Top Five Tips to Avoid the Post-Holiday Blues

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many people experience the post-holiday blues. Learn some easy and powerful tips from International Certified Success Coaches, Amy Ahlers and Melissa McFarlane, to beat post-holiday depression:

1. Look to nature and hibernate:

Mother Nature is the master of all things, isn’t she? She lets us know when to Spring into action, bask into the glow of Summer, gear for change for Fall and finally, hibernate for Winter. After the holiday bustle and stress, why not use the months of January and February to hibernate and practice RADICAL self care? Get massages, take hot baths, spend more time with your family and friends. Allow yourself the time and space to cocoon so that come spring, you are a full-blown butterfly ready to emerge.

2. Set your sights on the year ahead:

January is a time for new years’ resolutions and goal setting-a way for you to look at what you want to CREATE for the year ahead. And when you’re in the mode of creation, it’s hard to find the space to be depressed. At Electric Kites Success Coaching, we always begin with the vision of where we want to be. Look at the following questions:

o What’s the story I want to be telling about this year?

o What’s the vision for the year?

o What is my #1 focus/goal for the year?

o What MUST occur in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

o What MUST STOP in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

As you lean into what you want to create this year, you’ll find your inspiration, energy and passion rise, as the post-holiday blues easy fade into the background.

3. New Years’ Resolution Burn Out:

One of the things that often leads to the post- holiday blues is New Years’ Resolution failure. Many times, we make a resolution for the New Year that is WAY TOO BIG and fail in week two. And then we spend a month (or several years!) beating ourselves up. Instead, set yourself up for success by making a resolution for the first month of the year that feels like a delicious baby step-then build on your success.

4. The Big Project Withdrawal Syndrome:

Let’s face it, the holidays are a huge project! It’s a time filled with shopping, card writing, receiving, giving, scheduling and cooking. It can suck up your time, energy, and patience all at once. Perhaps what your blues are telling you is that you are, quite frankly, bored and need a new project. Maybe now is the right time to take on a charity event, a new project at work, a class you’ve always wanted to take. Anything that feels big and juicy will do the trick!

5. Gratitude and Appreciation:

Gratitude and appreciation are the simplest (and often most overlooked) keys to fighting any kind of blues (holidays or otherwise). Take time to practice gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis. Perhaps you can set up a gratitude ritual around the dinner table, at morning mediation or at night prayers. As you appreciate and express gratitude your blues will become a thing of the past.

Vacation Packages – Tips on Getting the Best All-Inclusive Deals

The best solution to your budget constraints when it comes to going on a vacation is getting special deals like all-inclusive packages. All-inclusive may mean differently based on the kind of destination or lodging you choose. Some resorts may pertain to the rent, transportation, food and drinks. Cruises might include on-ship entertainment, and other necessities. Hotels may also interpret all-inclusive in a different way. They might include the rent, tours and meals but won’t include the transportation in going there. Before booking or making any reservations, you should always check out the necessary details of your prospective packages.

Here are tips on how to get the best deals:

1. Checking out last-minute offers. There are many websites that concentrate exclusively in this kind of package. Search online, you can type in ‘last-minute vacations,’ on the search engine and press enter. Then you will see a large list of sites where you can find such holiday trips. Always remember that reserving on the last-minute for cruises are not applicable. Generally, cruise vacations are reserved two weeks before the said departure. As for hotels and resorts, they can let you book on the day of your departure.

2. Various websites offer all-inclusive vacation packages. Look for tempting offers like 2 plus 1 deal, stay for 2 nights and get one night free. Another appealing offer that you might find is getting free spa treatments or unlimited beverage.

3. Getting a break during the off-season is also much affordable. Air companies and hotels have less number of customers after summer (July to November). You will definitely get very interesting all-inclusive rates at low-cost prices. However, travelling on July and November can only mean more rain is coming. It might be affordable but you also have to be patient with the weather. You might not enjoy it as much as you could have when its summer.

4. Always make sure you get to book a package deal. There are various travel sites online that allows you to book them altogether from renting a car, tickets and lodging like Hawaii hotels you will receive much bigger discounts than booking them separately.

5. Join reward programs. Lots of resorts offer perks for regular guests, like reduced rates for numerous stay and some even offer free nights. There are also some hotels which give out free dining packages, which can be redeemed per travel points. You might as well check out your favorite hotel and see if they have loyalty programs available and what they offer.

