Packing Tip: Road Trip With Friends

We got this question from a Travelista who is going on a super fun road trip this summer with two of her friends. She wanted to know how she and her fashionable (read: overpacking!) friends could pack better and with only one weekend bag each. They also would have access to a laundry facility. Luckily, I had just experienced this with some friends and have some great tips to share.

1) Sharing means caring. Bring pieces that you can all share and that go together (if you have similar style and are similar in size) – it’ll triple your own trip wardrobe! Make sure your colors are coordinated, too. The beauty of that is that you will each look different and have your own flair with every piece! Plus, it gets your creative juices flowing. Shoes take up the most room, so if you have the same size, expand your shoe choices by sharing them, too.

For example, I shared a light boho blouse with my friend Jenn – and no one was the wiser! We wore it differently and for different occasions, so with one piece, we expanded our outfit choices in a snap. It almost made a complete round when our friend Eva considered wearing it over a very light black romper and letting it hang off the shoulder.

2) Keep it simple. Wear pieces that are interesting enough in detail but have simple silhouettes. That way you can layer them together or just add accessories (hat, scarf, funky sandals, etc.). A cool off-the-shoulder top in a square shape could go with jeans, shorts or a skirt or over a tank dress. Shorts with a subtle but fun pattern make your outfit more interesting but look different with different tops (plus you can dress them up or down).

3) Double (or triple) up. I have a fabulous scarf from Urban Outfitters that I use as a shawl at night, a scarf on the plane, a sash around a maxi dress, and a sarong on the beach (you might be able to get away wearing it as a skirt, too!). It’s a wide scarf (probably about two feet in width but looong enough to wrap around my waist, neck, etc.). I also have a tube skirt from American Apparel that can act as a skirt, tube top, or tube dress for night or day. You can layer a cool button down or oversized tee over it for day or dress it up with your scarf at night.

4) Accessorize! A hat changes an outfit in a second as does a scarf and the rightjewelry. Don’t forget your bathing suit and that you can actually wear it underneath your clothes like tanks (if you are going somewhere with a beach and it’s okay to expose the top a little).

A fedora is the perfect piece to add polish to any casual beach outfit.

5) Plan your pieces. Bring at least one skirt, one sundress or tankdress, one pair of shorts, and one pair of pants (including leggings, jeans, super-light summer pants or cropped pants). You will be wearing one of those at any given moment, so it’s not much. Top-wise, I would recommend a cool button down, a cardigan or light jacket of some sort that goes with everything, two comfy/funky tees, a tank, and a blousy top that can dress up shorts or loosely go over a tank dress. For feet – low-wedge sandals (dress up or down), casual flat sandals, and Toms slip-ons.

6) Bring only one of everything. Share hairdryers, flat irons, shampoo, etc. I always find that at the end of the day, these are things I pack last and don’t have room for!

Holiday Stress Tips

Holiday stress tip #1-

If you do not actually have a saber tooth tiger leaping towards you, and you are feeling that jittery feeling in your gut, then it is your thought about something (or several things) that is bringing the stress physiology into your body. To change the physiology, simply change the thought.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

There are some complicating factors that I do not see addressed in many stress management programs or trainings which I think are important for holiday stress management or any other time of the year stress management. If you are not actually in danger from an aggressor, then it is your thought that brings the stress response into your body.

For example, when I look at my social calendar for the month of December, I find myself scheduled to attend a number of social functions, which I would prefer not to attend.

So the thought about being in a crowd of people, none of whom will attack me by the way, several weeks ahead of time will bring an uncomfortable feeling into my body, which will be strong enough for me to notice. That is a stress response, and when I decide that I would prefer to feel something else besides stress, then I will need to deal with…

Holiday Stress Tip #2-

The physiology of stress, especially for men, if it has been strong, can take about 20 minutes to clear from the body. That is why a time out process can be important for stress reduction.

John Gottman, Ph.D., talks about what he calls Diffuse Physiological Arousal in his workshop The Art and Science of Love, describing the stress response to a tee. What Gottman does not mention is that my stress response is designed to come on line fast and strong, to motivate a leap away from the tiger.

Mihalyi Csikszentmihaly, Ph.D., in his book FLOW says the human central nervous system processes packages of data, sound waves, photons for vision, pressure for touch, tastes, smells, etc. at the rate of a package every 1/18th second.

