advantage of it. However, Joseph McNamara, President of Sky Cap Corp advises consumers to exercise caution before buying travel products online.

"Buying travel on the Internet is not for everyone," says McNamara. "Consumers have to know what to ask and when to ask it or they could end up wasting hundreds of dollars and countless hours on a trip that fails to meet their expectations."

As part of its continuing mission to provide useful travel information for its clients, Sky Cap Corp addresses many of the common concerns and questions consumers face when considering buying travel online.

Should consumers use the Internet to plan a trip? "Absolutely," said McNamara "But the key word here is ‘plan’. The Internet is a great source of information about destinations, hotels, attractions, local transportation and weather and more. However, the Internet often doesn’t provide the detail and depth travelers need to prepare a complete itinerary." Travelers should always consult a professional travel agency such as Sky Cap Corp before making any travel purchase. This is one of the reasons why Commercial Medical Escorts is so successful with travel arrangements for our patients.

Do consumers get the lowest airfare from a travel Web site? Not always. Most "bargains" sold on the Internet are usually for limited times and are highly restricted, forcing some travelers to change their itineraries to include a "red-eye" flight or layovers. Some sites that allow consumers to perform a search for the lowest price don’t include discounted consolidator air tickets. While other Internet sites do offer these tickets, traditional travel agencies offer the same discounts, in addition to valuable customer service and expertise.

Are tour prices cheaper online? Usually, no. Although many wholesale tour operators maintain Web sites, they don’t offer discounts there. Sky Cap Corp can help clients choose the tour that’s right for them and in most cases save the client as much money if not more.

Is the Internet a good source for hotel discounts? Although several hotel chains offer discounts on their Web sites, duplicate promotions are usually available offline. Hotel discounters have sites as well, but the best deals usually come from chain-sponsored promotions and parallel deals offered through your local travel agent. These experienced travel agents can also help clients find hotels at locations most convenient for them.

Other common consumer concerns about buying travel online include issues of security, cancellations and customer service. It is particularly important for those planning trips involving groups, young children and the disabled to seek the help of a travel agent. In addition, today’s consumers are increasingly seeking unique, customized trips that often require the assistance of a skilled travel professional.

"The bottom line is that smart travelers know their time, money and travel dreams are too important to be left floating in cyber-space," said McNamara. "And the customer satisfaction that comes with a travel agents’ hard work, expertise and quality service will never go out of style. We are there for our clients before, during and after their trip."

Take a Break to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

by Lux Joseph 14. September 2014

Does your job require you to be in front of a computer 8 hours a day? Or when you are at home do you spend a great deal of time watching TV or using other electronic devices with a screen? If you are using any type of digital technology for prolonged periods of time you could be subject to computer vision syndrome, or CVS. This is strain on your eyes caused by using a computer or other technological devices for long periods of time. At CME, our Medical Evacuation Coordinators job duties require them to utilize a computer throughout their shift, but CME takes measures to ensure CVS does not affect their performance at work or at home.
 
As an individual you should be aware of the effects that CVS may have on you and things that you can do to prevent it. For some people, there may not be any alternative to working on a computer for your entire shift at work. However, with some of these tips you will be able to reduce the amount of discomfort to your eyes. Some symptoms of CVS include headache, back, neck or shoulder pain; increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, or even double vision. None of these will cause permanent damage, but these symptoms could affect your work performance or your performance at home.
 
When individuals blink, they are bathing their eyes in therapeutic tears. This will moisten and refresh the surface of the corneas. Some people are not aware that when you are looking at a computer screen or other digital devices you tend to blink less and therefore this can result in your eyes being dry and not receiving adequate amount of moisture to keep them wet and refreshed.
 
Viewing a computer screen and other electronic device screens make your eyes work harder. If you work in this type of environment, you must realize that you are putting strain on your body and vision. Other factors that you should be aware of that can cause CVS are:
 

  • Poor Lighting
  • Glare on the Screen
  • Improper Viewing Distance
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • Poor Seating Posture
  • Any combination of these factors

 
If you think that you may have CVS, we would recommend that you go see your ophthalmologist and they will be able to accurately diagnose CVS. This is done through a comprehensive eye examination as well as an assessment of your environment and work factors that may contribute to the symptoms that you are experiencing.
 
However there are also things that you can do for yourself to help prevent CVS and to ensure you are comfortable throughout the workday. By using some of the following tips you will see a difference in how your body and eyes feel when using electronic devices.
 