Disneyland Vacations – 4 Steps To Booking Your Trip

Some people say “80% of your vacation is the anticipation!” Let’s get started with tese tips on booking a trip to the ‘House of the Mouse?’. If you have a particular interest in Disneyland Vacations, then this informative article will help, even before you strap on your mouse ears…

Disneyland park at Anaheim, CA in the USA is in fact one of the best theme parks in the world and booking a trip to Disneyland can itself get you into a good mood. However, like any vacation, you need to make sure that you’ve got your Trip to Disneyland planned out. Good planning will not only add to your enjoyment but will also help you in saving some money.

Here are some tips that will help you plan your Disneyland trip:

Before you book: You must make sure that Disneyland is open on all the days that you plan to visit Disneyland on. Though Disneyland is usually open on all days throughout the year, there might be times when it is closed e.g. Did you know that Disneyland was closed for one day in 2005 in preparation for their 50th anniversary celebrations?

Timing is everything: If you plan a trip to Disneyland during off-peak days, you not only get great deals on travel and accommodations, but also on the entry tickets for parks. Moreover, the rush in Disneyland is a lot less on off-peak days so you might be able to reduce the wait time for the attractions. However, some attractions and events might not be open during off-peak times. Also, the opening hours might be limited during off peak period of the year. So, check the calendar at Disneyland website and decide on the dates you want to visit Disneyland on.

Book in advance: The general rule of booking travel / vacation applies to Disneyland too. Booking your hotel and flight in advance is especially important if you are planning to travel to Disneyland from a far off location. It can really save you a lot of money.

Booking a complete package all at once: The website of Disneyland offers many ways of booking vacation packages in one shot. You can book ‘hotel + Air + tickets’ or just ‘hotel + tickets’ or just the hotel through their website http://disneyland.disney.go.com This can save a lot amount of time and hassle. However, if you want, you can book your trip through a variety of travel agents too.

There’s a lot to understand about Disneyland in California. In knowing the facts above, your trip to Disneyland will be a much more enjoyable experience, but there is still plenty more you’ll learn about in subsequent articles.

Where to Get the Money for Vacation – Money for Vacation Tips

Many times in the past we have had a dilemma, where to get the money for vacation. We all work very hard each day and a vacation, in my opinion, is something everyone should take at least every couple years.

Due to various things going on in your personal lives, sometimes it’s hard to find money for vacation so you can do all the things you need and want to do on your trip.

Here we have listed some tips and places to come up with funds for your travel plans. Many of us don’t have the problem of coming up with funds, but for the many that do, this article will help you brainstorm a list of ways to put money into the pot.

**Start saving early. Many times people who know they are going to be going on vacation next year will begin saving now, or if you plan on taking a major trip in the future, why not put a little away here and there. This isn’t always an option, but if you had to skip your vacation this year, why not start now – look for travel deals now, figure out your destination, sign up for blogs and feeds, and begin your planning now.

**Use your tax refund. Many Americans every year have the ability to utilize their income tax refunds for a number of purposes. If you are someone who has overpaid the government and get some of that back, this is always an option.

**Set up a vacation fund. Pay yourself first and put some of that into a vacation pot that you don’t touch until your trip. Each year, my parents will do this by putting loose coins into a bank, and by the time their trip comes they have enough money for gas, food, extra fun stuff they wouldn’t have had.

**Cut back on other daily items. Stop buying that $4 cup of coffee everyday. Cut back on dining out at sit down restaurants. Focus on a budget where you can penny pinch a bit. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy your ultimate vacation when otherwise you may not be able to go.

**Do small weekend trips throughout the year. Instead of a week long vacation in some remote location, why not go somewhere closer for a weekend getaway. Camping is great, lake trips, beach trips, and other spots that you can make a quick drive to and just get away for a few days.

**Moonlight or pick up some extra income. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is work more right? Well, due to my Florida website, I make enough extra money that it pays for extras in our lives like home repairs, dining out, and vacations. It has been a tremendous help.

**Use credit cards, but use them wisely. I hesitate to mention this one because many people will whip out their plastics for much of their trip. This isn’t the best way to find money for vacation, but it can supplement a number of things. Using debt to pay for things like vacation can be a downward cycle you don’t want to start, so be careful.

**Eat intelligently while on vacation. We typically take one meal out per day and eat the rest in. This saves us a fortune and we still get to enjoy the tasty eats around our destination of choice.