Paul Ekman,Ph.D. says that we respond to facial expressions in perhaps 1/25th second, and Micheal Merzenich, Ph.D. says Senior Drivers need to process changing road conditions in 1/45th second.

It takes me about 1/10th second to blink my eyes. The point is that the stress response happens fast, and it takes some time to change your physiology back to calm if the diffuse physiological response was strong.

Stress management programs need to teach that information, so that folks who are using visualization or breathing or a combination of those stress management techniques do not give them up because they do not experience an immediate return to a Norman Rockwell vision of the holidays, which feels like calmness and contentment.

I do think that if I have practiced breathing and visualization techniques, for example, Open Focus, from Les Fehmi, then my body may return to a resting state faster than it would if I were just beginning my practice. What News is There From the Research? Are there holiday stress tips from recent research? Yes, there is and the most promising, in my experience, is based on technology from the new field of neurocardiology, which is the study of the heart’s own nervous system.

With some practice, I can teach my heart to change the coherence or time between heart beats from incoherent to coherent much faster than the 20 minutes that Dr. Gottman talks about in his DPA descriptions.

And this process, called heart rate variability biofeedback, works in the proverbial heart beat, using thinking and breathing tools, so as I contemplate my December social schedule, and bring a stress response, way ahead of time, I can do my heart rate variability biofeedback and return my feelings to quiet contentment now.

I have been using heart rate variability biofeedback with anger management and domestic violence clients for about 8 years, because it helps me show clients,using the computer’s feedback, how fast thoughts change physiology, either in a helpful or unhelpful direction, and how simple it is to sustain long periods of heart rate variability coherence by choosing to think cooperative and affiliate thoughts more often than not.

Heartmath does not require one to become a guru, and chant a mantra, it fits with our life style and busy schedules.

Once I train the brain in my heart to become coherent, I can think my cue thought and breath deeply and feel a very pleasant feeling in my body, a feeling so different than an unnecessary stress response. I can do this process every five minutes for 2 heart beats, and begin to steer my physiology towards the kind of physiology that encourages neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells, and neuroplasticity, which is the growth of new connections between neurons.

Increased brain fitness is a side effect of Heartmath? Sure is, and if you are an athlete or a student, the key to peak performance is relaxation, not stress.

Holiday Stress Tip #3- Learn and do heart rate variability biofeedback. It took me six 1/2 hour practices to make a serious improvement in my ability to cue the relaxation without a computer. You will feel it happening.

8 Rules Of Christmas: Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

First of all, before anything else is said, let’s agree on a couple of things.

Sharing good times with friends and family is part of what the holiday season is all about. When these groups get together, it is often in the presence of delicious, scrumptious food. This food tends to be available for snacking all day. Personally, I would immediately call the Vatican and nominate anyone for sainthood who could truly enjoy all the festivities and be awash in the total ambiance of all the season inspires while ignoring the lavish plates of goodies while walking around munching on a stick of celery.

Oh yeah! You’re going to sample Aunt Millie’s mincemeat pie, Uncle Bob’s specially prepared fried turkey, and probably a glass of Alka-Seltzer or something similar.

Unfortunately, I am here to remind you of a few things; you are on a diet, you want to lose weight, all that stuff that is so tempting is fattening, and this is the hardest time of the year to be good. So, let’s just pick up on a few rules to help you get through the season.

8 Rules For Healthy Holiday Eating:

Before we get started, I want you to get comfortable, so put some turkey on your plate, get some of that great dressing (don’t forget the cranberry sauce), fight Cousin Ed for some of that green bean casserole my niece, Sharon, makes so well, and tell Grandma to save a piece of pie for you. Have a seat, relax, enjoy your meal (while balancing a soggy paper plate on your knee) and I will give you the rules to help you survive the season.

1. Forgive yourself in advance and give yourself permission to have a good time:

Look, this stuff isn’t poison! You didn’t take 10 years off your life just because you ate more than you should have…and then went back for seconds. You are only human, and you are here to have a good time! One of the reasons you want to lose weight, or keep it down, is so that you can enjoy life, and this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. So, as they say, live a little. Whatever happens over the next few days will not kill you, and whatever damage you do manage to do can be rectified.

2. It’s just a couple of days:

Okay, for some families, it may be a couple of weeks…twice…Thanksgiving and Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza. Whatever it is for you, it is finite, it WILL end, and it is mainly limited to a certain time of the year. Who you are in terms of health, fitness, and weight loss is determined by the overall accomplishments of the year, not by a few weeks in the fall.

