Laguardia Terminal Upgrades Continue

Delta Air Lines new Terminal C is opening at LaGuardia Airport (LGA), part of an $8 billion renovation that’s pushing the entire airport closer to Grand Central Parkway.

“We had to do it—we are better than what LaGuardia is,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the recent opening celebration, referencing former US Vice President Joe Biden’s 2015 description of LGA as a third-world country.

As a result of both Biden’s brutal honesty and Cuomo’s vision, LGA—known for its threadbare atmosphere, constant delays, never-ending construction and all-round inefficiency—is undergoing a $8 billion overhaul.

First phase of Delta overhaul

The Delta concourse, more than two years in the making, is the first phase of the airline’s new $3.9 billion terminal at the airport. What began in August 2017 is slated to be finished by 2026, according to Ryan Marzullo, the airline’s managing director of corporate real estate in New York. In all, says Marzullo, the project includes four concourses connected to a headhouse, the central part of the terminal where passengers check in and go through security.

Delta is spending around $3.3 billion for the redesign, while the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is contributing a large amount as well—about $600 million.

Remake of Terminals C and D

The terminal is only one part of a massive renovation that’s pushing the entire airport closer to Grand Central Parkway. Delta is just one phase of the renovation, and not the first one either. That designation belongs to United’s new concourse B, which opened in December 2018.

The seven-gate concourse sits on the water on the eastern side of LaGuardia and boasts dramatic views of Citi Field, home of the Mets. But the new concourse has more amenities than pretty panoramas, including a nursing room and a relief room for dogs, who are increasingly popular travel companions.

In addition, all of the seats at the spacious gate areas are equipped with electrical outlets, an essential item for the modern traveler. A given at most major airports around the world, for LGA, it’s a noteworthy advancement.

Also, there’s dining.

To up LaGuardia’s dining offerings, Delta has teamed with the airport hospitality group OTG, its current partner in Terminal C and D, on five concepts including beloved New York cult brands Birch Coffee, H&H Bagels and Juice Press.

Chef Mark Iacano of Brooklyn’s legendary pizza joint Lucali, consulted on Rossi Pizzeria, a Neopolitan-style pizza spot. New Yorkers not keen on waiting hours to get a table at Lucali can queue up at Rossi for a similar taste and decidedly less hassle.

Chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer of Soho’s King Restaurant consulted on Flatiron Tavern & Provisions’ menu of burgers, fish and chops.

“I’m encouraged to see the old terminals finally being replaced,” says Larry Studdiford, the founder of Studdiford Technical Solutions, an airport security and baggage systems consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia. “It’s time to upgrade the facilities with amenities and operational technologies that meet the demands of record growth in passenger numbers.”

LaGuardia’s upgrades continue to cause delays at any time of the day because Port Authority can decide to setup blockades to prevent vehicles from entering the arrival area. If you’re traveling from LaGuardia with Hoyt Livery, to help alleviate this situation, please communicate with your driver upon receiving a message and if you don’t hear anything to please reach out to dispatch. Learn more.

Source: cnn.com

JFK Installs Facial Recognition for Boarding

In true sci-fi style, you’ll be able to use your face to board a plane. In other words, passengers will have access to ticketless boarding by using facial scanning.

In early October, a biometric self-boarding gate was installed at Lufthansa’s Terminal 1 gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK). Here are the details, courtesy of the New York Post.

Lufthansa has deployed the paperless, high-tech boarding process, which uses facial recognition technology to verify travelers with a photo capture, at its largest U.S. gateway at the Queens airport. Air France, Japan Airlines and Norwegian Airlines are expected to follow suit at the terminal, officials said.

The technology firm Vision Box has partnered with Customs and Border Protection on facial screening or “biometric boarding” technology, which officials say is faster and more secure, but has privacy advocates expressing concerns.

How it works

The digital boarding process validates the eligibility of a traveler without having to present a passport or boarding pass. When a passenger approaches a self-boarding gate, a biometric-enabled camera integrated in the gate captures the passenger’s facial image. That image is then securely sent to US Customs’ Traveler Verification Service, which “conducts a matching process with the stored digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process or from the US passport,” according to Vision-Box.

Within seconds, the system reconciles the passenger identity and his or her eligibility to enter the flight. The positive match of both verifications triggers the eGate doors to open and the passenger can board the airplane.