**Set up a goal. Somehow when you commit to something and put a plan together, things tend to work in your favor. If you want something to happen you can make it happen. Experts call it the “law of attraction” and it seems to work, so why not!

**Be a smart travel planner. Searching intelligently and using the vast resources of the Internet will ultimately find you better deals. When you add up car rentals, gas, hotels, airfare, things to do, etc. they get expensive quickly. They can also add up a lot of savings if you shop around and find good deals while not sacrificing a great vacation.

Travel lovers, this is just a start. Use your creativity and figure out some ways to find money for vacation if you are on a budget. We all need some time away from time to time so do whatever you need to do to make your trip happen.

Asperger’s and the Holidays

In my private practice I’ve noticed a trend. Around November, old, current and new clients call wanting to schedule sessions to talk about one topic: the holidays. The trend is not surprising: most therapists find themselves busy at this time of year, when expectations and realities can clash, and even the most mature find themselves stuck in teenager roles and feelings long since discarded.

But for a therapist who counsels adults with Asperger’s the increase in client need may be surprising to some. Aren’t Aspies supposed to be unconcerned with the judgments of others, even family members? Don’t Aspies face holiday family time with few, if any, expectations for intimacy or fun? Don’t Aspies who find themselves alone during the holidays consider their solitude a “Get Free Out of Jail” card, rather than a reason for loneliness or depression? After all, Aspies don’t really seek out relationships, right? If any of these assumptions sound familiar to you, beware of the Aspie Stereotype, which pervades media (think “Rainman”), research teams (think “Yale”), pop culture (think SNL’s “Nick Burns: The computer Guy”) and even some therapist circles (not me!).

Contrary to popular notions regarding Asperger’s, many clinicians, those who work in the trenches with adults struggling with the challenges of Asperger’s, find their Aspie clients confused and overwhelmed by the holidays. Most of us harbor conscious or unconscious expectations about the holidays – how they should feel, who they should be spent with, how tall the tree should be, who should host dinner…the list can go on. A lack of awareness of one’s own “rules” regarding the holidays can set the stage for confusion, disappointment, impulse coping skills and depression. If you have Asperger’s, you may be surprised at your own “automatic” answers to questions such as:

Should holidays be spent with friends or family? Should loved ones exchange gifts, or not? Who should travel where for the holiday celebration? Tinsel, or lights? While these questions may seem trivial, they’re not – and often they shed light on our automatic thoughts that go unchallenged and cause problems. For instance, if your “rule” is that Christmas or Hanukkah is a commercialized money-making holiday to benefit department stores, you may refuse to participate, and thus miss genuine opportunities to connect with loved ones. If you automatically decree that holidays should be spent with family or friends, you may miss the comfort that solitude can bring you.

Please don’t fall into the trap of trying to live up to what you think “normal holidays” (an oxymoron) should be like. Holidays for Aspies are often riddled with “shoulds”, which trigger resentment and resistance. Adults with Asperger’s who give themselves permission to meet their own unique needs for togetherness and solitude, fun and rest, engagement and disengagement, often find themselves less pressured, less anxious and more accepting of themselves and others. This balanced approach can prevent total shutdown mode, which is a natural response to over stimulation and helplessness.

Here are some tips Aspies may find helpful:

Plan for taking breaks during visits. Examples are taking a walk outside, taking a nap with a book, taking some quiet time for deep breathing, taking a quick ride or offering to run an errand in the car, playing a video game with someone or alone, or announcing a time-out and removing yourself from the group.

Schedule realistically. Over scheduling during the holidays can lead to burnout when being around people is gratifying, but stressful (or just plain difficult). While it’s great to push yourself to socialize, the holidays are a time to be reasonable – don’t expect yourself to go from no parties to three or four in a month. Beware of the lure of substance use. Many of us rely on the cocktail or two to help ease party anxiety. While there may not be too much harm in this, most clinicians see a surge in substance use during the holidays, which can lead to hangovers, a shaken sense of self, embarrassment, or worse. Remember that as long as you’re using substances to quell the anxiety, you’re not truly growing in your ability to handle social situations.

Be extra kind to yourself. This sounds corny, and it is. But think about it: we spend so much time during the holidays thinking about giving to others (or avoiding it!), but how much do we think about truly giving to ourselves? This is the time to use kind words and actions to take care of yourself. Ideas include buying or checking out a new book, going to the movies alone, eating a favorite meal, spending quiet time petting the cat. Seek help if you need to. Holiday therapy can be a temporary bridge to January 2! Here’s to your success in creating a holiday this year that you can anticipate with groundedness and optimism.