3. Stay with your program:

You will definitely minimize the effects of all the dinners, cookies, and snacks if you can still get in your walks, aerobics, weight training, or whatever else you have been doing. During the holiday season, it can be difficult to get everything done the same as in the rest of the year, but two days of exercise Thanksgiving week, while not as good as three or five, is still better than none. Simply knowing you have not abandoned your plan will help you get over any depression you might have because of your holiday eating, and will help reduce any negative effects from all the delicious, gooey calories you have “accidentally” consumed. If you cannot stay on a formal program, squeeze in a walk, even if it is a high-speed shopping trip through the mall. By the way, this is the reason I love yoga. When everything’s done, I can retire to my bedroom and not only get the physical benefits of the yoga session, but I relieve some of the stress I may have built up during the day. That helps with the eating too.

4. Remain in touch with reality:

You will hear people speak of “mindful eating”. Be aware of what you are doing. Have you ever heard someone say, “That is so good, I just have to have some more.”? Of course, YOU and I never say things like that! Well, the truth is that you DON’T have to have some more, and, if you do, it doesn’t need to be right now. Just because the food is there right now doesn’t mean it has to be eaten right now. You know what’s good for you and what isn’t. One piece of pie today is not going to kill you or destroy your weight loss resolution, but do you have to have that pie? Isn’t there a healthier treat you could have, or could you just wait until the meal has settled, or after you take a walk to rev up your metabolism and burn off some of what you already ate? Why not take a piece home with you and have it as a treat for later…when you aren’t as full as a tick?

5. Food is not love:

Many people tend to equate food and eating with love. You cannot change the others, but you can change your own attitude. Refusing seconds of Grandma’s turkey does not mean you don’t love her. If she is hurt because you normally stuff yourself and this year you’re not doing her food “justice”, just say that you are full right now but will have more later. Take control of YOUR life. Others will have to take control of their own.

6. If you are the cook:

Choose healthy dishes prepared in a healthy manner. If you have found a new diet-friendly food that you enjoy, share that with others. This will give you one more healthy dish on the groaning board to select your own meal from.

7. Alcohol:

If you enjoy wine, beer, egg nog like my Uncle Wilbur liked, or other drinks containing alcohol, just slow down and cut back. Try slipping in a glass of water between drinks. Drinks containing alcohol are sneaky calories. They do nothing for you nutritionally, but they do have a lot of calories. A few drinks with friends can give you more calories than a Big Mac…and you probably have these drinks while snacking or eating a meal! Oh well! At least if you are a beer drinker, you can try some light beers. It will give you an excuse to sample.

8. Be happy to be where you are, doing what you are doing, with the people you love:

If you fall head over heels off the diet wagon, have fun. What you do throughout the year will have more effect on your weight and health than what happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Holiday Survival Guide – Top 10 Tips To Keep Off Those Holiday Pounds


Change your mindset – If you are already planning to fail, you surely will!

Write down your goals Before New Years – Written goals are 80% more likely to be accomplished than those not put to paper.

Drink plenty of Water to control appetite – many people mistake thirst for hunger. I recommend 2-3 liters per day for females, 3-4 liters for men.

Schedule your Workouts in advance – having a personal appointment to take care of your body makes you Much more likely not to skip your workouts. Go relieve some stress!

Keep to your Eating Schedule – skipping meals all day and eating big at night does not work the rest of the year, why would it work now?

Become More Sensitive – Having a really hard workout Before you pig out (even the day before) will make your body better able to handle excess calories.

It is only 3 Days – There are really only 3 Holiday Days, that does not give you reason to binge for 3 Months!

Have a High Fiber Snack – Before you go to eat, have something like a protein shake with flax seeds and an apple. You will be pretty full, and thus will not eat so much crap!

Be a Designated Driver – A Simple way to keep the holiday drinking to a minimum is to Volunteer to be the DD. You can still enjoy yourself, but is it not more fun to laugh at the other drunk people?

Plan your Meal Ahead – This goes for all year, but especially now. If you wait until you are hungry to find something to eat, you will almost always choose the wrong thing. There is an article on my website called the Sunday Ritual that gives busy people many strategies to have healthy food all week long.

