Friday, December 28, 2007

Birthday Celebrations from Around the World

In 2008 celebrate your birthday the way your ancestors did!

Lithuania - In Lithunia, a garland is hung around the entire door of the home of the birthday person. The birthday person sits in a decorated chair and family members lift them up to three times.

Norway - Norwegian children dance in front of their class with a friend while the rest of the students sing a happy birthday song. Norway's national flag is also displayed outside the home of a birthday person. On the birthdays of important people, the streets in Norway are decorated with flags.

Russia - Instead of a birthday cake, many Russian child receive a birthday pie with a birthday greeting carved into the crust. Children are given gifts by their teachers. Children usually play a game that features a clothesline and each guest gets to cut down a prize to take home. They have a birthday party either on their birthday or or on the weekend.

Australia - The Australian children have a special dish on their birthdays called "Fairy Bread". This is a is buttered bread covered with tiny, sprinkles known as "hundreds and thousands". In Australia too the handing over of the is symbolical of coming off age. This happens when someone turns twenty-one.

Muslim Communities - In Muslim cultures people thank Allah following the birth of a child by distributing gifts among the poor. When the child is about a week old, he is tonsured and his family donates an amount of silver, often equal too, or even more than the weight of the child's hair. Family and friends get together over a grand feast.

Argentina - Argentinian children receives a pull on the earlobe for each year of their birthday. When girls turn 15 they have a huge party and dance the waltz with their father and other boys.

Equador - In Equador when a girl turns 15, there is a great celebration, She wears a pink dress and her father puts on the birthday girl's first pair of high heels and dances the waltz with her. 14 maids and 14 boys also dance the waltz.

Peru - In Peru, guests at a birthday party receives two kinds of favors which are called "recordatorio". This means souvenir. While the first favor is a goody box or a bag, the second is a pin made in honor of the event. At these parties children almost always receive fancy paper hats.

Fun Birthday Facts

In England, when you reach 80, 90 or 100 years of age, you receive a telegram from the Queen.

The French and Italian celebrate Name Days more so than birthdays.

In Korea, the two most important birthdays are the 100th day and the 60th year.

In the Islamic world, green is a good color to use for wrapping.

A Golden Birthday happens only once in a person's lifetime. It happens when the person's age and the date of the day they were born is the same.

More people celebrate their birthdays in August than in any other month. The two other months in which birthday rates are high is July and September.

The world's largest birthday cake was created in 1989 it weighed 128,238 pounds, 8 oz. and used 16,209 pounds of icing.

The most common birth date is October 5 and the least common is May 22 in U.S.A.

The Sultan of Brunei hosted the world's most expensive Birthday Party to celebrate his 50th Birthday on 13 July, 1996. The cost was a whopping US $27.2 million. Three concerts featuring Michael Jackson costs US $16 million of the total amounts.

Paul McCartney's Birth Certificate was auctioned in March 1997, for US $84,146. It is believed to be the world's most expensive Birth Certificate.

William Shakespeare's died on his 52nd birthday: 23 April 1616.

The first balloons are believed to have been children's toys, made from animal bladders and/or intestines, often filled with water. The Aztecs used to blow air into the bowels of sacrificed cats and twisted them into animal shapes and presented these to the gods as a sacrifice. Toy balloons were introduced by pioneer rubber manufacturer Thomas Hancock.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Secrets of Travel Agents

We all have our preconceived notions about travel, whether it be about booking online or that the airlines really are trying to lose our luggage. After working at a travel agency I would like to share with you the number one thing I have learned about travel......


Book early. Simple, huh?

If you wait until the the week or the month before you want to take your trip you will end up spending about two times the amount you would have spent if you had planned two or three months in advance.

Airlines are scaling back the number of flights from airports all across the world; therefore, flights fill up faster, making rates go up. Supply and demand will affect all last minute travelers. The same thing goes for hotels and car rentals. When supply runs low, fleets diminish, and rooms book up, the remaining open reservations become quite valuable and will cost you more.