Deep Sea Fishing Tips

Fishing in the deep sea is an amazing experience that once tried you will never forget. Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy your trip even more.

1. Watch what the sea and its wildlife are telling you

If you see birds, such as gulls, hovering over an area of water, pay attention. There is a strong likelihood that there are smaller fish that are used by fishermen for bait in the immediate area. This shows that there will be larger fish under the surface of the water. Driftwood is another sign of larger fish in the area. Follow these simple indications and you will be landing fish in no time.

2. Watch out for snooks hiding places

If you are on the lookout for snooks on your fishing trip, remember to look underneath ledges as they are a favorite hiding place for them. Snooks are very similar in their habits to bass.

3. Use crabs during a full moon

Crabs tend to shed their skins during the full moon. So when fishing during a full moon, try using soft crab imitations for your bait. This will entice stripers out of their hiding places to look for the crabs.

4. Find dolphins when fishing for tuna

If you are fishing for tuna, particularly yellowfin, the best way to spot them is to look for dolphins. Tuna school with them, so if you see dolphins you can bet that tuna won’t be far away. Just be sure to be careful that you don’t land a dolphin by accident since they are a protected species and must be treated with respect.

5. Burn, don’t cut

If you find that you can’t cut your line, try burning through it instead. You will find it is much easier to do and avoid being cut if your scissors slip.

6. Fish near a reef.

If you haven’t tried it before, fish near a reef. You will be surprised at the number of large fish that are feeding on smaller fish that live on a reef.

7. Raise your chances with a Circle Hook

If you would like to raise your hook up quota, opt for a circle hook. They will increase your catches due to their make up. And you will find removing the hook easier as it will not stick in the fish gut.

8. Find your sea legs

If you find that you are suffering from sea sickness try watching the horizon. It may sound silly but try to stay on deck if you can. Staying downwind of fumes is also advisable as they can make you feel worse.

9. Anchor trouble

If you discover that you cannot raise your anchor after dropping, use a float attached to it. By noting when the tide turns you should be able to free the anchor and set sail once again.

10. Find the fish in order to fish successfully

If you thought that you should be catching your live bait first and then moving away from the reef to catch more fish, think again. If you stay near the live bait, you increase your chances of catching the larger fish that are feeding on them.

Las Vegas Vacation – Tips, Tricks and Cautions

These “cautions”, “tips”, and “tricks” are offered to help make your Las Vegas Vacation as enjoyable, fast and easy to plan as possible. Whether this is your first trip to “Fabulous Las Vegas” or you are a veteran, you’ll find some useful tips and tricks here.

Las Vegas Travel Tips: First and foremost, the biggest mistake many travelers to Las Vegas make in planning a trip is to book the cheapest air fare/hotel package “available anywhere”. These are offered everywhere from your hometown newspaper to television ads to especially, e-mail spam. Beware!

Why? A Cheap Las Vegas Vacation is good, we agree! BUT, did you know virtually all Las Vegas Hotels have 2- 3 levels of room quality (or options)? Now, we mean even many of the five star, “big ones” many of these are just plain substandard rooms, maybe with a nice view of the air conditioning system! (This actually happened to me personally, and was it Loud!)

Things like older bed mattresses, no safes, old decorating, long walks to the casino, restraunts, shows, or even a taxi. Did you know there are monorail trains running right behind some of the rooms? How about a roller coaster right outside your window? And lots more. Just remember “cheapest” is just that. Ask at the front desk at check-in exactly where your room is, look at it before signing in if possible.

We aren’t pushing for only high dollar rooms here, just get the best quality room your budget will allow, you will be very glad you did.

Why book your Hotel first? Las Vegas is booked up an average of 94% year round, so plan ahead (at least 30+ days is recommended) to get the exact days you want, where you want, room quality you want. Plus, usually it’s less expensive to book well in advance. Did you know that Sunday through Thursday is less expensive? When you get your selected Las Vegas Hotel booked, then you can book a flight to fit the days in and out to fit YOUR schedule.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

Once you get your Las Vegas Hotel booked first. Then you can book the Las Vegas Shows that you want, when you want. Be sure to check to see if your particular show choice isn’t “dark” on your selected days. Holidays are a good example of dark days.