Holiday Driving Tips – Avoiding Holiday Accidents

Holiday celebrations can be happy and exciting times for friends and family. Many people travel during the holiday season, looking forward to visiting with family and friends who live long distances away. Unfortunately, the holiday season has a high incidence of traffic accidents, turning a celebration into a tragedy if people are injured or killed. During the holiday season, all motorists should be aware of the increased traffic, and holiday travelers should follow proper safety precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Drivers should be mindful of these holiday travel tips to protect themselves, their passengers, and the occupants of other drivers.

  • Leave early. By allowing yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, you can drive at safer speeds, take adequate rest breaks, and keep your stress levels down. Without enough stops, drivers can become overly tired or distracted and cause an accident and a result.
  • Avoid peak travel dates if possible. The day before a holiday is usually the day most people travel. Sometimes you can avoid traffic conditions by traveling on the holiday itself or by planning your family celebrations on other days.
  • Before you leave, check the condition of your car, including your tire pressure, oil, and lights. Carry spare and emergency equipment with you. Always have a spare tire, jumper cables, a jack, and emergency equipment such as road flares and extra blankets in case of an accident.
  • Keep your passengers safe. Make sure everyone is buckled up properly with seat belts and child restraint or booster seats.
  • Plan out a route with alternatives. Get directions in advance, with alternative routes in mind in case of bad weather or traffic congestion. Expect traffic near large cities.
  • Inquire about weather conditions and construction on highways from friends and relatives. Listen to local radio stations for indications of adverse weather.
  • Hide any sort of gift or present during stops. Brightly colored packaging during the holidays invites thieves to break into your vehicle.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. Provide children with plenty of their own distractions, and always pull off the road to use your cell phone.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Always have a designated driver if there will be drinking at your holiday celebration.

By following these safety precautions, you can make the holidays a little safer for everyone and avoid a tragic traffic accident. For more safe driving tips and information on car accident prevention, visit the website of Waukesha car accident lawyers Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C.

Holiday Safety

It seems like the Christmas shopping season starts earlier every year, and this year is no exception. Here we are at the end of October and the stores already have their Christmas stuff out. You are starting to see more TV commercials telling to you start shopping now to avoid the rush.

As the weeks toward the Holidays go by you will start to hear reports of people getting robbed or their cars getting broken into. You can avoid all of this by shopping online. Most of us still like to get into the Holiday spirit by going shopping and touching the merchandise, then when you spot something you get the satisfaction that you have it now!

So when shopping there are some things that you can do that will keep you safer:

  • Park near the parking lot lights if you will be in the store at night
  • Park as close to the store as possible
  • Never leave anything of value visible in your car and make sure that you lock it
  • Go back and forth to your vehicle putting your bags in the trunk, do not carry out two handfuls of bags
  • When approaching your car be aware of your surroundings, if something or someone makes you feel unsafe, go back into the store and ask for help
  • Approach your vehicle from the back toward the front and look in the rear seat area
  • Once in your car “Lock The Door”

I think that most of this is just common sense; however, in the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season we sometimes forget the very basis of personal safety.

When talking about Holiday safety we need to mention the safety of your credit cards. I would not recommend anyone shop with a debit card. If lost or stolen the bad guys have direct access to your bank account. Credit cards are much more secure, you just have to be mindful of the money you run up on those credit cards. Remember that cash is always king.

When using your credit card try to keep it in your direct sight when giving it to the store clerk. Make sure you have it before leaving the counter. If you carry a purse carry it across your shoulder and make sure that it is closed and carry it so that the purse is in front not behind you. If you carry a wallet it should be in your front pocket.

Managing the Holidays – Top 10 Tips

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of year for many people. It’s a classic example of how we ask too much of ourselves and of others.

November comes around and suddenly we expect to turn into a “Martha Stewart!” We want a beautifully decorated house, delectable homemade treats, perfect, well thought out personalized gifts and well-behaved, eternally grateful children……even after we’ve disrupted their sleep routines and filled them up with cookies and candy. A little unrealistic, perhaps?

So how do you avoid creating a horribly hectic holiday? Here are some tips:

1. Ask each family member what their number one favorite part of the holiday is and only do those. You don’t have to do everything! You might be surprised that there are some things that aren’t as important as you thought.

2. Skip the holiday cards-send New Years cards in January or Valentine cards in February when you have more time. When you send something later, people are more likely to read it. If you send cards and family updates in January or February there’s a better chance they’ll remember what it said.

