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Staying safe during your first Spring Break

Just because this is sold to you as one of the best experiences of your life doesn’t mean it will be without question. Nope. It is up to you to ensure a safe and successful Spring Break happens otherwise you run the risk of living with a ruined memory. (Wow, that got heavy).

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Spring Break has become a universal rite of passage there to encourage youngsters to let loose, go wild and burn off any steam before the real world slams into them like the two-ton truck that it is. If you were to ask us, we’d say kids have earned this right. Sure, they don’t know what it is like to be conscripted into the army or be suppressed by unfair rules, but the social and educational pressures heaped on them are unlike anything we have seen before.

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However, before you pack your best pair of trunks or your most flattering swimsuit and head off on a whirlwind adventure, it is important to know how to be safe. Just because this is sold to you as one of the best experiences of your life doesn’t mean it will be without question. Nope. It is up to you to ensure a safe and successful Spring Break happens otherwise you run the risk of living with a ruined memory. (Wow, that got heavy).

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Always Buddy Up

Unless you have chosen a destination that even Google Maps hasn’t heard of, Spring Break is going to be packed and that means you will probably lose track of some of your friends. As such, do what all responsible travelers do, which is embrace the Buddy Up system and have that one person you will always be with. Pool parties, beach raves, clubbing, whatever; always stay with your buddy. Arrive together and leave together.

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Research Is Key

Before you take off, make sure you’ve read up on any details that may come in handy and done all you can to be prepared. Pre-arranged airport transfers. Never take lifts that are just offered to you. Read up on the hotel you’re staying at. Ask the concierge if there are any bits of information about safety and security you should know about, and if there are there certain areas you should keep your pretty high heels out of. Find out about what travel scams are currently on the rise. The more you know the better.

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Make Smart Choices

As much fun as Spring Break is, you need to be alert at all times and make smart choices. We’re talking about drinking responsibly and never leaving your drink unattended. We’re talking about sexual health awareness and knowing where to go if you have any worries when you, you know, wake up, which this website can help with https://www.saferstdtesting.com/std-test-types. We’re talking about wearing sunscreen when spending the day on the beach, and staying hydrated and wearing a hat. We’re talking about having a system whereby one person in your group stays relatively sober just in case. These are all smart choices.

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Be On The Ball

Launching yourself into Spring Break is like stepping into a surreal fantasy where the real life gets left behind. That’s why it is so important you keep a finger on the pulse and keep your wits about you. If you don’t like a situation you’re in, find a way to leave. Before you go out for the night, have a plan so that everyone knows where you are going at what time, how you are getting there and what time you’ll be heading back to wherever you’re staying.

Another absolute must-have is a fully-charged phone and possibly the app Parachute, which you can get at https://parachute.live. It can be so easy to get caught up in the circus and let loose, but just try and make sure you have at least one foot firmly on the ground that is real life.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." This one writes about... anything and everything.

Travel

Top 10 boating safety tips

Get ready for the summer boating season by refreshing yourself and your passengers on safe boating practices. While we draw attention to safety this week, following these guidelines will protect you all year long.

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Photo by Drew Dau from Unsplash.com

This week is National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27, 2022), and BoatTests101.com would like to encourage public awareness of boating safety. One way to start is for people to take a boating safety course and get their boating license, known as the Boater Education Certificate.

