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September 2009

September 30, 2009

Fall Driving Hazard: Deer Crashes


Sure, seeing wildlife is exciting, and deer can be pretty darn cute. But come fall and spring, they're dangerous in areas where they and cars are both prevalent - in fact, they occur most frequently in highly populated and suburban areas. Crashing into one can result in fatalities, but will definitely be costly in vehicle repairs (or insurance premiums). In the Midwest United States, there are an estimated 23 deaths and 131,500 crashes a year. If you live in an area where deer are populous, or are travelling to one, heed this advice:

Fall is deer mating season, so watch out for them especially at dusk and dawn. If you see one along the side of the road, keep in mind that a vehicle may cause them to panic and dart out, so slow down and wait to be sure they're not going to try and cross the road. If there's one, chances are there are a few more deer waiting to follow in single file. If a crash is unavoidable, don't swerve - come to a controlled stop, and then get as far off the roadway as possible. Losing control of the car is much more dangerous than an encounter with a deer, though at high speeds both are risky. When you see a deer crossing sign, drive a bit slower to increase reaction time - and watch out for eyes alongside the road.

For more advice from RTM, visit our Auto Safety section.

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September 29, 2009

Oh, the Wonders of Travel: Coming Back Home

By Sara Hoffman

Jackson Hole 168

As someone who's been traveling back and forth, this way and that way her whole life, I've always experienced a twinge of homesickness upon arrival home from a vacation or even a little trip. Yep, homesick for vacation - talk about confused. But coming home is a wonder of travel, too - right up there with experiencing other cultures, meeting new people, and having fresh experiences. Home looks different from elsewhere - from a plane, a boat, or even the expressway.

Travel makes you see things differently, including the way you see life at home. Gazing out the window of an airplane literally offers a fresh view of your hometown - all the roads you drive and places you visit are dwarfed in landscapes not noticeable from the ground. Sure, it could make home seem dreary or stressful in comparison to some sunny island resort, or hilly mountain region, but it also makes you appreciate those everyday comforts - luxurious or not - and the people you get to come home to.

Travel time, whether driving or riding along, has always been a time - and is now one of the only times - for me to think and reflect on life. That reflective thought combined with the new experiences of travel and reminiscent experience of coming home can be, well, kinda magical.

And if there's no room for a vacation this month, try Google maps.

For more travel writing from RTM, visit our Humorous Road Trip page.

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September 28, 2009

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Grand Touring Review

By Courtney Caldwell


I remember when Hyundai came to America in 1988. I was so impressed with their ‘little train that could’ approach that I bought one of their cars for my daughter’s high school graduation present.

Today, some 20 years later, Hyundai is no longer the ‘little train that could’ but rather the whole train station. Not only have they surfaced as a company that produces vehicles with 5-star safety ratings and 10 year/100,000 mile warranties, they’re also putting out some very cool cars. One of those cars was this week’s test vehicle, the 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8 Grand Touring A/T with a price tag of $29K.


When it first arrived it sat in our parking lot for a good couple of hours before I had a chance to go out for a walk-around. It took awhile to find because its styling was so modern and aerodynamic that I thought it was one of the high-end vehicles owned by a very successful attorney in our building. I finally used the key-fob to make it beep to find it and to my surprise it was staring me in the face.


The slick coupe is sexy as all hell. As I slipped into the brown leather seat it felt like slipping into a naughty movie. Amazed at its special effects, inside and out, I invited our content manager to go for a ride. As she settled into the bear hugging passenger seat, we drove off. Acceleration was sensitive and swift. I looked over to ask for her reaction to the interior and handling, but she had her head back, eyes closed, and said, “I could fall asleep in this seat… it’s sooooo comfortable.”


That unsolicited statement was worth a thousand words about what the Genesis Coupe is made of. Loaded with creature comforts, safety gadgets and high-tech wizardry, and even an above average global warming score, this is one ride worth a second look. You’ll never take the train again!