3. Give theme gifts: magazine subscriptions, donations in their name, gift cards, tickets to a concert, movie, play, etc. Go through a list of magazines and choose one that fits each person on your list. Think about their favorite store, go online and order a gift card for them. Give them tickets to an event you both like and maybe they’ll share the second ticket-the gift that keeps on giving.

4. Take a nap after Thanksgiving Dinner and wake up when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Thought I’d toss that in for fun.

5. Make a list before heading out the door. Nothing is more time consuming that wandering around the mall waiting for the perfect gift to jump out at you. Go through catalogs or magazines for ideas, decide what you want and buy only what’s on your list.

6. Go shopping with a friend and combine it with a massage, spa treatment, sauna or a soak in a hot tub. How fun would it be to shop for an hour or two and have a great meal or spa date afterwards!

7. Breathe……breathe…….breathe. A deep breath will help you slow down to think and make better decisions. Think about the last minute craziness before guests arrive-mind racing, bouncing from one thing to another. Stop, take a deep breath and your mind and body will automatically slow down.

8. Make the holiday meal a group event: ask guests to bring part of the meal. If you are hosting an event say up front you are providing the main dish and they can choose a side dish to bring. No need for a hostess gift then. How many candles or knick knacks do you need?

9. Schedule FUN things for yourself. While you do lots for your families and friends this time of year, don’t forget to do something for yourself-go to a movie, buy yourself a little gift, hang out with a friend, go skiing or try something you’ve always wanted to do.

10. And finally, do only the things you need to do and the things you love to do. Let go of the rest. What traditions do you love and which ones feel like chores? Going back to Tip #1,only do the number one favorites. And don’t forget your favorites as well! When you do activities you truly enjoy, you will be more energized and happy. Doing activities that feel like chores is draining and can leave you with feelings of emptiness and fatigue. That’s NOT what the holidays are supposed to be like.

The holidays have special meaning for everyone, gratitude, giving and celebration. You can’t honor those when you’re stressed out and exhausted.

Make this Holiday Season the happiest and least hectic one yet!

Top 10 Arizona Travel Tips For a Fun Filled Day Trip With the Kids

There is nothing more rewarding for parents than spending quality time with the kids on a family vacation. Snapping pictures, exploring and discovering new territories while blazing new trails can make for great family fun. After all, isn’t that what a family vacation is all about anyway? Just being together, sharing, laughing, talking – creating some of life’s most memorable moments. All too often though, the hopes of a rewarding vacation or day trip with the kids can slowly dwindle into a day of frustration and disappointment. The kids get hungry, then they’re thirsty, they get tired and cranky, now they want to argue and of course the ever proverbial “are we there yet”…coming from the back seat of the car feels as though it will forever be ringing in your ears. Is this bonding? Well…in a sense – yes.

Certainly, years from now when the kids are grown you can reminisce and laugh about the trials and tribulations of the family vacation and day trips you used to take. But wouldn’t it be more rewarding knowing that you can actually have fun with your kids in the present moment! Why wait until they’re all grownup to reminisce about the good ol’ day trips gone by.

When my family and I take an Arizona vacation or go on a day trip we like to think about bonding with the kids in the present moment. Have fun now, talk with the kids now and share in that hilarious belly laugh now – so that when we all get home we can immediately begin to reminisce about the fun times we had on this family vacation.

No matter where your travels may take you and your family the following travel tips will help get you there with your peace of mind in tack so that you can enjoy all of your wonderful “present moments” with your family.

Advice and Tips for Arizona Travelers and Vacationers:

– Check Your Vehicle: A breakdown could spell disaster for a fun filled day. Whether you are in your own car or a rental, always take a look before you start. Make sure the tires look properly inflated and check the windshield washer fluid. Fill your tank. You can always go to Arizona Day Trails to find out where to buy fuel in Arizona for the least amount of money.

– Pack a Cooler: Purchase a small Styrofoam cooler available in any grocery or convenience store for just a few bucks. Pack it with bottled water and a few light snacks. Avoid sweet drinks because they tend to dehydrate you in the Arizona heat. Water will keep you hydrated and feeling good. Keep a box of crackers and Nilla wafers handy because they are easy on the stomach. And drink plenty of water during your day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.