It’s not the first time biometric boarding has been used at JFK Airport. Last year, JetBlue rolled out its first biometric self-boarding gate for customers flying to select international destinations at JFK Airport’s Terminal 5. A slew of US airports already offers biometric boarding.

“It’s become crucial for airports and airlines to adopt biometric capabilities along the processes which require interaction with the traveler, therefore enhancing and scaling operational capacity for growing quicker within their existing footprint,” said Miguel Leitmann, the CEO and founder of Vision-Box, which brought the new boarding method to Terminal 1 through a partnership with US Customs and Border Protection and Terminal One Group Association.

New technology raises questions

Experts from the American Civil Liberties Union say that despite the technology starting to roll out at more airports nationwide, many questions remain unanswered.

“How is this information going to be collected? How long will it be retained? Will it be used in other ways and shared with federal agencies like the FBI?” said Neema Singh Guliani, Senior Legislative Counsel for the ACLU.

Customs and Border Protection officials say that the biometric data of U.S. travelers is not stored for long periods of time.

Connected aircraft coming soon

The new technology comes amidst the news that Airbus is experimenting with a new “connected” airplane that would track everything people do on a plane, including how often passengers use the bathroom. Executives think this is the cabin of the future, full of sensors that collect data on the on-board habits of its passengers.

In early September, Airbus commenced in-flight trials of IoT (Internet of Things) connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at APEX Expo last year. While it has yet to be introduced to real passengers, the technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers, in particular this covers pre- and remote ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight entertainment (IFE) offer.

The goal is to gather data on passenger behavior and consumption on board, information that could save airlines money and relieve pain points on board for passengers such as the mad scramble for overhead bin space and lavatory queues.

Source: New York Post

Air Travelers: Get Ready for Real ID October 2020

Newsflash: If you travel by air, beginning October 1, 2020, you will need a Real ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of TSA and Travel Weekly.

What is Real ID?

Real ID is the new federal requirement for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification. You are not required to get a REAL ID. However, starting October 1, 2020, if you typically use your driver license or non-driver ID (instead of a passport or other form of ID) to fly within the U.S. you probably want a REAL ID. Otherwise you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. A standard state driver’s license can still be used for driving.

The Real ID Act passed in 2005 (in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks) that set new and higher minimum-security standards for the driver’s licenses and identification cards that will be accepted at airports, other federally regulated facilities and nuclear power plants.

State-issued Real ID driver’s licenses and identification cards meet increased security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005. The law establishes what data states must have before issuing a license. It also lays out what technology must be encoded in the IDs and what data must be printed on the IDs.

There has been some debate and pushback from some states over the impact of Real ID, which has created confusion and delayed the official rollout of the act’s enforcement, but October 1, 2020, is now considered the firm date for enforcement at commercial airports.

Starting October 1, 2020, travelers who don’t have Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or a state-issued enhanced driver’s license can use other acceptable forms of identification such as a passport or U.S. military identification to fly within the United States.

What to do now

Take a look at your driver’s license. If your driver’s license doesn’t have a star in the upper corner of the card, then your license is not Real ID compliant. And if you’re planning to take a domestic commercial flight any time after October 1, 2020, you’ll need to take action, make some decisions or wait for your state to get its act together.

You can decide if you are comfortable flying domestically with your passport (if you have one; only about 40 percent of Americans do) or with one of the other forms of approved identification on the TSA’s list.

“The main pushback on REAL ID is that it’s too Big Brother,” said Jeff Price, an aviation security expert with Leading Edge Strategies. “It’s a move to make everyone in the U.S. have identification, which tends to upset those who enjoy life off the grid or don’t like any more government intrusion into their lives than what is necessary.”

However, nearly every state has come into compliance. “And there haven’t been the big brother/illegal shakedown issues that some people predicted,” he said.

How to get a Real ID

The Department of Homeland Security has been phasing in enforcement of the Real ID Act in an effort to give states time to become compliant with the rules and to begin issuing enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards in time for the October 1, 2020 deadline.

Most states are currently in compliance — including Connecticut and New York — with the Real ID Act and are able to issue upgraded licenses and IDs. The DHS website has a map with the status of all the states.

Three states (Oregon, Oklahoma, and New Jersey), plus American Samoa have been granted extensions with varying deadlines for meeting the rules. (Some had until August 1, 2019, while others have until October 10, 2019).

What this means

If your current driver’s license or ID card is from a compliant state, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will accept it at airports until September 30, 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, though, licenses and IDs from these states will need to bear a star or special symbol that shows it has been upgraded to conform to the new minimum-security standards.