Even if you don't think anyone else in the world would be headed to Fargo in January, there could be a conference, assembly, or other large event that you are unaware of.

The bottom line:
plan early - have your travel agent constantly watching prices - save money

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gift Wrap Valentine’s Day with Travel

Gift Wrap Valentine’s Day with Travel

If you’ve ever had the unenviable experience where Valentine’s Day wasn’t as sweet as you hoped – or worse – was a letdown for your partner, you probably learned a very important lesson: Plan early! So, consider this a friendly nudge to kick-start your planning and hopefully outdo yourself (or redeem yourself) with a romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day.
Because Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, you have an excellent opportunity to make it a long, romantic weekend. Your travel expert can help you navigate through the hundreds of special packages offered by hotels and resorts that include such romantic touches like spa services, a special dinner menu and reservations, in-room breakfast, chocolates, limousine pickup from the airport or flowers in your room. Maybe a quaint bed and breakfast is more appealing; they can help with that, too.

If your goal is to thoroughly captivate and delight, make it a long European weekend. Take off Wednesday, arrive on Valentine’s Day and away you go for a little amour in Paris, amore in Italy, or amor in Spain. These countries are known for indulging the senses in everything from food to romance, and you can bet your partner will be captivated the moment you land. Of course, you’ll want to be sure the trip is tailored for love, and your travel expert can guide you with restaurant recommendations, enriching activities and sites, or a perfect romantic spot to just share some heart-melting alone time. Since prices to overseas destinations are considerably lower in February, a European romantic getaway is even more affordable and, let’s be honest, will gain you considerable points with your mate.

For those with an affinity for the open road, do it in style with an upscale auto rental. Imagine the exhilarating fun the two of you can have riding in the comfort of a sleek cruiser, a high-performance speedster or, for the eco-conscious, a fuel-friendly hybrid (a fantastic option for a long trek). Many car rentals now offer a GPS system ensuring that you never get lost. Accommodations can be arranged by your travel expert wherever you intend to slow down for the evening. Now is your chance to shine this Valentine’s Day; contact your local travel agent and get a head-start on your romantic getaway.

Adventure to a New You

For all of you that are reading this out of Fargo, North Dakota....

Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit and Lady Wellness are partnering to promote "Adventure to a New You"

Sign up at Lady Wellness with no fee from now until January 31st. Their fitness experts will help you set a realistic weight loss goal to be achieved by March 31st.

Once you have met your goal you are eligible for special pricing from Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit when you book a vacation to celebrate your achievement!

By meeting your goal you will also receive health, wellness, and beauty supplies from Maps, Maps, Maps, Mad Hatters Salon, Swanson Health Products, Arbonne International, LexLi, and Tupperware.

Good luck!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

  • You are looking to ride a tiger over a bridge in India

No matter how zany or unique your request, your travel agent will make it happen just how you imagined it would.

  • You love to live on the wild-side, they love to keep you protected

No matter if you are mountain climbing, on a safari through the jungle, or sitting on the beach, your travel agent will make sure you have the proper travel insurance to cover any dilemmas you may face.

  • They get around

Most of the travel agents recommending hotels and resorts to you have been there and experienced what your destination has to offer. Most travel agencies only recommend quality resorts.

  • They have friends

Travel agencies have connections with companies all over the world. They have negotiated rates, along with personal contacts, to make your trip the best trip.

  • They do the work

All you have to do is put in one call or email. Your agent spends time researching, contacting, negotiating, and planning your dream vacation.

  • You can’t get rid of them

Before, during and after your trip your agent is working with you to make everything goes smoothly

  • They keep you out of the curtained-off security room

Travel agents have up to date information on all travel rules and regulations so you can avoid a “more detailed” search from security

  • They care about you

Whether you need a ride to the airport, or a shoulder to cry on, your travel agent will help you out.