Besides getting your license, here are our Top 10 Boating Safety Tips:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket – Even if you are a strong swimmer with quick reflexes, it’s a great idea always to wear your life jacket when on your boat. Choose one that fits properly and is designed for your activity. A PFD that flips you on your back and keeps your head above water is ideal.
  2. Don’t Boat Under the Influence – Any substance that impairs your ability to focus on boating should be avoided, including alcohol, prescription drugs, or other drugs (legal or illegal). Boaters under the influence cause one-third of all boating fatalities.
  3. Carry Proper Safety Equipment – Fire extinguishers, lights, flares, bailers, sound signals, navigation aids, and flags are essential for keeping you safe in an emergency. Check equipment conditions and expiration dates before you head out. If your boat is equipped with an engine cut-off device or switch, you must use it.
  4. Don’t Overload Your Boat – Your vessel’s capacity plate will advise the recommended weight of passengers and gear. Make sure you load it evenly to keep the boat stable and prevent capsizing.
  5. File a Float Plan – Let someone know your boating plans and when you will return. Have a plan to check in if your route changes and when they should call for assistance. Know how to use VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones to call for help. 
  6. Check the Weather – Before and during your trip, keep track of storms that may head into the area. Head toward shore or shelter if the skies start to turn ominous. Take an extra set of clothes in case you get wet. Bring rain gear and sun protection.
  7. Stay Focused – Conditions on the water can change in an instant. Stay alert and pay attention to your actions and the actions of other boaters, anglers, and divers.
  8. Slower is Safer – Follow posted speed signs, and slow down when it’s congested, near wildlife areas, where people are fishing or diving, and when docking.
  9. Know Navigation Rules – The BoatTests101.com course will teach you the “Rules of the Road,” including how to signal or pass other vessels.  Don’t assume the other vessels will follow the rules and be prepared to compensate.
  10. Obey the Laws – BoatTests101.com course will go over boating laws in various circumstances, but head to your state’s website to see the latest rules and regulations. Pay attention and follow any law enforcement instructions.

Get ready for the summer boating season by refreshing yourself and your passengers on safe boating practices. While we draw attention to safety this week, following these guidelines will protect you all year long.

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Destinations

Airbnb launches ultimate designer getaway in Phuket’s iconic heritage mansion

The sprawling white and mustard heritage home is located in the historic heart of Old Phuket Town, and has been exquisitely restored to preserve its original fixtures, including richly patterned tiles and teakwood floors. Its first floor is now home to the Blue Elephant Restaurant – a Michelin Plate awardee and long-running stalwart of Thailand’s culinary industry.

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Filipinos planning their first overseas trip in two years after borders reopen on April 1 can now snag themselves the perfect holiday, as Airbnb launches the ultimate designer stay in Phuket’s palatial Governor’s Mansion – the island’s largest icon of Sino-Portuguese baroque architecture.

As the country gears up for its biggest cultural festival, Songkran, one group of four lucky guests will get to soak up the vibrant festivities with an island getaway of a lifetime, only on Airbnb. The majestic Governor’s Mansion will be bookable on airbnb.com/governorsmansion for only Php2,500* for a two night stay from 15-17 April 2022, welcoming overnight guests for the first time in more than 50 years. Bookings open at 9AM PHT on April 5, 2022. Travelers from Thailand or any of the countries that currently allow international travel to and from Thailand can apply — the Philippines included.

Guests will be hosted by popular Phuket-born model-actress Patricia Tanchanok Good who rose to fame in one of Netflix’s most popular Thai dramas last year, Girl From Nowhere 2, and national ambassador for royal Thai cuisine and Blue Elephant founder, master chef Nooror Somany Steppe. Programming for this special stay is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The 119-year-old Governor’s Mansion welcomed many out-of-town dignitaries and remains one of several neoclassical heritage mansions on Phuket today. The sprawling white and mustard heritage home is located in the historic heart of Old Phuket Town, and has been exquisitely restored to preserve its original fixtures, including richly patterned tiles and teakwood floors. Its first floor is now home to the Blue Elephant Restaurant – a Michelin Plate awardee and long-running stalwart of Thailand’s culinary industry.

On the second floor, renowned Thai designer Saran Yen Panya has created a memorable, visually stunning space that pays homage to Thailand’s rich heritage and buzzing contemporary design scene. The stay features statement pieces by Yothaka – widely revered as Thailand’s master of design – in addition to bespoke handcrafted items by up-and-coming designers Kitt Ta Khon, Masaya, Sumphat Gallery, Thaniya and Mo Jirachaisakul, paired with Phuketian antiques from some of the island’s most distinguished homes and museums.