If your current license is from one of the three states that has been given an extension, then it’s good until the date the extension expires. After that, if the state isn’t given another extension, is it possible the TSA will require an additional or alternate form of ID (i.e., a passport) between the extension expiration date and September 30, 2020.

Come Oct. 1, 2020, though, licenses from these extension states will also need to have the star or symbol that shows it has been upgraded to meet the new minimum-security standards.

The TSA has begun verbally advising travelers who use identification that’s not Real ID-compliant that they’ll not be able to use it to fly beginning October 1, 2020.

“Real ID implementation is a little more than a year away — now is the time to prepare,” said TSA acting deputy administrator Patricia Cogswell in a statement. Since April, TSA has displayed signs at airports to remind travelers about the Real ID requirements.

Source: Travel Weekly

JFK Airport Number One in Amenities, Recent Survey

Best-in-the-nation amenities helped New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport achieve a better-than-average ranking in a new study of the nation’s 50 busiest airports.

Here are the interesting results of the study, courtesy of airportnews.com.

John F. Kennedy International Airport earned the surprising score in a new study by The Points Guy, a resource for travel news. JFK’s No. 1 ranking in amenities helped place it No. 22 overall among the nation’s 50 busiest airports. Other studies have routinely judged JFK among the worst among major U.S. airports, with nearby LaGuardia Airport typically ranked lower if not last.

The study took 34 factors into account, including commute time, flight delays and cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounges and security wait times.

Offsetting JFK’s high finish in amenities was its long commute time (No. 49) and third-worst record for on-time flights. The three local airports accounted for the bottom three rankings in both commute time and flight delays, largely because of congested airspace and roadways and no one-seat train ride to Manhattan.

Newark Liberty International Airport had the nation’s worst commute time and on-time flight record, though it did finish fourth in amenities, pushing its overall ranking to 34th out of 50.

LaGuardia’s ranking (No. 45) was dragged down by its third-worst commute time and second-worst on-time flight record. It was No. 12 in amenities. Major construction is underway at the Flushing airport, and an AirTrain link to Willets Point is in the works, although that multibillion-dollar project is not expected to shorten the trip to Manhattan much.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports, said in a statement, “With an unprecedented $30 billion committed to transform our region’s airports into true 21st-century gateways—and a relentless focus on improving the customer experience—we’re committed to taking the region’s airports from the back of the pack to world-class.”

Among the 50 U.S. airports with the highest passenger volume, San Diego International Airport was ranked best overall, followed by airports in Phoenix, Portland (Oregon), Atlanta and Sacramento.

Chicago-Midway was judged the worst overall, followed by airports in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Detroit.

Source: AirportNews.com

How will hotel rates change in 2020?

Modest Hotel Rate Increases in 2020: American Express Global Business Travel

Business travelers won’t see a big jump in hotel rate increases globally in 2020, according to a Hotel Monitor 2020 report, published by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). Here are the key findings, courtesy of writer Janeen Christoff and travelpulse.com.

The recent study found that a global boom in hotel construction has led to an increase in supply of hotels, at the same time that international trade tensions are dampening demand from travelers, restricting the ability for hotels to raise their rates.

“Despite signs that the global economy is facing challenges, the number of people traveling for business and leisure continues to grow,” says Joakim Johansson, Vice President, Global Business Consulting at GBT. “But, in most cities, a full hotel development pipeline means this sustained level of demand will not feed into big rate rises.”

Other emerging hotel trends—more tech, less formal

The Hotel Monitor 2020 also identified several key trends with hotels. Most importantly, technology’s ability to drive change within the hotel experience.

Johansson said: “For several years, GBT has been charting the rise of the modern business traveler, who wants a more informal, flexible and digitally smart environment to work and rest. Hotel providers, both big global groups and more local chains, are responding to this need with new hotel formats or serviced apartments. Hotels need to be ready to accommodate this emerging traveler preference.

In addition to tech advancements, shared working spaces and a less formal environment are driving the transformation of traditional business hotels with a focus on lifestyle enhancements.

U.S. hotel rates will remain flat while Canada predicted to rise

Flat occupancy rates and a full pipeline of room construction is driving competition and limiting the ability to raise rates.