– Dress Properly and Comfortably: Flip flops and sandals are great around the hotel or pool, but on your Arizona day trip wear durable, comfortable footwear. Pack some sunscreen and wear hats. It doesn’t have to be a Stetson; a baseball cap will do fine. The Arizona desert can get cool in the evening and downright cold at times so keep jackets handy.

– Keep the Kids In the Loop: Rotate seats in the car so everybody gets a window. Let the kids help decide things like where to have lunch and spend time at the things that interest them. When our son was 8 or 9 years old he could spend what seemed like all day observing reptiles and other animals at the various places on our day trips. It wasn’t necessarily our idea of heaven but today he is a Biologist preparing for his P.H.D. in Zoology. Who would have guessed? So let the kids pick a place or two to go visit. With a little guidance from you, you may be surprised to find a P.H.D. in your kids too.

– Create Family Memories: Pick up small mementos along the way to remind the kids of the places they’ve been and the great things they have experienced. You don’t have to break the bank. It’s the small things that make a difference and are great conversation starters with your kids!

– Take Lots and Lots of Photos: When you get back home and are sitting around with the kids, looking at your photo collection, it will hit you. Arizona is so amazingly beautiful- sometimes it just doesn’t sink in until you see it in print.

– Don’t Try to Beat the Clock: You can only move as fast as the slowest one in your party. Different size families with kids of various ages travel at different paces. Your family may want to spend more time at one place or another or at one particular activity. Go with the flow and enjoy. Arizona’s wonderful places have been around a long time and they will be there tomorrow. Believe me, you and your kids will be happier enjoying the things you get to do than having the day become a nightmare by trying to rush.

– Travel Safe: If you are doing all the driving remember to give your eyes a rest. There are plenty of scenic areas to park and stretch your legs. Take advantage of them. You are going to see some of the most amazing natural beauty on Earth. Take the time to drink it all in. July and August is monsoon season in Arizona and afternoon thunderstorms occur regularly. Be prepared, they usually only last a short time.

– Talk and Laugh a Lot: Talk to one another about the things you are doing and the marvelous sights you are seeing. It’s a great time for the kids to use their imagination and express themselves. Listen to them. You will learn things about each other that may surprise you and you will be better off for the experience. Laugh, laugh and laugh some more! Leave your stress and cares behind and have fun. You owe it to yourself and your kids. Life will be waiting when you get home.

– Bend the Rules: Extend bedtimes. Take an evening dip in the hotel pool. Have that extra ice cream cone. Whatever it is that is different from the everyday. Step outside late one night with your kids and look up at the sky. The night sky in Arizona is filled with stars to wish on so get out there and look up! City dwellers will be amazed.

We hope you keep these hints in mind during your visit to Arizona or wherever you and your family may travel. My wife, Ronnie and I have spent over 30 years traveling throughout Arizona and have found these tips to be true for our family. We know they will be true for yours too.

We’ll see ya on the trail! And remember to always be good to each other and your mother Earth. Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.

Home Is Where the Heart Is, Book a Serviced Apartment and Come Home

That’s how the old adage goes isn’t it?

And well, for us, it’s never been truer than in today’s amazingly fast-paced, multi-cultural, media savvy world.

Businesses tend to focus heavily on productivity and the balance sheet but in order to have staff who are ready and able to work, it’s so easy to overlook the vital importance of a stable home life. In relocation and business travel particularly temporary accommodation is often relegated down the list precisely because it is ‘temporary’ but this is exactly the time when it’s most essential. Still very few companies focus on the emotional fallout that can occur before, during and after the move.

The first month of a relocation can make or break the move. And we should know… we deal with the aftermath of many a poorly planned and executed relocation! To the person (or people) arriving, everything’s new – the country, the job, probably the language, possibly the company – and even the most seasoned relocatee can find the first couple of weeks pretty stressful.

“International mobility reinforces the link between a happy couple and contributes to the dislocation of already dysfunctional couples before departure.” Jean-Luc Cerdin, Professor of HR Management, ESSEC Business School of Paris

And again, leaning on our experience, we’ve noticed that it’s not always the big issues that are the major cause of stress. There doesn’t have to be a cataclysmic event… sometimes it’s just the smallest things that can make a difference and that’s where serviced apartments can really come into their own. They provide the individual and more importantly the family unit (on average about 80% of expatriate workers move with their spouses.), the calm, sheltered haven from which they can begin to order and adjust to their new life. Simple things that we take for granted, like being able to whip up your favourite meal from back home, not having to worry about expensive hotel restaurant prices, or the astronomical cost of raiding the mini-bar! It’s having the space for everyone who’s staying together to nestle in and find their own place without being on top of one another. These are the little things that money just can’t buy and that hotels (due to the way they’re set up) quite often aren’t able to provide.

