(NewsUSA) - It's that time of year again when thousands of college students and young adults will flock to the far reaches of the world for spring break. Wherever your travels take you, it's best to adopt the Boy Scout's motto,"Be Prepared."
The following tips will help you get started.
1. Arrive safely. Traffic death rates are three times higher at night than during the day. This means an all-night drive to Florida or any other sunny locale is not a good idea. If you can't avoid night driving, have someone stay up to talk you.
2. Secure your hotel room. Make sure your door is locked and important belongings like passports and wallets are in the safe. For added security, consider bringing along a portable door stop alarm like that from SABRE, a manufacturer of security products for both law enforcement and the general public. The door stop alarm can alert you if someone tries to break in.
3. Ensure you know the name of your hotel. Memorize the hotel's address, and take a card to give cab drivers (especially if you don't know the language).
4. Protect your personal information. Don't tell new acquaintances your hotel name or room number. You never know who has innocent (or not-so-innocent) intentions.
5. Employ the buddy system. Never leave a party with a stranger, but if you do, consider carrying a pepper gel key ring with you. SABRE offers one for less than $15. It's good for four years, has a 12-foot range and up to 25 bursts.
6. Practice safe drinking. Always have one friend who plans on minimal drinking to look out for everyone and watch cups and glasses as well. Only accept drinks you've watched get made or poured in front of you.
7. Ask for help. If you need help, call yourself. Don't rely on bystanders to call for you.
8. Drink water and wear sunscreen. Too much time in the sun can leave you dehydrated and at risk for sunburn or sun poisoning. Take a water bottle and sunscreen when you go out.
9. Open the lines of communication between students and parents. Providing an itinerary for family members is especially important when traveling overseas. In addition, know where the U.S. embassy or American consulate is in the country where you're headed, and check in often.
10. Travel with your personal protection. Small pepper sprays can be checked through major airlines, and personal alarms can be carried on flights with you. If you're out and about exploring, remember that pepper spray is legal to carry in all 50 states.
For more information, visit www.sabrered.com.
(NewsUSA) - If you were some innocent fleeing a terrorist attack, would you expect to be charged four times the normal cost of a car ride?
Alas, that's what happened to some Uber passengers last December when the "off the charts" demand for a quick escape from anywhere near the 16-hour siege at Sydney, Australia's Lindt Chocolate Café automatically triggered the controversial "surge-pricing" that Uber and other ride-booking services also employ here in the U.S.
Even some of the app-based companies' (former) biggest fans say that's just a fancy term for price gouging. "#Neverforget, #neveragain," read the hashtags celeb Jessica Seinfeld used in Instagramming a receipt for a whopping $415 Uber fare during a recent New York snowstorm. And so many lawmakers across the nation have their own pro-consumer reasons for wanting to crack down on the industry -- lesser players include Lyft and Sidecar -- that you'd almost think the very idea of summoning a ride on a smartphone was Evil Incarnate.
It's your call, but here's what you should know before booking one of those cars:
* Your driver may not have been thoroughly screened. Newspapers have reported numerous cases of ride-booking drivers arrested for allegedly raping or assaulting passengers. But efforts to subject the newbies to the same rigorous background checks as taxi and limousine drivers -- akin to a "Not Welcome" sign for lowlifes -- have been fought by all three services.
"Background screening is a public safety issue," says Gary Buffo, president of the National Limousine Association (www.limo.org). "Competition is a good thing, but everyone needs to play by the same rules."
Uber, for one, has touted what it calls its "industry-leading (vetting) standards." But that claim took a hit last December when prosecutors in California alleged, as part of a consumer protection lawsuit against the company, that their drivers weren't being fingerprinted -- thus making its criminal checks "completely worthless."
* Good luck suing if you're injured. Some ride-booking services allow drivers to carry personal, rather than commercial, insurance. (Hey, they use their own cars.) Testifying at a recent City Council hearing in Buffalo, New York, Kristina Baldwin, of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, called that a "serious insurance gap."
* Surge pricing can be a shocker. Uber did reimburse Sydney riders after getting skewered by the media. But New Year's Eve revelers in New York City, learning a lesson in supply and demand, apparently had no such luck. "The most expensive eight minutes of my life," the New York Daily News quoted one angry passenger.
(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Advanced heart failure is a serious and deadly disease that needs to be managed and understood. As a progressive disease that is rarely cured, it can get worse over time. That is why it might be time to consider other treatment options -- like LVAD therapy.