Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC has issued an “Alert Level 2” for travelers visiting many popular destinations due to local transmissions of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The CDC issued its alert after the Brazilian health ministry confirmed a link between the disease and a high incidence of birth defects.

“Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon,” according to the CDC.
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika)
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  • Deaths are rare.
  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of deng and chikungunya, which are diseases caused by other viruses spread by the same type of mosquitoes.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine to treat Zika, but symptoms may be treated with plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration and taking fever reducers.
If you have a trip booked to one of the infected areas, you may be able to switch your destination or receive a refund.  Last week I was able to switch a client in her 2nd trimester to a different destination without any hassles.
There are precautions travelers can take to minimize their risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.
While there is no vaccine or medication to prevent Zika, the CDC offers some tips on avoiding mosquito bites
    • Use insect repellents containing DEET.  Want a more natural approach? Essential oils including lemongrass and eucalyptus are natural repellants. Personally I’ve found good old fashioned Avon SOS works amazing too.  Apparently the mosquitoes of the Caribbean don’t like it anymore than ours do.  
    • Take garlic pills a week before your trip
    • Don’t eat bananas the week before you leave – mosquitoes love potassium!

Monday, August 1, 2016

A No Vacation Nation

I have traveled the world and want to share my experiences and best practices with you. Today I’d like to ask you a question – are you part of the No Vacation Nation?

Are you one of those workers who limit their happiness and success by assuming that taking vacation time off from work will send a negative message to their manager and maybe even cause you to be passed over for that coveted promotion?  New research says “RELAX”!  Taking that vacation can actually increase the likelihood of getting that raise or promotion.

According to Gary Oster, Managing Director of Project: Time Off, American workers are taking less vacation time than at any point in the last four decades because they think that it will negatively impact their manager’s perception of them.  But the opposite is true:

~ Taking a vacation actually Increases your promotion chances!
    People who take all of their vacation time have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave paid time-off on the table. 

~ A positive, engaged brain improves important business metrics
   Research shows that when the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37% and creativity and revenues can triple!  To be truly engaged at work, your brain needs periodic breaks to gain fresh perspective and energy.
~ Your manager will perceive you as more productive
    According to research done by the US Travel Association, managers associate personal happiness with productivity.  And most managers understand that happy, rested employees are more productive and collaborative.

~You’ve earned it!  Don’t voluntarily take a pay cut!
   If you’re a salaried employee and paid vacation is part of your compensation package, you’re essentially taking a voluntary pay cut when you work instead of taking that earned vacation time.  The work will still be there when you return and you will be in a better state of mind to tackle it.
So, start changing the conversation in your own workplace now by sharing this segment.  If you work in an environment that isn’t supportive of taking vacations, approach management and other workers about the benefits of taking that time off...Then, start planning your next vacation!  It's good for you and your career!    And, of course, even less stressful when you use the planning services of a trusted travel professional….I’m Jen Maki reminding you the internet is for looking and your Destination Diva is for booking!