Guests will be immersed in a quintessentially Phuketian experience, including:

  • A personal welcome at check-in by Thai superstar Patricia ‘Good’ Tanchanok, who will share her favourite hidden gems in Phuket and tips for exploring the island
  • Exclusive access to a two-bedroom suite on the Mansion’s expansive second floor, including a private reception lounge and living room
  • A bespoke, multi-course ‘Songkran’ tasting menu prepared and hosted by master Chef Nooror Somany Steppe
  • A scuba diving and snorkeling adventure around the sparkling reefs and islands that dot the Andaman Sea
  • A gibbon rehabilitation social impact experience in Phuket’s last rainforest

“Thailand is an extraordinary country with unparalleled warmth and hospitality, and some of the most beautiful destinations. As more of us begin to travel further from home and for longer durations, we are working with our Host community to welcome the world back to Thailand safely. We are delighted to add the majestic Governor’s Mansion to our collection of unique stays throughout the Kingdom,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“Songkran is a special moment for all Thais, as we give thanks and celebrate the dawn of a new year. As Thailand reopens, we are incredibly thrilled to partner with Airbnb to warmly welcome the world back to our country. We invite travellers from around the world to experience the “Amazing New Chapters” of Thailand under ‘Visit Thailand Year 2022’, with this iconic stay that shines a light on some of our finest Thai designers; as well as Phuket’s natural wonders, unique heritage and architecture, and delicious local cuisine,” shared Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

For more reasons to book that flight to the Land of Smiles, check out Airbnb’s first-ever Travel Guide to Thailand — spotlighting the hottest and most underrated destinations across the country, delicious gastronomic specialties and the most extraordinary Airbnb Stays for an incredible overseas getaway.

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Free COVID-19 test and travel protection top incentives for international travel

As more overseas destinations ease travel restrictions, Filipinos are expected to visit neighboring countries for leisure with COVID-19 protection and incentives on top of their minds.

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As the pandemic situation evolves, Filipinos are keen to start travelling again with free COVID-19 tests (57%), hospital care (51%), and flexibility in changing travel plans (37%) as the key considerations driving travel decisions, according to Visa’s 2021 Global Travel Intentions Study. Earning rewards or enjoying last-minute offers are now secondary benefits behind measures thapt provide protection and reassurance.

As more overseas destinations ease travel restrictions, Filipinos are expected to visit neighboring countries for leisure with COVID-19 protection and incentives on top of their minds.

Dan Wolbert, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam, said: “These findings reflect the changing outlook Filipinos have on traveling as the COVID-19 situation evolves. We have seen a rebound to travel in many parts of the world as borders open, and Filipinos are optimistic about traveling again.  Similar to other markets, Filipino travelers are conscious about following safety protocols and also want to feel that they have a sufficient access to health protection in the event that risks happen to them while they are abroad.”

The study found that Filipinos want travel insurance that protects them from COVID-19 related risks including the cost of medication and treatment (59%), quarantine charges (52%) and hospitalization room charges (41%).

The study also found that 56 percent of Filipino travelers are keen on vacationing in another country as part of a travel bubble set-up. With travel bubbles, there are less chances of contact with individuals who may have come from areas with high infection rates.

The top five international destinations that Filipinos want to visit once it is safe to do so are the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and Thailand. Meanwhile, Hawaii and South Korea are also generating interest, followed by Australia and Dubai.

The post-pandemic travel landscape will also involve an increased preference for cashless payments, with 63 percent of Filipino travelers expecting to go cashless because of the safety and comfort it brings. Among their top preferences include mobile payments (34%), as well as credit (24%), and debit card (31%) payments.

“As we see the number of COVID-19 cases trending downwards in the Philippines and the government’s decision to start opening our borders, we share the optimism of Filipinos that the road to recovery is beginning,” added Wolbert.

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