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.

Holiday Tips For Bird Safety – 5 Ways to Keep Your Bird Safe During the Holidays

Keeping your bird safe is a lifelong commitment that probably will need a little extra attention with the arrival of the holidays. Here are 5 things to do to make sure your bird has a safe and happy holiday with you and your family.

Keep the Routine Normal

Try to keep your bird’s routine as close to normal as possible by maintaining feeding, cage cleaning, hygiene rountine, and its interaction with your family the same. Keeping the bird’s schedule low-key and on track will prevent anxiety in your bird which can sometimes lead to health issues signaled by symptoms such as feather plucking, aggression, shrieking, loss of appetite, and change in elimination habits.

Provide Adequate Darkness

Birds need between 10 and 12 hours of darkness each day to stay healthy. Even though you may stay up late at night, and get up early in the morning more frequently as the holidays approach, your bird still needs its beauty rest. Use a cage cover to insure your bird gets enough down time to stay healthy.

Prevent All Contact with Decorations

A decorated tree is probably the first place a bird will fly. This is to be avoided as the wires could cause the bird to be hung if he is unable to untangle himself, and many of the ornamental decorations used on the tree that might usually be a part of the bird’s diet in the wild are made from substances that are toxic if ingested.

Cage Your Bird during Parties

Having your bird in its cage during holiday parties is the safest place it can be. This will prevent your bird from encountering dangerous situations such as drowning in a punch bowl, being burned by a hot coffee urn or eating people food that is likely to be on the table and is known to be fatal to birds such as chocolate, alcoholic beverages, sweet, and salty snacks to name a few.

Use an Air Purifier to Avoid Respiratory Problems

Birds have very delicate respiratory systems which are easily overtaxed with perfumes, scented candles, odors from the kitchen and overheating of pots and pans (particularly Teflon) at any time during the year. Using an air purifier to keep indoor air quality high is a good idea throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. Be alert about the number of odors that are introduced into your home and keep the exposure to an absolute minimum to avoid respiratory complications in your bird and worse. Using a purifier to filter your bird’s air will insure that your bird, and you are breathing the cleanest air possible.

Outdoor Holiday Lighting Tips

Outdoor holiday lighting is truly exciting. Getting those holiday lights on your outdoor property can really help you get deeper into the Christmas spirit. Installing and using outdoor lights however are far different than with indoor ones. Here are some important tips to take note of to keep your holiday lighting installation and use both safe and enjoyable.

* Never use plain staples or nails for installing your decorative lights. These could cut through the wire and cause fraying. This in turn could endanger you and your property. As much as possible, settle for plastic clips that you can easily use on eaves, gutters and railings. If you really must use staples, make sure that they are the insulated type and that you do not cut through the wire.

* Never use indoor lights outdoors. Use only holiday lights that are specifically meant to be used for the outdoors. You should also strictly stick to manufacturer instructions on how to use your Christmas lights.

* Carefully check your outdoor holiday lighting even if newly bought. You shouldn’t just keep an eye out for busted bulbs. You should also check for frayed wires, exposed wires or broken connecting sockets.

* All lighting sockets should be wrapped with electrical tape. This will ensure that there is no gap in between connections. The electrical tape can also ensure that water cannot get into the connecting points.

* You cannot just connect as many lights as you want. You also have to be careful with using limited extension wires for too many lights. You could cause a circuit overload that could lead to power failure. Light makers usually have safety guidelines on the number of lights that can be connected.

* Be careful with power lines. A tree you are decorating, your ladder or even your body could come in contact with a power line. You could seriously injure yourself and damage your property.

* Do not leave outdoor holiday lighting unattended. Only have them on if you are at home and awake. Make sure they are turned off before you leave home or before you retire for the night.

* Don’t keep the lights attached way after the holidays. You may have had a hard time installing them all over the house. This may make you feel like wanting to enjoy your lights a little more. It isn’t safe though to leave them out for long. The natural elements could gradually damage your lights and make them a hazard.

* Don’t leave light cords and extension cords lying around loosely. People could trip on them. Small animals could also get entangled and choke. Keep the cords neatly to the sides and tie up any extra cord lines.

* You can enjoy your outdoor holiday lighting better if you do not have a big electric bill to pay. Lower your costs by using energy efficient lighting. Use LED bulbs. Aside from being energy efficient, they are also quite sturdy.

Keep your outdoor holiday lighting experience fun. Make sure you get the right kind of lights and materials. Make sure too that safety is always your top priority.

Hawaii Travel Tips and Secrets

Check out these Hawaii travel tips and see if you get excited like we did.

Are you a little adventurous? Do you enjoy a bargain when it comes to travel?

This is how we travel and it has always worked out great for us. Try it at your own risk, but if you love travel bargains, you’ll love the way this works.

We like to travel in the off season and see Hawaii when it isn’t so crowded. Off season travel has its benefits and drawbacks.

The weather isn’t always the most ideal, yet, it can be every bit as good as the peak season.