Then book your Las Vegas Tour. (If you have never experienced the thrill of a Helicopter Ride at night over “Glitter Gulch and Downtown”, or a daytime trip over the Boulder Dam and Grand Canyon this is something you will never forget!) It isn’t as expensive as you might think! Check our tours links for prices and times.

This is the entertainment capital of the World, so allow yourself enough time to take in as many attractions (dozens are free) as possible, it will make your Las Vegas Vacation much more memorable. If possible, book an extra night stay just to allow for a special Las Vegas Tour or a day of Las Vegas Golf.

Las Vegas Gambling Tips:

Gambling is the lifeblood of Las Vegas. You didn’t really think those billion dollar hotels were built by “winners” did you? Set a daily budget for gambling and stick to it! You do have a good chance at winning. Hundreds if not thousands of “Hand Pay Jackpots” are paid every day. Be careful though, those chips, tokens and ticket-in/ticket-out seem too much like “play money” they are not they are your real money! Stick to your budget! Did I say that already?

Get a “players card” everywhere you go and use it, or if you are a “table player” ask the pit boss to “rank” or “rate” you. They will track your play and comp you accordingly with all kinds of free stuff. Such as meals, rooms, clothing, limos, gift shop points and even cash. These really help put the odds in your favor.

Seems like my “budget” is always too small, but try your best to set a reasonable daily goal and stick to it, don’t tap into tomorrows budget! Just maybe you’ll walk away a big winner! It happens every day. Remember the phrase: “Walk away when ahead”!

It’s not my place to preach, but here are some very useful Las Vegas tips on handling your money. All that cash in the casinos you see everywhere attracts some pretty shady characters (read Crooks!) Security is excellent, but there are always a few, and it just takes one to ruin a perfect vacation.

Las Vegas Security:

Ladies, bring or buy a small purse with a neck strap or waste pouch, or fanny pack, something that is comfortable enough to keep on your person all the time. Never ever set your purse on the floor or next to a machine, or on a stool next to you. This is a magnet for thieves! Keep that strap around your neck.

Most thieves work in pairs, one to distract you, the other to snag your purse. Just a couple types of distractions they use are: one will drop a coin or dollar bill or two near you on the floor and ask you “is that your cash on the floor?” while the other grabs your stuff, or overly talkative “players” will sit down next to you and jabber to get your attention, while their partner grabs your stuff, or hits the payout button and walks away with your ticket. Believe me. This does happen. They are very slick and fast, so just be aware.

When you do accumulate a couple winning tickets, hide them in your wallet or purse until you are ready to cash them in, and then stash the cash. Remember the “walk away” tip?

Men: It isn’t degrading to wear a waste pouch. Okay, if you just don’t want to, then fold your bills and keep them in your front pants pocket. If they “pickpocket” your wallet with all your credit cards in it at least you’ll have your cash, or vice versa, just keep them separated. And, watch those tickets.

If you do hit a good size jackpot, take the money to the safe in your room or take it to the Hotel desk for safekeeping. Or, ask for a Security escort to your room or car. They are happy to provide this service. Don’t walk around the casino or streets with a big wad of cash!

The Security at all Hotels and Casinos is excellent. With all those thousands of cameras (Eyes in the sky) every inch of the casino is being taped continuously. (Did you know that Nevada law requires casinos to have this level of security?) It is for your protection as well as the Hotel/Casino.

Now please understand, we are not trying to scare you away here, but rather just make you aware! It is real easy to get caught up in all the flashing lights, noise, overhead shows, people watching and normal distractions of a casino. Just don’t give them an opportunity to ruin your fun.

Follow these Las Vegas Travel Tips and they will make your Las Vegas Vacation a lifetime memory.

This article may be reprinted in its entirety for use, but must include this link to

http://www.lasvegas-discount.com

Business Traveling Tips for Men – How to Pack Your Carry on Luggage

Keeping your shirts­ and suits free of wrinkles is a constant problem for business travelers. Would you like to learn how to better manage your business clothes while traveling? Whether you’re an experienced business traveler or a first time traveler, follow these tips and your clothing will arrive at their destination wrinkle free.

Don’t let packing clothes be a stressful part of your trip. The problems always begin by packing too many items into a small carry on bag. You must make sure you have the correct size piece of carry on luggage for the intended items and duration of travel. Over packing items into your suitcase is the main cause of clothes developing wrinkles. Be realistic when packing and limit the amount of clothes you take on your trip. When traveling for extended periods of time, consider using a larger bag that you may have to have checked.