Canada’s relatively strong economic performance and slowing capacity growth could lead to rate increases. Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto will see the biggest increase in room rates (5 percent, 4 percent, 4 percent respectively), according to the Hotel Monitor 2020 while guest room rates in New York are expected to decrease by 3 percent.

Hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Hotel Monitor found that, in Europe, there will be a small increase in price. Uncertainties about Brexit and low growth in Europe’s main business centers as well as the global economic outlook will likely take a toll on demand.

Hotel development in the region is also at a record high with Germany leading the way and the U.K. following closely behind. London will see a further 10,000 new rooms open in 2019 and 2020.

Concerns about political and economic uncertainty have negatively impacted business travel in Central and Latin America, says the Hotel Monitor 2020. However, prices are expected to rise as demand continues to outpace growth. Hotel construction has decreased 25 percent year over year.

In the Middle East and Africa, a hotel construction boom across the Middle East, but largely focused on the United Arab Emirates, means supply will outstrip demand and lead to forecasted falls of as much as 10 percent in Doha and 8 percent in Riyadh.

The hospitality industry is growing rapidly across the Asia Pacific, with thousands of additional beds in key cities every year. Despite a capacity increase, rates are still expected to rise between 4 and 5 percent.

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Source: TravelPulse.com

Hotels Ranked: The Best and Worst in the U.S.

If you travel often, you’ll want to know how America’s hotels ranked in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) on the best and worst hotel brands for 2019.

Here are the results, courtesy of Clark.com.

Customers less satisfied than a year ago

The ACSI Travel Report is based on interviews with more than 12,000 customers who were chosen at random and contacted via email from April 2018 to March 2019. Hotels were rated on a scale of 0 to 100.

Hilton and Marriott hotel brands still lead the way, but the study found that hotel guests are overall less satisfied than they were a year ago.

The ACSI report found that hotels are slipping in multiple aspects of customer service: making reservations, check in, staff courtesy, room quality, website/call center satisfaction, and more.

Loyalty programs, hotel amenities (pool, business center), and food service are the lowest rated parts of the guest experience.

And resolving guests’ complaints is more important than ever before, according to the ACSI. Many hotels are now using social media to quickly resolve issues that customers share online.

Results and rankings

Brand: Parent Type ACSI
Ranking
JW Marriott Marriott Luxury 84
Embassy Suites Hilton Upper Upscale 83
Fairfield Inn
& Suites
Marriott Upper Midscale 83
Hilton Garden Inn Hilton Upscale 82
Marriott Hilton Marriott Upper Scale 81
Crowne Plaza
Hotels & Resorts
InterContinental Upscale 81
Courtyard Marriott Upscale 81
Best Western
Premier
Best Western Upscale 81
Holiday Inn
Express
InterContinental Upper Midscale 80
Hampton Hilton Upper Midscale 79
Hilton Hotels
& Resorts
Hilton Upper Upscale 79
AC Hotels Marriott Upscale 79
Residence Inn Marriott Upscale 79
Hyatt Regency Hyatt Upper Upscale 79
Double Tree Hilton Upscale 78
Best Western Best Western Midscale 77
Best Western
Plus
Best Western Upper Midscale 77
Sheraton Marriott Upper Upscale 77
Hyatt Place Hyatt Upscale 77
Wyndham Hotels
& Resorts
Wyndham Upscale 76
Comfort Inn,
Comfort Suites
Choice Upper Midscale 76
Westin Marriott Upper Upscale 76
Holiday Inn InterContinental Upper Midscale 75
La Quinta Inns
& Suites
La Quinta
(Wyndham)
Midscale 74
Quality Choice Upper Midscale 73
Baymont Wyndham Midscale 72
Ramada Wyndham Midscale 71
Days Inn Wyndham Economy 68
Econo Lodge Choice Economy 67
Super 8 Wyndham Economy 65
Motel 6 G6 Hospitality Economy 63
Source: Clark.com

Workers Stressed Out from Saying Yes, Says Survey

More than half of American workers are stressed out by too much work, according to VitalSmarts, a leadership training company, and reported in a February USA Today article. Here’s how to effectively say “no” at work.

What the survey says

Out of 1,353 workers surveyed, three out of five (60 percent) said they have already committed to more work than they can handle. Another 20 percent said they’re at capacity and have no room to take on any new tasks. Of those who are currently overcommitted, one-third said they always have more work than they can handle, while two-thirds said they’re usually like that.