  • They know the value of a dollar

Your travel agent knows you work hard for your money so he/she will find the best deals for you each and every time, without charging you an arm and a leg to do it.

  • They never sleep

Travel specialists are waiting to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever you need them, they will be there. If a disaster were to occur, your agent will be on the phone working to get your home quickly and safely.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Internet Flys High

Business travelers can spend a majority of their time thousands of feet above the ground, flying hours to get to a meeting or a conference. Laptops and wireless Internet have made it possible for these travelers to get some work done while waiting for their flights, but what about while they are in-flight?

Airlines are now addressing that question by offering, or by planning to offer, in-flight Internet and instant messaging.

JetBlue is one airline that now offers free email and instant messaging services on one of its aircrafts. American Airlines, Virgin, and Alaska Airlines also will be bringing the Internet to the sky in 2008.

What about those traveling without their laptop? For those travelers, Virgin America plans on linking technology to its seat-back entertainment system. This system would offer the ability to send and receive messages during flight, but not make phone calls.

"All of these new capabilities on flights will make business travel easier and much more productive. Within the next 10 years I believe Internet capabilities will be built into most aircraft. Technology is getting more and more advanced and the airlines will not want to be left behind," said Sabrina Whiting, director of sales and marketing at Travel Travel Carlson Wagonlit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Passport Needed to Enter Canada Effective Jan 31, 2008

Effective Jan. 31, 2008
New Requirements for Entry at Land and Sea Ports from Canada

Effective Jan. 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens (19 and older) will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as 1) a passport or 2) a birth certificate or naturalization certificate supported by a government issued photo ID, when entering the United States through land and sea ports of entry from Canada. Children ages 18 and under are only required to present proof of citizenship (without ID), such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or passport. If a birth certificate is presented, it must be a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. A photocopy of a birth certificate will only be accepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if the original has been sent to the Department of State in support of a passport application. In such case, the traveler must obtain and provide proof of passport application.

These changes are significant as compared to the current and long-standing policy that allows CBP officers to accept oral declarations of citizenship from U.S. and Canadian citizens seeking entry into the United States through a land or sea border. Effective Jan. 31, 2008, oral declarations will not be accepted.

All travelers by air should be reminded to bring a passport. The passport requirement for air travelers entering the U.S. from Canada has been on the books since Jan. 8, 2007.

Please note that travelers holding NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel. Eventually, at an unspecified date in mid-2008, the Department of State will require passports, or soon-to-be announced passport alternatives, from ALL travelers at ALL points, including air, land and sea, within the Western Hemisphere. Prior to the effective date, the State Department intends to make available a Passport Card, which is specifically designed for land and sea travel from neighboring countries. The primary advantages of the Passport Card are that it will be less expensive and smaller than a traditional passport.

In addition, several states including Washington, Vermont and New York are creating an Enhanced Drivers License that will, according to the CBP, also fulfill the proof-of-citizenship requirement at land and sea borders. Further details of these alternative products are unknown.

Since passports are the gold standard for entering and exiting the country from all foreign destinations, ALL travelers, including those traveling by land or sea in the Western Hemisphere, should be encouraged to obtain, and travel with, a passport.

The current turnaround time for a passport is four to six weeks. For information on obtaining a U.S. Passport visit or call 877-487-2778.

Specific documentation requirements for land, sea and air travel may be found at

To learn more about NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST, visit

Monday, December 10, 2007

Long flights Cause Health Concerns

According to the World Health Organization, flights that are four hours or longer can cause health problems in a small percentage of travelers. One of the more severe health problems a traveler may experience are blood clots that can form because of cramped conditions and lack of movement.

The risk of blood clots to any individual traveler is extremely low but there are ways to avoid even the possibility of any health problems.

By making sure to walk a few times during the flight and by doing small stretching exercises passengers can reduce the risk of blood clots. Passengers can also make it a point to move all parts of their bodies during flight, which will help reduce the likelihood of being sore upon arrival.
Other suggestions to stay healthy during long flights include staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, and taking vitamins. Bringing pillows, water bottles, and eye-masks are also recommended for a relaxing, healthy flight.