Once you have the right luggage for your trip, then you have to pack your clothing in a way to avoid wrinkles. The key to avoiding wrinkles is pack your delicate items in the middle of your case. Keep the delicate clothing away from the edges to limit the amount of wrinkling. Place your T-shirts first, your suites next, followed by shirts and ties, then your other clothes. Packing in this way will cushion your suites and other delicate items that are prone to wrinkling. Use caution when packing your shoes as these are a common cause of wrinkled clothes. Modern carry on luggage have compartments specifically for shoe storage and other hard items.

Garment bags are very useful and I highly suggest buying one for packing dress shirts and suits. Using a garment bag, in addition to your carry on luggage, is the best method for preventing wrinkles to your dress clothes. There are luggage manufactures that offer a folding garment bag which stores in your suitcase after packing. These are the most convenient when going directly to your hotel from the airport.

Silk neckties are among the most delicate items to pack in your suitcase. Other options to silk neckties are those made from wrinkle-free microfiber, but nothing really compares to a silk necktie. So, when packing your neckties, keep them away from the edges of your suitcase and away from objects that have sharp edges. It’s best to place them in the center of your other clothes which offer the best padding. Rolling your ties is another option for preventing wrinkles. Begin rolling from the narrow end which give a uniformly tight role and will fit easily into your dress shoes. If money is no problem, you can buy one of the commercially manufactured necktie travel cases, which will definitely keep your ties free of wrinkles.

It’s important to unpack your items as soon as you arrive at your destination. After unpacking, place your suits, shirts, trousers and neckties on hangers and hang them in the closet. Remember, failure to unpack and hang up your clothes will result in severely wrinkled clothing and all of you efforts will have been a waste of time.

Make sure you stay at a hotel that provides an iron and ironing board in your room as this will give you the ability to take care of those small wrinkles yourself. Do not iron your suits of neckties! If you see wrinkles on your suits or ties, hang them in the bathroom during your hot, steamy shower. As soon as you’re finished with your shower the wrinkles will be gone. Following these tips will insure a wrinkle free trip.

Vacations – 5 Tips for Booking a Vacation Online

You’ve heard it a million times before, but if it’s sounds too good to be true well guess what it is! Like most things when booking a trip online common sense prevails. So trust your gut and if it doesn’t seem right give it a pass and keep looking. Here are 5 tips that will stop you from being scammed when booking a vacation online and help you keep your hard earned money!

1. Make Sure the Offer is from a Legitimate Supplier! Scam artists are real good. In fact they can look more professional that the pros! If you click on a banner ad or read a review promoting a particular vacation do your homework. Read through the content as the bad guys will portray themselves as, for example, being from Hilton Hotels. So if it’s a promotion for Hilton, go to their company website or call them to make sure the offer is there. If it’s not, chances are you would have been ripped off.

2. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Not all companies are household names and yet they most likely have a legitimate offer. It sounds trite, but contact the local BBB of the city the business is located in to see if there are any reports of them. According to the BBB the travel industry is in the top 25 for complaints.

3. Beware of Delayed Reservations. This one is a classic! Make sure you put your purchase on a credit card – no cash and no checks! If you pay by credit card you have 60 days to dispute the charge. So if you are booking a vacation for 3 or 4 months down the road make sure you are sent the reservation within a few days. The scammers will wait to the 61st day or longer to send you the reservation when it’s too late to dispute with your credit card company.

4. Don’t Pay by Check! Once you have the money is gone and if you have a dispute, probably too bad as the supplier has your money!

5. Read the Fine Print. Not sexy and no doubt a bore. But make sure what the salesperson or sales page has promised is not contradicted in the fine print. If it is, get out of the deal or call your credit card company quash it.

Booking a vacation online happens a million times every day without incident. I hope these tips help you to have a great vacation!

Top 10 Holiday Tips For Career Success

Every year as the holidays approach, most jobseekers and career changers make the mistake of halting all their efforts. They believe there is no point in pursuing new opportunities during the holidays, and that nobody is making hiring decisions until January, so “why bother?” Many decide to do absolutely nothing from mid-November to the second or third week in January!

Making these kinds of assumptions about the holidays is, again, a huge mistake!

