Catch the Travel and Adventure Show for tips and ideas

Experienced guides are happy to answer questions at the Travel and Adventure Show

Experienced guides are happy to answer questions at the Travel and Adventure Show

You can still catch representatives from hundreds of destinations, exotic tastes, travel speakers and fund to-do activities at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show, today. The show continues this weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center until 4 p.m., Jan. 18, 2015.

Indeed, afternoon is good.

Travel Channel Host Samantha Brown speaks Sunday at 1 p.m. and Travel Ambassador Angel Castellanos speaks at 3 p.m. on the Savvy Traveler stage.

In addition, the early risers will be leaving so parking space in the connecting garage across River Road might be easier to grab.

The Chicago show is a good chance to find out more about distant places such as African Safaris or European explorations or closer-to home places  such as Traverse City and Crystal Mountain about six hours north of Chicago.

Representatives from far and near destinations are at the Travel and Adventure Show

Representatives from far and near destinations are at the Travel and Adventure Show

BTW, if you don’t make it today, the show will be in San Diego and Los Angeles in February and Wash dc and Philadelphia in March. Check out the dates at Travel Shows. http://travelshows.com/

The Travel show is at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center,t 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018, For more information call 847-692-2220 and visit Travel shows Chicago. http://travelshows.com/chicagoplan

How to beat January cabin fever blues

Cabin fever? It’s early January but cold and snow have already moved Spring up high on the wish list.

We can wait with fingers crossed until Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2015, to hear what Punxsutawney Phil has to say in Pennsylvania or Woodstock Willie in Illinois when they predict Spring’s coming. Or we can bring spring closer with these steps.

Woodstock Willie predicted lots more winter last year

Woodstock Willie predicted lots more winter last year

1. Go to the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show Jan. 17-18 to collect ideas and colorful brochures on places to go for spring or summer vacation. The show is in the west suburban Donald E, Stephens convention center in Rosemont. Turn it into a mini break by staying at the nearby Loews Hotel near the upscale Fashion Outlet mall.

2. Breath deeply a botanic garden’s indoor spaces. The Chicago area has the historic impressive Garfield Park Conservatory west of the downtown Loop and the lovely Lincoln Park Conservatory north of the Loop.  In the northern burbs there are lush tropical and flowering desert plants in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s greenhouses in Glencoe.

Feast the eyes on colorful plants and breath warm air inside a greenhouse when outside temps dips way below freezing.

Feast the eyes on colorful plants and breath warm air inside a greenhouse when outside temps dips way below freezing.

3. Host a Super Bowl party with a desert theme. NFL’s Super Bowl XLIX is February 1 in sunny Arizona at the U Of Phoenix stadium, Glendale. Turn up the heat, wear shorts, serve margaritas and be inspired by some of Phoenix’s Mexican restaurant menus.

4. Or just celebrate winter with a trip to Lake Geneva, WI for the National Snow Sculpting Championship the last weekend in January. Teams come from across the United State to sculpt amazing, fantastical forms and vignettes.  The town will be celebrating Winterfest with lots of food and fun. Stay the weekend at the Grand Geneva Resort for its ski slopes and spa.

No stress last minute shopping

Yikes, there are almost no shopping minutes left but the list still needs check-offs.

There’s the present for the hair stylist and we have to get hostess gifts for a couple of New Year’s Eve parties. Then, we have to get something for the in-laws but just haven’t had time. Counting the presents to bring to the family dinner there doesn’t seem to be one for a niece.

Don’t despair if any of the scenarios sound familiar. As much fun as fighting for a space at a shopping mall may sound, there are alternatives when seeking a perfect present.

Check out your grocery store and local drug store, really.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

A stop for bread may mean passing the fruit section where a basket is already holiday wrapped in cellophane and topped by a bow.

You know about bringing a bottle of wine but the next aisle is likely to have bar tools and clever corkscrews.

Fresh, extra virgin oil is in. More grocery stores now stock oils you can fill in bottles.

Now, think drug store. Walgreens and CVS carry picture frames, perfumes, jewelry and toys. They also have gift cards for other stores such as Barnes & Nobel and Macy’s.  As for gift wrapping, make it easy with holiday bags and tissue paper found in the card section.

Whew! Done.

Travel Smart With Jodie wishes everyone a Happy Holiday and a safe, healthy New Year.

How smart are you about traveling with your cell phone?

You may think you have done everything right for a good vacation or business trip abroad.

Arrangements have all been made and you even have a check list. But if you haven’t worked out a cell phone usage plan you may be headed for trouble. Not only can roaming costs add up fast when traveling out of the United States, but your valuable data can be stolen.

Some travelers call their provider ahead of time for an internet usage package. It typically doesn’t cost much and can be as little as $25. But that is typically for internet use  so you may still have to try to limit talking by phone.

It also doesn’t take into account cell thieves. Because even if your phone isn’t stolen while traveling, it can be hacked by skilled cyber criminals.

Cellhire USA CEO Greg Kraynak shows the phone that can be rented for international travel. when

Cellhire USA CEO Greg Kraynak shows the phone that can be rented for international travel.

One way to leave worry behind is to rent a phone. Cellhire.com has International Prepaid phone packages used by such companies as CBS and ABC when covering international events such as the recent Olympics and FIFa World Cup.

Users rent a phone before they leave that will work in the countries visited so personal cell phones can be left at home. Check International Prepaid Data to learn more. Cellhire consultants help clients choose a device and package deal that relate well to places visited.

“Essentially we urge travelers to leave their personal SmartPhone at home.  This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your contacts and personal info, it just means that you rent or purchase a “travel phone” and only use a secure network,” said Greg Kraynak, CEO of Cellhire, USA.

“Using public WIFI is a recipe for disaster, ” Kraynak said. “When you access personal data, social media, bank accounts, photos, etc., on a public platform then you are basically offering your data to be intercepted by cyber criminals.

In addition, visit Kaspersky, an internet security and antivirus company, for  several tips on securing information when in airports, hotels, cafes and other public places.

Traveling smart is more than remembering to bring comfortable shoes and electronic chargers.

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