Drive this way for more information on the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.


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September 25, 2009

A Beautiful South African Luxury Train Itinerary


Train itineraries are always beautiful because they speak a lot of the country and its multifarious beauty, and this is what you miss in an enclosed flight. Be it a luxurious ride on the best of trains or just a casual one with the locals, train trips with their sprawling display of landscape have dominated plenty of hearts. Let’s have a look at one of the best train trips around the world:

Cape Town to Pretoria on South Africa's Blue Train: South Africa's charismatic blue train, aimed squarely at tourists, links the stunning Cape Town with Johannesburg. The double glazed windows are toned with pure gold and exotic metals. The display of sheer luxury on this 27-hour journey gifts a perfect match to the mesmerizing views of the Table Mountain through the wine regions of Stellenbosch and Paarl. If you are dying to view this scenery, just pay $23 and get a sleeper. However, the ordinary passenger trains are not air-conditioned and therefore the opened windows are perfect for the panoramic vistas.


There are four suites per coach and a professionally trained butler is on duty on every coach to cater to the needs of his guests. The Club Car is designed along the lines of an old gentleman’s club for those who enjoy a good port wine and after dinner cigar or coffee. A large video screen provides a view of the scenery ahead of the train, courtesy of a camera mounted on the locomotive.


On this journey, you’ll observe the grasslands of the gold-rich highveld and the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo, then ascend to the highveld through tangles of indigenous forests, with its deep gorges and ancient cliffs, where "living fossils" flourish in the high lying land of the primeval Baobab tree. You’ll slide along past tea estates, trout streams, natural woodlands and vast citrus estates.

Train travel is said to be the perfect illustration of South Africa as a world in one country.


For more information about luxury trains from Road & Travel, click here.



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September 24, 2009

Meineke Offers Fall Car Care Advice

Fall car care With a new season comes a rejuvenated spirit, fall cleaning – and vehicle maintenance. Therefore, after the road trips that many people took over the summer, Meineke Car Care Centers are encouraging drivers to make sure their vehicles undergo a maintenance check for the autumn season.

"It is critical that cars have periodical, thorough inspections by a qualified technician," said Don Rauch, director of dealer communications for Meineke Car Care Centers, Inc. “A car maintenance check-up and some simple service can really reduce the cost of car ownership." Rauch suggests the following advice:

Meineke Car Care Center's Top Fall Car Care Tips

1. With cooler weather soon heading way, keep the windshield wiper fluid reservoir full. When topping off, use some windshield washer fluid on a rag to clean off the wiper blades. In winter months, pay attention to the freezing point of the washer fluid.

2. Inspect belts and hoses. Replace worn, glazed or frayed belts. Tighten them when more than ½" of slack can be depressed between the pulleys. Vehicles with spring loaded belt tensioners require no adjustment. Replace bulging, rotten, or brittle hoses and tighten clamps. If a hose feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.

3. Check the antifreeze/coolant level. Some cars have transparent reservoirs with level markings. Fill to level marking with 50/50 solution of antifreeze and water.
Caution: Do not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.

4. To maintain peak performance, change oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Replace oil filter with every oil change.

5. Check transmission fluid with engine warm and running, and parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed. Be sure not to overfill.

It's also important to remember that proper tire inflation, regular engine tuning, oil and air filter changes can do more than keep your car running smoothly: they actually save gas. Getting a regular check-up is not only vital to the safety of your car, it can save time, money and inconvenience – now and later.

For more fall car care tips from RTM, click here.

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September 23, 2009

Business Travel Mishaps & Advice from Embassy Suites

Business travel Despite today's struggling economy, the frequency of business travel has remained steady for nearly half of all traveling professionals; those brand new to business travel need and deserve the chance to walk into that first off-site meeting with enough business savvy in their back pocket to boost their confidence and help them succeed. To assist these rookie road warriors, Embassy Suites Hotels recently announced the results of a nationwide survey that taps into the mindset and experiences of business travelers and offers words of wisdom to grads just entering the workforce.