We’ve gone in peak season and had crummy weather and we’ve traveled in the off season and had great weather, it’s always a crap shoot any way so we take the chance.

Normally, we get awesome air travel rates in the off season to start of the trip.

We usually only book the first night or maybe the second and then we hit the streets and the hotel lobbies searching for the booklets, newspapers and coupon guide books.

Last time we did this, it was in January, right after the new year and everything was dead.

Hawaii was like a ghost town and we were able to find some of the most incredible deals you could imagine.

We got a flight to Oahu, with a three night stay in a luxury hotel complete with a rental car for just a little more than the normal price of the inter-island flight.

Another time, while on the island of Maui, we called a hotel on Oahu and asked for the price of a suite we had stayed in on a previous trip.

For the price of a normal room, we got a 2 bedroom penthouse suite overlooking Waikiki Beach and facing Diamond Head. This was a corner room with four 10 foot sliding glass doors so it was like having glass walls and you could see everything. It had every amenity and our kids almost went nuts using Jacuzzi tubs, making meals in the kitchen and sitting on the two verandas overlooking the beach. There was a special elevator that only went from the lobby level to the tenth floor.

These are just some of the Hawaii travel tips that we’ve accumulated. We think you might like traveling by the seat of your pants as much as we do. It gives us braging rights with the relatives also.

Next time you visit Hawaii, throw caution to the wind and give it a try. I’ll bet it will be the most exciting and value packed vacation you’ve ever experienced.

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.

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.

Tips for Selecting a Travel Agent

Even with the proliferation of options to directly purchase a holiday, a flight, or almost any accommodation, it is still mostly beneficial to share your plans with a reputable travel agent or consultant. Many of use have dreams to see new places, experience new opportunities and generally have a penchant to leave home but return safely. Here we look at what to look for in a such a person.

1. Personal Touch

The personal touch is important as you will get better results if you have a good working relationship with your travel agent. Find one who you can relate to and who listens to your needs and meets them. Most holiday packages are prepared and managed by an organisation that is not directly owned by the agent, so the best consultant will have no favourites or preferred suppliers. He or she simply listens to your requests and find the best options for you to choose. Generally it will take several iterations to plan the dream holiday.

2. Expert Knowledge

As a consumer of travel, you want to deal with someone who has expert knowledge. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of options for you to choose but unfortunately no one travel consultant knows everything. Hence choosing someone who has travelled and has access to robust knowledge in other areas is wise. A travel consultant who knows what he or shes does not know but has research capability can help in most situations.

3. Availability

The travel agents availability is important both during the pre-travel time as well as during the travel time. The availability can be in person, online, email or whatever means you need during the pre-travel phase. Many arrangements are made now-a-days without face-to-face meetings, although much can be gained by meeting. A discussion on response times from your travel agent is important to understand should you be visiting countries of higher risk. Often, there will be people in-country with whom any challenges can be discussed.

4.Willingness to Answer Questions

A good travel agent will answer all the questions that you ask and clarify any confusions that you may have. They want to build their and retain business, hence reputable travel agents will do whatever is in their power to answer your questions.

In summary, choose a travel agent who you can build a relationship. People like doing business with people they trust. With so many options available it is impossible to know the details of each tour. Let the travel agent research with the suppliers and you will develop the best expectations for your travel. Happy travelling.

Parking Lot Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

It’s the holiday season, and along with all of the fun, comes the need to be aware of your personal safety as well as that of your property. One of the most dangerous places during the holiday season is the parking lot.

Criminal activity picks up this time of year. Most of the time it is theft of property, but in some instances it can be a personal attack. People are busy running to and fro and not paying attention as they normally would to their surroundings.

Keep these following safety tips for the parking lot in mind during this holiday season to protect not only your property, but also yourself.

  • Be aware of your surrounding when shopping. Do not let anyone that you do not know to get close to you. Walk with a purpose and get to your car quickly.
  • While walking to your car, pull your key out and be ready to get in quickly.
  • Women should try not to carry over-sized purses that are easily grabbed.
  • Glance underneath your car as you walk up. Thieves have been known to hide underneath cars waiting for the owner to approach.
  • Glance in the back seat before you get in your car.
  • Try to go shopping with a friend or family member. This is especially true for women. But men are not immune to being attacked either.
  • Try to park in well lighted areas if you are shopping at night.
  • It is best if you can go shopping during the daylight hours if at all possible.
  • Do not leave valuable items in your car where they can easily be viewed. Try to put all valuables in your trunk, or at the very least, on the floorboard.
  • If you are a woman, it is strongly encouraged that you get a security guard to follow you to your car if it is dark out and you are parked far from the store. This is especially true if you happen to be in a mall parking lot.
  • Do not flash money while you are shopping.
  • Women should refrain from wearing pony tails while shopping. According to interviews with prison inmates, women with long hair are more often targeted because they can be grabbed and controlled more easily. So keep your hair tucked under a hat or coat hood as much as possible while you do your shopping.

