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The Hottest Winter Destinations

by Lux Joseph 5. November 2014

As we enter into the winter season, Commercial Medical Escorts will see a shift in the destinations in which we are picking up patients. This happens several different times throughout the year and it is based primarily on travel trends and where tourists travel at different times throughout the year. To understand this upcoming winter travel destinations we took the opportunity to speak with CEO McNamara of Sky Cap Corp, a travel management company based in South Florida that specializes in travel for travel assistance, medical escort, and air ambulance companies.

Sky Cap Corp stated that based on bookings by members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Orlando is clearly the most popular domestic destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Orlando was chosen by 41 percent of the respondents in ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter survey, followed by Las Vegas (13%), New York City (6%), Miami (5%), Honolulu (3%), San Francisco (3%), Fort Myers (3%), Los Angeles 3%), Maui (3%) and San Diego (2%). 

 “Orlando and Las Vegas remain on top for winter vacation spots as warm and fun places to escape winter," said Mr. McNamara, Sky Cap Corp President and CEO. “Agents say both locations have a great variety of activities that can meet the needs of young people, extended families and couples.” The top 10 domestic destination cities for Winter are the same as the Summer top 10 with the exception of Fort Myers and Maui replacing New Orleans and Washington, D.C. When asked about the top state destinations, Florida, led by Orlando, topped with a 58 percent share. Rounding out the top five state destinations for winter travel are Hawaii (20%), California (10%), Nevada (3%) and New York (2%). Florida and Hawaii have a much stronger share in the winter compared to summer.

For those who look forward to international travel this winter, travel agents choose Cancun as the most popular international destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Cancun was chosen by 24 percent of respondents to ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter Survey, up from only 5 percent in the summer version of the survey. Rounding out the top 10 destinations for winter are Rome (16%), London (11%), Paris (9%), Sydney (3%), Barcelona (3%), Montego Bay (3%), Riviera Maya (3%), Punta Cana (2%) and Cape Town (1%).

 “Cancun came out as the clear winter vacation destination desired by our member’s clients for obvious reason,” said Mr. McNamara.  “Cancun is easily accessible from the U.S., has a plethora of all-inclusive resorts, a warm climate and beautiful beaches.” The top 10 international destination cities in the winter survey are the same as the summer top 10 with the exception of Sydney and Cape Town replacing Amsterdam and Madrid. Sydney and Cape Town, as Southern Hemisphere cities, are deemed best visited during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

When asked about the top country/region destinations, Mexico, led by Cancun, topped with a 24 percent share. Rounding out the top five country/region destinations for winter travel are Italy (18%), the Caribbean (12%), France (7%) and United Kingdom (6%).

Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family from July through August 2014. This survey has a 95 percent rate confidence with an error rate +/-5 percent.

Prevent RX Abuse Among Youth

by Lux Joseph 17. October 2014

Last week we informed you about October being breast cancer awareness month, but did you know that October is also National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Prescription medicine—a critical piece of our cultural fabric—“a pill for every ill”—all you have to do is turn on the TV, listen to the radio or view ads on the Internet or in the newspaper to see and hear about the latest medicine that can cure migraines, treat pain and stress, keep you more alert, help you sleep or address depression. We walk that fine line between ensuring access to needed medications to preventing misuse/abuse and addiction.

Commercial Medical Escorts encourages you to educate children and young people about the realities and dangers of prescription drug abuse. By educating the youth we can increase our chances of preventing them from starting to abuse psychotherapeutics in the first place. The statistics can be shocking including: 

  • The rate of current illicit drug use among people aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.6 percent) than for females (6.9 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs (2.8 versus. 2.4 percent).
  • Among 16 or 17 year olds, 4.0 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 3.1 percent using pain relievers nonmedically); prescription medications came in second to marijuana.
  • The rate of current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 5.3 percent. The rate of current nonmedical use of pain relievers among young adults in 2012 was 3.8 percent.
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among adults aged 26 or older was 7.0 percent, including rates of 5.3 percent for current use of marijuana and 2.1 percent for current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs.

Source: 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

The good news is that nationally, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 to its current levels. While we can say, “great job,” we need to remember that

  • Many teens and young adults still believe that Rx medicines are safer to abuse than illegal drugs.
  • These medicines are easy to get—about 54 percent of those abusing these medicines obtain them from friends and relatives.
  • Approximately 2000 teens misuse or abuse Rx drugs for the first time each day (NIDA FOR TEENS).

As such, some teens and young adults will fall down that slippery slope of abuse and addiction. And before you can say, “Not my child,” you may find yourself saying, “it is my child—now what?”

Be a part of the solution. CME encourages parents to lock up your medications and properly dispose them when they’re no longer needed. Then, get involved. Talk with your teen or young adult.

In this age of a “pill for every ill,” we live in a society where the potential for prescription drug abuse and addiction is ever-present. Among teens and young adults, next to marijuana, Rx drugs are abused the most. According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.8 million people or 2.6 percent of the population were unmedical users of Rx medicines in 2012.  Out of this number, 2.8 percent represent young people, aged 12-17. Data also tells us that they’re abusing pain relievers, depressants and stimulants to go to sleep, wake up, stay alert and/or get high.

We see the more visible signs of Rx abuse every day:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman—died of a heroin overdose, triggered by an addiction to prescription pain medicines.
  • Whitney Houston—died of an overdose of cocaine and prescription drugs.
  • Heather Ledger—died of an overdose of sleeping pills—both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Brian “Crush” Adams (professional wrestler) and Ken Caminiti (1996 Most Valuable Player-played for Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves)—died of prescription drug overdose.

Some key side effects of abuse include the following:

·      Nausea and vomiting

·      Abdominal pain

·      Confusion

·      Dizziness

·      Double or blurred vision

·      Slurred speech

·      Rapid heart beat

·      Drowsiness

·      Disorientation

·      Impaired physical coordination

At Commercial Medical Escorts we encourage you to educate yourself about the abuse and ways you can prevent it from happening to a love one. As a parent you will want to know potential warning signs of abuse:

       Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash a teen’s room, backpack or school locker

       Teens purchasing or using cough medicine when not ill

       Missing boxes or bottles from home medicine supply

       Hearing a teen use certain slang terms for DXM abuse, such as skittles, skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, robo, CCC, triple Cs,  and Dexing/DXM

 

 If you suspect or recognize any of these instances occurring then it is likely that you child could be abusing and at that point you should be proactive. Talking to your teen, talking to other parents, and monitoring your child’s behaviors are critical to determining the best way to approach the situation. Being proactive, being alert, and addressing the situation in the early stages will be more effective than ignoring or hoping it will go away on its own. Take action!

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."


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