Why is this happening? Survey respondents generally had the best of intentions, even if some of the reasons they listed contributed to their own problems:

  • Want to be helpful, accommodating, and polite (73 percent)
  • Like to fix problems, even when they aren’t theirs (56 percent)
  • Unsure about workplace rules and when they can say no (39 percent)
  • Stuck with bosses who make unreasonable demands (38 percent)

Why not say “no?”

Sometimes workers don’t want to turn down a request from their boss or from a coworker. In other cases, they don’t want to say no because the opportunity is appealing, even if they don’t have time for it.

In some cases – such as having a bad boss – there’s not much you can do other than taking the issue to human resources. The top two reasons, however, are factors within your control, and the ability to say no can be learned.

That’s what leads to stress. If you don’t say no, you can end up with more work on your plate than you can handle. “Without a system designed to capture and organize incoming tasks and the skills to negotiate commitments, you’re bound to find yourself victim of an impossible to-do list,” David Maxfield, co-creator of Getting Things Done Training at VitalSmarts, said in a press release. “Unless and until you take control of this system, you’ll continue to frantically spin your wheels and still only make a dent in that ever-growing list of commitments.”

How to take charge

Being overcommitted can impact more than your job. It can take a toll on your physical health and mental well-being. Over half of those who said they were overcommitted reported that they’re moderately stressed, while 35 percent said they’re highly stressed, and 9 percent said they’re very highly stressed. In addition, 52 percent worried about letting people down, while 46 percent felt overwhelmed.

Improving your work situation involves being proactive. You have to both correct your own habits and work with your boss or bosses to dig out from the situation.

The first step is truly getting organized and understanding what’s on your plate and how long it will take to finish it. If your own agreeableness or inability to say no caused the problem, you might want to work a marathon week to get as much done as you can (or dig out completely if that’s possible) – and then start being more disciplined about saying no.

If you can’t catch up by putting in extra hours or your problems are largely due to management, then you have to speak up. You need to have all of your supporting materials – a list of what’s in your workload and how long each task will take – to lay out to your manager that you simply can’t catch up.

Ideally, your boss will work with you to parcel out tasks elsewhere or to knock things off your list. If that happens, you need to work actively to make sure the same situation does not happen again. That means being willing to say no and actively communicating to your boss when you see the situation recurring.

Source: USA Today

Female Safety When Traveling for Business

When women travel for business, whether to a local conference or international destination, there are unique issues and concerns they have to face, and often alone, on the road.

Here are some business travel tips for women to help you stay safe on the road, courtesy of Entrepreneur.com.

Female travelers increasing—and so are safety concerns

This year, the Upside Travel Company reported that nearly 50 percent of all business travel bookings are for women, and that number is steadily rising. With this comes the growing awareness that women face more travel safety risks compared to their male counterparts. According to 2018 survey research by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and AIG Travel Inc., a disturbing 83 percent of women polled said they’ve experienced a safety issue or concern in the last year while traveling for work, yet only 53 percent of women always or sometimes report these experiences to their travel managers. The research also found that only 18 percent of corporate travel safety policies specifically address female safety needs.

Here are some travel safety basics women should keep in mind on the road.

Know your business trip insurance.

If you’re an employee, ask your employer for its travel insurance program documentation so you know what’s covered for you. If you’re self-employed, research your options for purchasing travel insurance. Sites with updated 2018 recommendations include Consumers Advocate or Travel Insurance Review. Also, be sure to save an electronic version and print a hard copy of the travel insurance benefits, then share your insurance details with a trusted family member.

Stay in a good hotel in a safe area.

When selecting a hotel, choose a well-known and reputable one. Interestingly, some hotels offer women-only floors, so don’t hesitate to ask before you book if that’s a personal preference. MaidenVoyage.com also offers a list of certified female-friendly hotels worldwide. Also, consider booking your flight arrivals for daylight hours so you avoid arriving after dark, especially for international arrivals.

When traveling internationally.

It’s recommended you visit the U.S. Department of State where you’ll find information for every country in the world including visa requirements, safety and security conditions, health and medical considerations, local laws and areas to avoid. It’s also wise to know the location of the closest U.S. embassy or consulate at your destination. Check the option to enroll your trip so you can receive safety alerts and your embassy can contact you in the event of an emergency.

Make copies of your passport and ID.

Whether traveling domestic or international, always make copies of your passport ID page to make it easier to file a report and get a replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy with a trusted contact at home and carry one with you. Do the same with your trip itinerary in case your smartphone is lost or stolen.