And actually, the very same rules apply to business travel although in the harsh maelstrom of defined business objectives, target driven performance and an expectation of constantly high energy levels, this too can often be forgotten. Business travel may appear glamorous on the surface but (take it from me – I know) after the first couple of trips it starts to get very much less appealing. It significantly disturbs your routine and seems to take up an inordinately disproportionate amount of time and money. Serviced apartments may not all offer the 24 hour service levels of a hotel but what they do offer in spades, is space, privacy and that all important home from home environment.

So for instance, there’s no need for you to have to be up and dressed just to make breakfast in the hotel dining room when you can get in your own supplies, chill out, and make (very probably) a far healthier brekkie in your apartment’s kitchen. You don’t have to sit on the edge of your bed because there’s nowhere else to perch when you can flop out on your apartment’s sofa. You don’t have to remember to meet the hotel laundry times either because you can put your washing on in your apartment whenever you need to. So many benefits, really… I know!

Working in the serviced apartment industry I’ve always been amazed that more people aren’t aware of what they can provide. I’m also a big fan of posh hotels for those rare occasions that I get to go off on treaty holidays, but as an extremely seasoned business traveller myself I find the serviced apartments product absolutely invaluable. So hey, why not try a serviced apartment yourself on your next business trip or relocation and join the revolution that’s sweeping the industry

Book a serviced apartment and come home.

Business Traveling Tips for Men – How to Pack Your Carry on Luggage

Keeping your shirts­ and suits free of wrinkles is a constant problem for business travelers. Would you like to learn how to better manage your business clothes while traveling? Whether you’re an experienced business traveler or a first time traveler, follow these tips and your clothing will arrive at their destination wrinkle free.

Don’t let packing clothes be a stressful part of your trip. The problems always begin by packing too many items into a small carry on bag. You must make sure you have the correct size piece of carry on luggage for the intended items and duration of travel. Over packing items into your suitcase is the main cause of clothes developing wrinkles. Be realistic when packing and limit the amount of clothes you take on your trip. When traveling for extended periods of time, consider using a larger bag that you may have to have checked.

Once you have the right luggage for your trip, then you have to pack your clothing in a way to avoid wrinkles. The key to avoiding wrinkles is pack your delicate items in the middle of your case. Keep the delicate clothing away from the edges to limit the amount of wrinkling. Place your T-shirts first, your suites next, followed by shirts and ties, then your other clothes. Packing in this way will cushion your suites and other delicate items that are prone to wrinkling. Use caution when packing your shoes as these are a common cause of wrinkled clothes. Modern carry on luggage have compartments specifically for shoe storage and other hard items.

Garment bags are very useful and I highly suggest buying one for packing dress shirts and suits. Using a garment bag, in addition to your carry on luggage, is the best method for preventing wrinkles to your dress clothes. There are luggage manufactures that offer a folding garment bag which stores in your suitcase after packing. These are the most convenient when going directly to your hotel from the airport.

Silk neckties are among the most delicate items to pack in your suitcase. Other options to silk neckties are those made from wrinkle-free microfiber, but nothing really compares to a silk necktie. So, when packing your neckties, keep them away from the edges of your suitcase and away from objects that have sharp edges. It’s best to place them in the center of your other clothes which offer the best padding. Rolling your ties is another option for preventing wrinkles. Begin rolling from the narrow end which give a uniformly tight role and will fit easily into your dress shoes. If money is no problem, you can buy one of the commercially manufactured necktie travel cases, which will definitely keep your ties free of wrinkles.

It’s important to unpack your items as soon as you arrive at your destination. After unpacking, place your suits, shirts, trousers and neckties on hangers and hang them in the closet. Remember, failure to unpack and hang up your clothes will result in severely wrinkled clothing and all of you efforts will have been a waste of time.

Make sure you stay at a hotel that provides an iron and ironing board in your room as this will give you the ability to take care of those small wrinkles yourself. Do not iron your suits of neckties! If you see wrinkles on your suits or ties, hang them in the bathroom during your hot, steamy shower. As soon as you’re finished with your shower the wrinkles will be gone. Following these tips will insure a wrinkle free trip.