Friday, December 7, 2007


It is not hard to discover why Hawaii often makes it onto the top ten list for vacation destinations.
Hawaii's chain of islands features beautiful beaches, clear ocean views, stunning volcanoes, a remarkable atmosphere, and a one-of-a-kind experience that you will cherish forever.

I have talked to quite a few people who have visited the Hawaiian islands and not one of them was disappointed. Many even said it was the best trip they have ever taken.
The Hawaiian islands are comprised of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii's Big Island. Each island is unique and offers its own individual experience.
Here is some information about the islands directly from Hawaii's Convention and Visitors Bureau:
The oldest and northernmost island in the Island chain is graced with dramatic, natural beauty. Outdoor adventures and romantic escapades flourish on Kauai.
Explore the golden sand beaches of the Coconut Coast.
See the massive Waimea Canyon, "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific."
Take a boat ride to marvel at the towering cliffs of the Napali Coast.

Home to the state capitol and the majority of Hawaii's population, Oahu is a vibrant mix of natural and cultural wonders with the modern arts, entertainment, and amenities of the 21st century.
See pro surfers charge the big winter waves of the famous North Shore.
Learn about American history at the memorials and museums in Pearl Harbor.
Soak up the sun and learn to surf yourself on legendary Waikiki Beach.
With almost half of its population being of native Hawaiian ancestry, Molokai is an island that has preserved its connection to the past and its love for the outdoors.
Step back to a simpler time in the sleepy town of Kaunakakaki.
View the verdant flora in Halawa Valley.
Learn about the works of Father Damien at Kalaupapa Settlement.

Without a single traffic light, Lanai is a true island getaway for luxury, romance, and privacy away from crowds.
Play golf at Lanai's two prestigious courses.
See the rock formations at Keahiakawelo, "The Garden of the Gods."
Off-road amongst the pine trees along Munro Trail.
The second largest island is home to what some believe are the best beaches in the world, as well as Humpback whales who migrate off Maui's shores every winter.
Wake up early to catch the sunrise atop Haleakala Crater.
Stroll through historic Lahaina, and learn about Maui's whaling past.
Drive the long and winding road to Hana for spectacular scenery.

Bigger than all of the other islands combined, the island of Hawaii, or Hawaii's Big Island, is vast enough to hold 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones—from sandy beaches to snowcapped mountains.
See the waterfalls and seascapes off the Hamakua Coast.
Snorkel, scuba, or fish off the Kohala Coast.
View Kilauea, the world's most active volcano in Volcano's National Park.
Activities that are popular in Hawaii include:
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Parasailing
  • Cliff Diving
  • Site seeing
  • Hiking
  • Shopping
  • Beaches
  • Luaus
  • Swimming with the dolphins

And the list goes on and on!

Everyone should visit this dream destination at least once in their life. Here are some tips for when you take your trip to Hawaii:
Packing For Hawaii

The weather in Hawaii varies depending on your location. For example, many of the national parks, such as Haleakala National Park and Volcanoes National Park, are located at high altitudes. The temperature will be slightly cooler there compared to when you are on the beach or in town.

The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85º F. (29.4 C) while the average daytime winter temperature is 78º (25.6º C). Temperatures at night are approximately 10º F. lower. Because of this temperature difference, plan on packing something a bit warmer to wear during the evenings.

Sturdy shoes are recommended for exploring the islands, along with bugspray and sunscreen.

Staying Safe in Hawaii

As with any popular tourist destination, remember not to leave your luggage unattended or store anything very valuable in the hotel safe, and do not carry large amounts of cash with you, as this may put you at risk of being targeted by pickpocketers.

Enjoy Your Stay

A trip to Hawaii is guaranteed to be a memorable one. The sights are amazing and the atmosphere is something that will be remembered for a long time.