  • Your monitor should be positioned in front of you so that there is 20 to 40 inches from your eyes with the top of the screen at eye level
  • The letters on the screen should be easy for you to read. Adjust the contrast and brightness levels as necessary. You may wish to increase the font size or use the built in functions on the word processing application and web browser to zoom to the appropriate level
  • Keep your monitor clean and free of dust
  • Your keyboard should be directly in front of you. You do not want it too high or too low or at an angle. This can cause distress or fatigue in your eyes, wrists, and hands.
  • If you are looking at reading material, it is good to place is on a document holder beside your monitor that is at the same level, angle, and distance from your eyes as your monitor. This will reduce the amount of neck and hand movement as well as limit the number of times your eyes need to adjust
  • Remember the rule 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes you should spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. It is important that you take breaks throughout the day and focus on other tasks such as file organizing, phone calls, or another task that is not focused on the computer.
  • Throughout the day it is important for you to blink often. If your eyes are irritated, they could be dry and you could use over-the-counter artificial teardrops. Eye drops that do not contain preservatives can be used at often as desired. Eye drops that have preservatives should not be used more than four times a day.
  • Practice relaxation exercises throughout the day


 
Keep in mind that CVS can occur when you are using ANY electronic device. While you may not utilize a computer 8 hours, individuals use smartphones, tablets, and e-readers on a daily basis. It is important that you take frequent breaks when using any of these devices. Recently Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and you will recognize they increased their screen. While this may be the direction that smart phone industry is going, having a larger screen will have less strain on the user.
 
Some content courtesy of American Optometric Association.
 

Responsible Tourism

by Lux Joseph 26. August 2014

We are all aware that our planet, and in some places her people, are in a delicate state. The reality is that we must act now to preserve our planet, her natural resources and protect the, usually unseen, people of tourist destinations around the world. The travel industry is committed to responsible tourism. This is the time that the travel industry, retailers and consumers, can make a difference. We know what is at stake if we do not succeed.

What is responsible tourism?  Responsible tourism is the idea that, by working together, we can all make minor changes to preserve our beaches, rivers and forests. Responsible tourism means will we preserve historic places like Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum and the Mayan ruins.  By taking action now, we will leave our children and grandchildren the same beautiful world that so many of us have had the privilege of exploring during our lifetime. 

Responsible tourism focuses on efficiency and using energy resources wisely. For example, the next time you stay in a hotel, turn off the lights and air conditioner before you leave the room. Even though you aren’t paying the electricity bill you are still using energy.  Or, instead of requesting fresh towels and linens each day, try to get more than one day’s use out of them.  Many hotels, resorts and even cruise ships now give you the option of refusing their daily linen-exchange service.  These changes, while small, will make a difference if we can get everyone to make them. Commercial Medical Escorrts encourages each of our escorts to participate in responsible tourism while they are on missions around the world.

Responsible tourism also means conserving the world’s beautiful vacation destinations and protecting the local people, wherever they might be.  Many tourists have unfortunately adopted the attitude that their actions won’t impact the areas they visit.  After all, it’s only a week right?  Wrong!  Tourists need to know that while they may only be there for one week, thousands of people visit that destination each year.  What happens if we all adopt the same lackadaisical attitude?  We all must do our part. 

You might be asking yourself, “Well, what can I do that would actually make a difference?”  Start small but think big. Pick up your trash before you leave the beach at the end of the day, be mindful of what you drop or pour into the lake and exercise extreme care when hiking through a national park.  Tourists must not forget that even though they are on vacation, their vacation destination is someone’s home town, village or country and should be treated with the utmost respect.

Another facet of responsible tourism is a relatively new concept, volunteer vacations. A volunteer vacation is a vacation that focuses more on others rather than self.  Many people now take these kinds of trips to learn about new cultures, visit beautiful destinations and to give back to the local people of those destinations.

Volunteer vacations are also important because they put money back into that particular destination’s economy. On a typical vacation you may not always have the chance to interact with the people who call that destination home. By traveling to these areas to volunteer your time, you are not only helping the individuals but also their village, town or country as a whole. You will learn about their culture and heritage and possibly make a few friends along the way. Volunteer vacations bridge the gap between cultures, forming a web of friendship and hospitality around the world. Visit TravelSense.org today to learn more about volunteer vacations!

One of the areas in travel most blamed for crippling our environment is the physical travel part of vacations. Planes, trains and other gas-powered means of travel all receive their fare share of finger-pointing. So, unless you can ride your bike to your vacation destination there’s nothing different you could do right?  Think again!  Many destinations around the world now offer tourists new options when it comes to getting around.  Consider renting a smaller vehicle, perhaps one that runs on an alternative fuel or gets better-than-average gas mileage.  Buses may seem like gas-guzzlers but if everyone decided to take a tour bus while on vacation it would actually be better for the environment than if each individual rented their own car.

Don’t forget that some of the world’s most spectacular sights are not accessible by motorized vehicle. Take advantage of your vacation time to do something good for the planet and for you – hike to the top of a mountain to watch a sunset, take a snorkeling trip to view spectacular coral or just take a peaceful canoe ride down the river. All of these excursions are powered by human energy. Human energy is the safest form of energy always renewable.

Regardless of the type of vacation you chose or where you decide to go, please remember this: We are all connected to each other.  Our world, while grand in size, is not as big as it once was where traveling is concerned.  We can explore or visit almost any destination we choose. If we make a commitment to be responsible tourists we will see a healthier, more beautiful world regardless or where our travels might take us.


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