In short, take extra care to ensure that you are not an easy target. A thief wants an easy target where they can make an easy theft, and then leave without the fear of getting caught. Keep these parking lot safety tips in mind and make yourself a difficult target. Do not become a victim.

Holiday Weight Loss Tips – How to Lose Weight During the Holiday Season

I love the progress I have made so far to lose weight and burn off excess fat but my greatest challenge now is how to lose weight during the holiday season and not fall back and gain the weight I have successfully lost. The holiday season is usually a period of weight gain because of the overabundance of food, parties, and tempting treats as well as the increased stress and busier schedules that goes with the holidays. Here are some holiday weight loss tips to help you during the holiday season.

With the right healthy foods and some discipline, you can make it through the holiday season without adding excess weight; feel livelier, healthier and happy. The weight loss tips you will read here will help you lose weight during the holiday season and you start the New Year with your desired weight size and keep it throughout the New Year.

Tip 1: Practice eating slowly during the holiday season

The first holiday weight loss tip you should know to lose weight during the holiday season is to practice eating slowly. Most times we hurriedly eat our food during the holiday season to catch up with several appointments and events lined up for us. Do take time to slowly eat your food. Recent research showed that people who eat their food slowly are more likely to eat less than those who quickly wanted to finish their food.

Tip 2: Eat more fruits and vegetables

Some people will advice you to eat some food and avoid some food but my advice is that you should eat more to lose more. How? Eat more of low calorie food to lose weight during the holiday season. Some researchers found that overweight people who eat more of lower calorie foods lost more weight than those who simply reduce their overall calories. Eat more fruits and vegetables. One secret to lose weight successfully during the holidays is to reduce grains consumption and increase greatly on fruits and veggies. You will discover that as you eat more of fruits and veggies, the more you will crave them and the less you will eat fatty and greasy foods, the more you will lose weight.

Tip 3: Drink Oolong tea or other green tea to kill sugar cravings

Drinking oolong tea stimulates your body to burn fat for energy. Drink a cup of Oolong tea in the morning, afternoon and before bed to help stave off sugar cravings and energy slumps. Drink a cup of Oolong 30 minutes to 1 hour before your usual daily walk or workouts.

Tip 4: Discipline your self to stick to a food plan

If you want to lose weight during the holiday season, you must do a positive self-talk every day to stick to a food plan. To lose 1 pound, you must burn 3,500 calories per week. So stick to a daily calorie loss of 500 to achieve 3,500 in 7 days. By the end of the holiday season, you must have lost roughly 5 pounds minimum instead of adding more weight like other people.

Tip 5: Know the foods that make you fat

What foods make you fat? By now you should know them. There are certain foods that may cause weight gain in some people. These are trigger foods which make us to overeat. Once you identify the foods that make you gain weight, you must do everything possible to avoid them during the holiday season.

Yes. It will surprise you to know that a simple weight gain of 5 pounds during the holiday season may not seem like much for you to worry about but it could develop into a more serious health problems in the New Year if not quickly addressed. We hope this holiday weight loss tips will help you to lose weight during the holiday season.

Holiday Tips – How to Survive the Airport

For many people, the airport is the most stressful part of the holiday. Sometimes the process is a dream, but much more commonly it feels like a nightmare. If it isn’t a giant queue at check-in, then it’s frantically checking your million bags for your passport or losing your way in the maze of gates and having to run through the airport to catch your plane. Indeed, airport experiences are never going to be perfect, but here are some tips to make sure yours is as painless as possible:

Before you get there:

– Check and double-check your itineraries
– Make sure any special needs are sorted out before you leave for the airport
– Gather all important documents together and store them in a safe place so you won’t spend ages panicking and searching for your passport
– If possible, use a check-in online option. Maybe airlines offer them these days and they can safe you a lot of time, particularly if you only have carry-on baggage.
– Double-check you have no banned items in your carry-on luggage: be extra careful, as this can be include harmless-looking things like nail files
– Seal any liquids, gels and creams you’ll be taking with you in a clear plastic bag ready for inspection. Check online ahead of time how large the containers are allowed to be – often it is less than 150ml and includes things like makeup and cosmetics.
– Research the airport online to find out how long it usually take to get from checking in to reaching your gate.
– Dress comfortably – dress in layers so you can be comfortable whatever the temperature happens to be.

Getting to the airport:

– Allow yourself plenty of time – two hours ahead of your departure time for international flights and one hour ahead for domestic flights.
– If necessary, plan your transport and route to the airport.
– If driving, make sure you have booked airport parking in advance. If a friend is driving, make sure they are aware where drop-off points or short-term parking are.
– If taking public transport, check beforehand that there are no road works or expected delays that could lengthen your journey time.

On arrival:

– Prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario – bring some snacks and something to read in case of long waits
– Do not leave your baggage unattended (this goes without saying, surely?)
– Watch the display boards announcing your departure gate for any updates.
– Drink plenty of water before the flight to avoid becoming dehydrated.