Leverage technology and apps.

Lastly, take advantage of the latest technology to stay in the know. Apps like TripIt show neighborhood-specific safety scores, including relevant categories like: women’s safety, physical harm, health and medical, theft and more.

Pack smart and don’t stand out.

It’s always wise to pack modest clothing and avoid packing or wearing expensive jewelry, bags, shoes or other accessories. You don’t want to stand out as having valuables that someone would want to steal. It’s also smart to pack shoes designed for comfort and mobility, so you can move quickly if needed.

Also, consider packing a decoy wallet with a small amount of cash and expired credit cards. If someone rifles through your bag, that’s the one they’ll take. Then wear a hidden money belt with your “real” wallet contents.

Other important items to pack include: chargers for your digital devices, a travel plug adapter if you’re traveling internationally, at least a two-week supply of any medication you’re taking and any special medical ID bracelet or tags.

Be strategic when checking in.

When checking in to your hotel, ask the clerk to write your room number on a piece of paper or on the key sleeve, rather than saying it out loud. Also request a room near the stairs or elevator so you don’t have to walk through empty corridors at night, and don’t stay in a room on the first floor or near exit stairways since they are more accessible and prone to theft.

When you arrive to your room, check to make sure it has a peephole, deadbolt and working locks on the windows, adjoining door and balcony door. If there are any issues, request a new room that’s secure.

If there’s ever a knock on your room door, call reception to confirm the identity of anyone there, and if the door to your room is ever open or unlocked when you return, don’t enter. Go back to the front desk and inform them of the security issue.

Play it safe on the street.

If you need to use your mobile phone in public, try to stand still with your back to a wall or window, since walking and talking will limit your awareness and make you an easier target. Also, keep your head up while walking, stand/walk confidently, never look lost, and don’t walk alone or visit an ATM at night.

As always, follow your intuition: if you feel a bad vibe from somewhere or someone, listen to your gut instinct and remove yourself from the situation.

Be smart with your smartphone.

Travel with clean digital devices that have limited banking information, sensitive data, personal photographs or compromising information, and always be aware of potential avenues for cyberattacks, such as using the free Wi-Fi in public locations.

Also avoid posting information about upcoming travel dates, and don’t publish your whereabouts in real-time online. You can share details after you are safely back home.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

New Year’s Resolutions of Successful Business People

The new year is a time to resolve to make improvements, both personally and professionally.

To help inspire you, here are some resolutions of successful business people, along with some smart motivational strategies.

Always keep learning.

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself is to have a “growth mindset” and continue learning new things throughout your lifetime. Learning keeps the mind sharp and benefits the aging brain.

At the end of 2016, About.com CEO Neil Vogel told Business Insider that he resolved to learn guitar because his then 3-year-old son was obsessed with the instrument. Whether or not he succeeded, but it’s the right kind of resolution to make. It’s always easier to teach yourself something that you’re interested in rather than something you only want to learn to advance your career.

To integrate learning the new skill into your routine, think about all the other non-work-related tasks you do every day. Pairing one of these activities with your new hobby will condition you to stick with your goal for the long haul.

Using one everyday task to prompt you to take time to practice your French, for instance, will help you make a habit out of learning something new.

Pay it forward.

When it comes to goals, consider the impact that you have on other people—service to others truly is the best way to feel useful and good about yourself.

People who work toward some purpose beyond themselves are not only 64 percent more satisfied in their career, but some findings indicate they may even live seven years longer than those who don’t.

Consider where you excel and find opportunities to channel that into something altruistic. Try volunteering with a nonprofit, starting a side hustle that meets a community need, or even getting your business involved in giving back to a specific cause. Make this easier by keeping your resolution broad.

You’re just working toward making a positive impact of some kind on the world around you. That’s the approach taken by TED curator Chris Anderson, who describes his resolution in a Fortune article as: “To help turn the tide, just the teensiest little bit, in spreading reason and generosity in place of meanness.”

Finally commit to work-life balance.

Remember when you were a kid and you’d come home from school and the last thing you wanted to do was dive right into homework? As busy as you are now, there’s a reason to embrace a balanced life. Dry Bar founder Alli Webb made this her resolution for 2018, according to Business Insider, saying she wanted to work toward being a great mom, founder, mentor, and wife.

