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06 Feb

6 Romantic Valentine’s Day Getaways for You and Your Love

valentine-decoration-871297272416YnQTHIS YEAR, why not give an experience as a Valentine’s Day gift? These romantic Valentine’s Day getaways are sure to spark those fires you want to kindle in your love’s heart! I’ve gathered together some little travel itineraries for you so you can book now and enjoy the holiday.

New Orleans (LA)—The “Big Easy,” a romantic destination extraordinaire, with restaurants and tours that will wow you. From formal dining rooms to quaint courtyards, enjoy the signature creole and cajun cuisine, or simply the freshest seafood you can buy. Take a tour on a balmy night and enjoy the slow pace and the uptown jazz. Delight in a horse-drawn carriage ride under French Quarter streetlights or stand on the deck of a riverboat.

Orange Beach (AL)—With miles and miles of white sand and clear water, you’ll want to stay forever. Take a ride out over the ocean and enjoy the beautiful sea life from the safety of a helicopter. “With the doors removed, you have a completely unobstructed view of the emerald green waters of the gulf along with an awesome view of sea life from above,” says Steve Oliver, Orange Beach Helicopters owner. “You are almost guaranteed to see dolphins, sea turtles, rays, even sharks.”

Maui (HI)—Offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, Maui is smaller than the Big Island and larger than Lanai, and offers a wide range of activities for Hawaii visitors. Impressive wildlife and intriguing history and culture await you on the island. Hula dancers, coastal fairways, snorkeling alongside sea turtles, or just lounging on some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches, you’ll find something here for every taste and a large dose of romance as well.

Aspen (CO)—A winter wonderland and famous ski destination, Aspen is snuggled in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As picturesque as a snow globe, you’ll have your choice of four premier ski areas that cater to those  who love the powder no matter what their level of ability. Or spend your time at the high-end shops, the captivating museums, fashionable galleries and entertaining festivals. Whether on the slopes or not, it will be a trip you’ll never forget.

Savannah (GA)—Eccentric Savannah is a wonderful spot for a Valentine’s day getaway. Antebellum history is evident in every corner, and Southern accents share fame with creepy graveyards and Spanish moss. Design students mingle with ghost hunters and preservationists; edgy cafes and restored theaters bump shoulders with Southern-fried restaurants. But at night it’s another story altogether as “The Hostess City of the South” sheds its propriety and shows visitors a good time.

Sedona (AZ)—One of America’s most beautiful places, Sedona is home to a large populace of spiritualists among the spectacular red buttes and canyons where New Age “vortexes” are said to balance the spiritual powers within. Not your cup of tea? No problem, just book a day at one of Sedona’s many spas, or hike one of the over 100 trails it’s famous for. If you don’t want to break a sweat but still want to see the incredible sights, book a spot on a Pink Jeep Tour. You’ll love the view!

Where will you go on your romantic getaway?

16 Aug

Traveling Internationally With Your Dog


Are you thinking about traveling internationally with your dog soon?

Here’s my experience for your consideration.

My son-in-law is a Chaplain in the US Army, and transferred to Germany for three to six years. (The reason it might be six instead of three is because their oldest son will be in high school when their three years is up. The Army allows the families to stay put so that the child can graduate from his high school and not have to move in that all-important year. Decent of them, don’t you think?)

When they were transferred, they left their dog, a Weimaraner, with us until they could get settled. We shipped her once the family moved into their house. It is much cheaper to take your dog with you instead of sending him later as freight, but sometimes there is no choice. In searching for information on shipping dogs internationally,

Here’s what I found out.

After booking a flight, the dog needs to be at the airport up to 4 hours in advance of the flight. (That adds to the time the animal will be crated, so be sure and line the crate with piddle pads. Newspaper won’t cut it; it just isn’t absorbent  enough. Really. Use puppy training pads and make your dog more comfortable.)

You’ll have to confirm that your pet is not tranquilized and won’t be used for fighting at its destination. No visible problems allowed, either, such as skin diseases or recent surgeries. If that describes your dog, be ready to be turned away. Airlines are forbidden to ship animals that show signs of preexisting conditions, illness, or recent surgeries.

If your dog is particularly large, you need to make sure that the airlines can accommodate the kennel size (more about kennels in a minute). Age is also a consideration, as you cannot ship a puppy less than eight weeks old (or ten weeks if the pup weighs less than a pound). State your dog’s age on the health certificate (more about health certificates to come).

The health certificate must be an international health certificate and must be dated within 10 days of the flight. A USDA certified veterinarian must sign off on it. In addition, check to see what is required at your point of destination, too. Some cities or countries have other requirements, such as licenses.

83124a0ff1d8a19c6b364d3284f5aa62About the kennel.

There are specific size requirements for the AITA-approved flight kennels. In general, your dog must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down normally. The height of the kennel must be three inches taller than your dog’s ears. This may influence whether or not a specific airline can accommodate the crate. Be sure you have this right before you take your dog to the terminal!

SpencerPItBullPuppy15WeeksIntroducingCrate15The kennel must have adequate ventilation. Some airlines require ventilation on all four sides, and some only three. Secure the door (which must be easily opened for taking the animal out) with releasable cable ties so the crate does not come apart while being handled.

What you can ship with your dog.

No toys are permitted. The only things you can ship with your dog are 16oz or less of dog food, a leash and a collar. Securely fasten them outside the crate. There must be bowls for food and water secured to the door, which can be filled from outside the crate without opening it.

Affix the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the customer at origin and destination, as well as the name of the animal to the top of the kennel. This is a requirement you will want to make sure is accurate. A lost dog without a way to locate his owner is a terrible predicament.

Are properly sized orientation labels affixed to the kennel on at least 2 sides? The words “live animal” must appear on the top and at least 1 side of the kennel. Letters are required to be a minimum of 1 inch high. Food and water instructions must be posted on the top of the kennel with indication as to when the animal was last offered food and water. Water will be provided as needed. They will only feed once every 12 hours, provided the shipper sends food and it is accessible from the outside of the kennel.

For additional information regarding live animal acceptance and handling, refer to the IATA live animal regulations. You can also find this information in 9 CFR, subchapter A – Animal welfare or here.