When it comes to the holidays, I suggest you become a “contrarian” – and do what all the other job seekers are not doing. Since most of them are taking an extended break, this opens up real opportunities for you!

The reality is that the holidays are an excellent time to develop and create new contacts for your job search or career transition. Many companies are completing their budget planning for the next fiscal year. This is often the best time to get in front of hiring managers to create a position for you next year. Many managers have to fill openings early in the year or they may lose the budget for that position. Also, once year-end bonuses are paid, a predictable percentage of employees will leave their jobs, creating new vacancies!

Here are 10 career-savvy tips for the holidays from Ford R. Myers, President of Career Potential, LLC, an executive career consulting firm based in Radnor, PA:

1. IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Business is all about establishing relationships – and relationships are developed in social settings! During the holidays, most people are naturally more convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones!

2. TUNE IN TO THE NETWORK

There are many networking events in November and December – in your social life, in your community, and in your professional circles. Think of all the companies having holiday parties. Many charities have their last fundraisers of the tax year in November and December. Book sales, holiday fairs and other celebrations make this the best time of year for productive networking!

3. SMALL TALK REAPS BIG BENEFITS

Most professional associations have a holiday party for their December meeting, with a more informal atmosphere than the formal presentations held throughout the rest of the year. Do not bring a resume to these events. Create a simple, tasteful business card with your name, phone number and e-mail address. Be prepared to make interesting small talk to establish new contacts. Ask the people you meet about themselves, their work, and their interests. Remember, everyone’s favorite subject is “themselves!”

4. CONVERSATION STARTERS AND STOPPERS

Prior to a social or networking event, prepare at least three neutral questions you can ask, such as:

* How do you know the host, the company, etc.?

* What made you decide to come to this event?

* What other organizations in this industry do you belong to?

When you find it’s time to move on and talk with someone new, you’ll need some phrases to help you transition during the event. Here are some good “exit lines:”

* I’ll let you go now, so you can continue circulating around the room.

* I’ll stop monopolizing your time so you can meet some other folks.

* It was great speaking with you. I’ll follow up as we discussed.

5. VOLUNTEER

There are more volunteer opportunities around the holidays than at any other time of year. This is a good way to help other people, feel good when you need a boost, have a renewed sense of purpose during your search, and meet other professionals. Volunteering also gives you something interesting to discuss with the new people you meet!

6. CALL PEOPLE

Use the day after Thanksgiving to make both follow-up calls and cold calls. You’ll find that whoever is at work that day will not only be available for a conversation, but will be grateful to speak to someone! If there are people who you’ve been having a hard time reaching, be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

7. SEND HOLIDAY CARDS

Pick a seasonal, nondenominational theme – usually a depiction of a winter scene is best. This is the time to send cards to everyone on your “career list,” including executive search firms, Human Resource professionals, and hiring managers with whom you have interacted over the past year. Don’t write about your job search in the card. Send your cards early enough for people to remember to invite you to their holiday get-togethers, and to send you a card in return! Be sure to include your contact information with the card, so the recipient can also reach you.

8. ‘TIS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE

Remember the old saying popular at this time of year, “Tis better to give than to receive.” This is certainly true when you’re attempting to connect with people during the holidays. The fastest and most effective strategy for getting help is “give to get.” Ask the people in your network if you can be of help to them in any way, or if there is anyone who they might like an introduction to. Become a real “connector,” and in turn, you will become “connected!”

9. PLUG IN AND TURN ON

Technology has come a long way. Use the holidays to connect and reconnect with people on business networking web sites, such as http://www.linkedin.com, http://www.ryze.com and http://www.ecademy.com. Connect with local businesspeople in cyberspace and then take your connection “live” with a face-to-face meeting. You can also use these web sites as a great system to follow-up and keep in touch!

10. BECOME AN OPPORTUNITY MAGNET

At holiday time, some jobseekers tend to become overly negative or cynical during what they perceive as a “lull” in their career transition. Don’t fall into this trap. Get into positive action precisely when others are “giving up” until early next year. Think and speak positively, and you’ll become a magnet – ready to attract, interview, and “hire” your next employer.

If you’re currently in career transition or looking to move-up at your organization, these strategies should give you a new perspective on the holidays! Instead of “taking a vacation” from your career development activities, take full advantage of this overlooked opportunity to make real progress in your quest. Then, you’ll really have something to celebrate!

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Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2006, Ford R. Myers and Career Potential, LLC.