Veterans have all the knowledge: Business travelers have the best grasp of the secrets to traveling successfully - they say that preparedness is the name of the game. Seven in 10 veterans advise rookies to always have cash handy for cabs, more than eight in 10 pack the night before departing and over half bring hard copies of important documents with them on the road (58 percent) or carry electronic copies on disks or flash drives (52 percent).

"For many college grads who have just landed that first job, being well-prepared for their first business trip is a great way to stand out," says Stuart Schultz, founder and CEO of Gradspot.comand author of The Guide to Life After College. "Having access to tried-and-true business travel tips, like those provided by Embassy Suiteson, can be the difference between a promotion and a disaster for college-kids-turned-business-professionals transitioning to the real world."

Experienced travelers still encounter rough times on the road:

  • Thirty-three percent have spilled food or drink on their clothes en route to a client meeting; consequently, over half of respondents recommend business travelers always pack an extra suit.
  • Nearly one in four (24 percent) have mispronounced a client's name or referred to a client by the wrong name; to deal with the situation at hand, 64 percent apologized profusely to the client while three percent turned bright red and ran away.
  • While only nine percent of respondents have overslept and missed a meeting or business function entirely, 41 percent suggest setting two alarms for the morning of an important meeting.

For more travel tips from RTM, click here.


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September 22, 2009

When It's Time to Turn in the Keys

Aarp driving Nope, we’re not talking about that tactic for avoiding drunk driving after a party, here. This is about how long, as people age, are they able to drive safely. Though newer, high-tech safety features on vehicles can help divert the following problems, there comes a time for everyone.


How do you approach a family member when age related changes impact driving ability? Families nationwide struggle with these sensitive issues. Elinor Ginzler, AARP's Director of Livable Communities and a leading authority on older driver safety, encourages families to talk with loved ones about safe driving practices. According to Ginzler, these are the top ten signs that it's time to talk about limiting driving or handing over the keys:


1. Frequent "close calls” (i.e. near accidents).

2. Dents, scrapes, on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs etc.

3. Trouble judging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance/exit ramps.

4. Other drivers honking at you.

5. Getting lost.

6. Difficulty seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead.

7. Slower response time; trouble moving foot from gas to brake pedal or confusing the two pedals.

8. Getting distracted easily or having trouble concentrating.

9. Difficulty turning your head to check over shoulder while backing up or changing lanes.

10. Traffic tickets or "warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers in the last year or two.


Not ready to hand 'em over? Read more on this topic.


For more advice from RTM, visit our Auto Safety & Security section.


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September 21, 2009

Prevent the Swine Flu While Travelling

Travel & getting sick naturally go hand-in-hand. Touching doorknobs at the airport, being in areas which may be getting the flu bug early - don't take any chances and end up with a bitter ending to your vacation. HandsanA recent government report suggests that as many as half of the United States population could be infected with the swine flu virus this fall and winter. About 30,000 to 90,000 deaths are projected, especially in children, young adults, and adults with health conditions. Eleven states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. Any reports of widespread influenza activity in August and September are very unusual. This will be a huge strain on hospitals in affected regions. So why are we taking normal measures to prevent its spread?

The Center for Disease Control adheres to the philosophy that the best prevention strategy to the spread of the Swine Flu is clean hands, and the next best thing to washing thoroughly and frequently is having hand sanitizer available.

However, hand sanitizer's not always such a quick fix. Sure, alcohol based solutions products kill >99% of germs and bacteria on contact. Though, their effectiveness lasts for just a minute or so, requiring constant re-application eventually drying skin to the point of cracking. They are very unsafe for children and they have no real effect on fungus or viruses. Benzalkonium Chloride or Triclosan based solutions are extremely toxic to the environment and humans if ingested.

