(PRWEB) August 13, 2004
High-rise hotels. Cross-country travel. Historic landmarks. Cultural and family attractions. This is the American dream vacation - or was before our world changed in September 2001.
International instability has made many vacationers wary of public locations and traditional vacation icons. And while the World Tourism Organization recently reported that travel confidence is finally on the rebound, fear still plays a major role when making travel choices. Fear can be seen in the way travel companies respond to security-related concerns. Orbitz online travel service, for example, has introduced ÂCare AlertsÂ, which use wireless technology to communicate security alerts. Savvy individuals worldwide are taking simpler alternative steps to alleviate stress surrounding safety and security issues and produce an enjoyable vacation.
VACATION ÂAT HOMEÂ: Everyone associates ÂhomeÂ with safety and security, knowing that terrorists tend to target high-profile, public and tourist locations. A growing number of independent travelers are solving this dilemma by Âhome swappingÂ using a service such as Digsville Home Exchange Club (http://www.digsville.com). Home exchange allows you to Âstay at homeÂ Â someone elseÂs home Â providing a sense of security that your vacation base is a non-tourist location. "Peace of mind is a valuable commodity for Americans traveling to major US cities and abroad," says Helen Bergstein, founder and CEO of Digsville. "When you're an invited guest in any locale, your vacation just got a whole lot better."
BE PREPARED: The U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityÂs website, http://www.ready.gov, reminds us that disaster preparedness is no longer the sole concern of those living in earthquake prone California or "Tornado Alley." Families create a disaster plan for home, but rarely create a similar plan when traveling. Prepare like a local for a possible emergency and alleviate an enormous stress factor. Educate yourself on emergency services, review evacuation routes, and be certain all family members are aware of a pre-determined meeting place in the event you are separated.
BE AWARE: ÂThere are 50 ways to leave your lover; but only 6 ways to leave this airplaneÂ a stewardess quipped on a flight traveled by Alfonso Martinez-Fonts Jr., Department of Homeland Security. Despite his professional focus on safety and security, this comment caught Martinez-FontsÂ attention, reminding him to pay attention to the planeÂs exit strategy. Travelers should maintain diligent awareness of their surroundings, no matter how familiar the route or location.
ASK QUESTIONS: Many tourist hot spots are fully prepared for emergency situations, but hesitate to mention security issues for fear that linking their name with Âterrorist threatÂ will drive away business. Asking questions about a locationÂs preparedness can put a mind at ease.
RELAX: Take steps to ensure your safety and security, then relax and enjoy your vacation!
Helen Bergstein is a reputed expert on the subjects of hospitality and home exchange, an exploding niche in the travel industry. Major media outlets worldwide turn to Helen for information on the latest trends and the new face of travel in the 21st century. Helen is Founder and CEO of the Digsville Home and Hospitality Exchange Club (http://www.digsville.com), the worldÂs premiere home exchange service. Dubbed Âthe eBay of home exchangeÂ by Travel + Leisure magazine, Digsville has transformed the exclusive home exchange community into a major travel trend with thousands of home listings in more than 53 countries.
For more information about this topic, Helen BÂs 10 Tips for a Successful Home Exchange, or to schedule an interview with Helen Bergstein, please call (201) 659-5934 or e-mail Helen at HelenB@digsville.com.
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