The trick is to develop strict boundaries between work and play. Obviously, you have to work when you’re on the clock, but consider designating time right after work to unwind. If your go-to fun activity is playing board games with your kids, then put your phone on silent and reserve 7 p.m. for just you, the family, and the Monopoly board.

No matter what resolutions you choose, keeping them can be daunting. There are countless ways to improve your life, relationships, and career, and regardless of the goals you set, it’s always possible you won’t follow through with them. Try focusing on one of the areas above, and you may see that this year’s resolution is more manageable than in the past.

Source: inc.com

Tips for an Enjoyable Hotel Stay

When staying at a hotel, knowing you got a good rate and great location are just two aspects of an enjoyable stay. The other, of course, is whether you enjoy the hotel, in particular, and your room.

Here are some inside tips to help ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy hotel visit.

Be nice to the staff.

It goes without saying, but basic manners go a long way in hotels and restaurants. Be kind and appreciative to the staff, especially the front desk agent who checks you in. He or she, more than anyone else, can make your stay either a pleasure or a disaster.

Keep an eye on CO.

You’re probably aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO), and may even have a CO detector in your home. CO is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO — often called “the silent killer”” — can kill before a person is aware of it. The effects of CO vary from person to person, but symptoms generally include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.

When booking a room in a hotel, ask if they have CO alarms installed in the rooms. If not, don’t book or accept a room equipped with a fuel-burning device, such as a wood-burning stove or gas fireplace. If you stay there anyway, definitely do not let the unit run through the night.

Also, do not book a room that opens onto an enclosed parking area, or next to an indoor garage. There could be CO gas in the air. You may also want to invest in a portable carbon monoxide detector. If symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and/or confusion occur, get to fresh air quickly.

Think twice about valet parking.

Remember that scene in the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when the garage parking attendants took Cameron’s father’s prized 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California convertible for a joyride? “Borrowing” parked cars goes on more than you may realize. Granted, it usually happens with really nice cars, so if you’re just tooling around in a rental, you probably don’t have to worry.

Beware of bedbugs.

It’s not pleasant to think about, but bedbugs are a problem in many hotels across the nation. If you’re worried about bedbugs in a hotel, you can check for them yourself in the bed, sofa, and chairs. Here’s what you need and some telltale signs to look for:

Pack a few useful items for identifying bedbug infestations, including a flashlight and a magnifying glass. You can also use an old credit card to scrape and dig for signs of bedbugs.

Adult bedbugs are flat, brown, oval, and wingless, and measure about 1/4 to 3/8 inches long. They change from brown to purplish-red after they eat, becoming larger and more cigar-shaped. Young bedbugs look like adults, but smaller.

Check the bed’s mattress, box spring, and sheets for any signs, such as rusty or reddish stains on the bed linens, pillows and mattresses.

Look at carpeting or flooring around and under beds. Bedbug excrement leaves dark spots, about the size of a period on a printed page. Bedbug waste “bleeds” on fabrics like a pen or marker would.

Inspect the furniture for bedbug eggs and eggshells, which are white and about 1 mm in size. Open and inspect zippered coverings on furniture and pillows, and at frames and feet of sofas and chairs.

Check walls, wall hangings, paintings, clocks, baseboards, floorboards, and electrical outlets. Use an old playing card or credit card to probe and scrape out any live bedbugs, remains, or waste.

BYOG: Bring your own glass.

It’s a little known fact, but hotel housekeepers sometimes use furniture polish to ensure the hotel room glasses sparkle, and don’t have any spots. So, it’s probably a wise idea to pack your own drinking glass, or ask the hotel bartender if you can borrow a clean glass during your stay.

Ditch the duvet cover.

Most hotels wash the sheets and blankets on a regular basis, but few, if any, ever wash the duvet covers. So, do yourself a favor and strip that bad boy right off the bed when you get there. If you think you might get cold at night, call the front desk and (nicely) request a clean extra blanket.

Don’t be cheap — tip well.

Tip well, especially a bellman if he brings your luggage up or down from your room in a timely manner. Don’t forget the housekeeper who has to clean your room after you leave, and again, the all-powerful front desk agent — give this person a $10 bill when you check in, and it will help ensure you’re stay is a pleasant one.

Double check incidentals and mini bar bill.

If you’re billed for incidentals and/or the mini bar, be sure to review the bill and make sure charges are legitimate. Hotel staff has been known to steal from a room’s minibar, sticking the guest with an unwarranted bill. If the charges aren’t yours, dispute them. To avoid room extras, bring your own supplies.