But a new sanitizer, Prefenz Botanicals hand sanitizer is a silica based technology that immediately destroys all harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses including H1N1, HIV, SARS and MRSA. The active ingredient, AMOSILQ, is a silica complex that dries into a film on the skin and protects against pathogens that one might encounter during any given day. It does so by slicing the cell wall of the pathogen, hence destroying it, upon contact for up to 24 hours without re-application. It is still active for up to 10 hand washings.

"Prefenz is so eco-friendly that you can drink it without experiencing any harmful effects, so it's safe for all ages,” said company president Aaron Powers. They offer two bottle sizes on-line; a 1.5 oz bottle for $8.99 and an 8 oz botle for $17.99.

For more environmentally-friendly product reviews from RTM, click here.

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September 18, 2009

Four Subaru Models Take "Top Safety Pick" Awards

Legacy interior Subaru has upheld it’s reputation for producing safe vehicles – and this year, four of Subaru of America’s 2009 models have been named a 'Top Safety Pick' by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 'Top Safety Pick' recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners are also required have to have electronic stability control (ESC), which research shows significantly reduces crash risk. The following vehicles each earned a 2009 'Top Safety Pick' award in their category:

Subaru Legacy - Mid-size Sedan

Subaru Impreza - Small Cars

Subaru Tribeca - Mid-size SUV

Subaru Forester - Small SUV

"It is not a surprise that Subaru has again received 'Top Safety Pick' awards for its vehicles," says Institute President, Adrian Lund. "Subaru is a standout for 2009 because it has at least one Top Safety Pick in every vehicle class in which it competes. The Top Safety Pick awards speak to the commitment Subaru makes to produce safer vehicles." Subaru vehicles are not only safe to drive, but also fun and affordable with all-wheel drive standard.

For auto safety advice from RTM, click here.

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September 17, 2009

Why Visit Europe this Winter? Here's 9 Reasons

EUROPE It’s no secret that winter in Europe is stunning, and the key to ensuring the most memorable experience is to let the best people plan your trip. Here are several reasons why you should jump out of  hibernation and head to Europe on a Contiki tour this winter, along with a few tour suggestions:

  1. Crowds - The summer crowds are gone.  Fewer tourists mean you will get to experience cities as the locals do.  No standing in long lines to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, or the Roman Forum and Colosseum in Rome.
  2. Authentic Experiences - You can’t get more authentic than the Christmas markets, festivals and carnivals that take place all around Denmark, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
  3. Entertainment - Opera, theater, and symphony seasons are in full effect.
  4. Adventure - For winter sports enthusiasts, it is prime snow season! Contiki offers seven and 14 day vacation packages to Hopfgarten, Austria where you can ski, snowboard, ice skate or take a sleigh ride through the beautiful countryside. 
  5. Hofbräuhaus - So, you couldn’t make it to Oktoberfest, but you can still enjoy the beer, the food and the Bavarian oompah band.  Munich is one of the many exciting stops on Contiki’s European Inspiration tour.
  6. Spanish Beauty - Spain comes alive in September.  From Barcelona, to Madrid, to Seville, winter is the best time for shopping and exploring.  If you’re looking to get a little spicy this winter, check out Contiki’s Spanish Spree tour.
  7. Time to Break Tradition - Dick Clark will be around for a few more years, so why not party it up with the locals in Dam Square in Amsterdam for New Year’s Eve!?  It is as big a celebration as Times Square in New York with the addition of fireworks.
  8. A Little Romance - Paris on Valentine’s Day- how much more romantic can you get!?
  9. The Shopping - Italy is always top of mind when it comes to shopping.  Milan is world renowned for design and fashion, and the entire area surrounding the famous Spanish Steps in Rome is a shopper’s dream come true.
  10. Packages - deals are a steal during this season.

Source: Contiki Vacations, the worldwide leader in unique travel packages for 18 to 35-year-olds. View Contiki’s Europe Winter 2009-2010 brochure here.


For more travel ideas from RTM, visit our Travel Channel.


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