Health and safety on holiday is often the last thing we think about when preparing ourselves for a fun-packed time abroad. If we've got sun cream and sunglasses what more could we need, right? Wrong.

It may not have even occurred to you but unless you carry a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with you on holiday, your first night's accommodation could well be your last.

Carbon monoxide gas is odourless, tasteless and colourless, making it impossible to detect, which is why it is often referred to as a silent killer. Packing this small but effective device with you could help save your life and those travelling with you.

Protecting your family whilst on holiday with a portable carbon monoxide alarm has been highlighted in a new campaign led by the parents of two children who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu two years ago.

Sharon Wood and Neal Shepherd are campaigning for travel companies to take greater responsibility in raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning to their customers and ensuring all holiday accommodation receive more frequent boiler servicing and carbon monoxide alarms are provided. In the meantime, the parents are urging families to take short-term steps by buying a CO alarm to protect them whilst on holiday.

John Walsh, managing director at domestic safety products manufacturer FireAngel believes Sharon and Neal's campaign is another important step in helping to reduce the number of carbon monoxide poisoning incidents across the UK and abroad. "Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas. It is a natural product of combustion of fossil fuels and when appliances are working correctly and are properly vented then carbon monoxide will normally be exhausted harmlessly outside of a property. Sharon and Neal's campaign to get boiler servicing contracts carried out on an annual basis within holiday accommodation should help to ensure a safer environment, while the use of a portable CO alarm will give families extra peace of mind," he says.

Sadly for Sharon and Neal's two children Christi and Bobby, carbon monoxide poisoning was fatal as the body's ability to transport oxygen to vital organs is impaired when exposed to CO. Many more instances of CO poisoning also go unreported as they are often unrecognised, although they can result in serious long term health problems.

Although it can't be detected by human senses there are some vital signs you can look out for while on holiday. Carbon monoxide poisoning in its early stages produces symptoms often misdiagnosed as flu, these would include slight headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Greater exposure will result in severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion and increased heart rate. Exposure to high levels will result in unconsciousness, convulsions, cardio respiratory failure and death. Despite the fact it cannot be detected by the human senses, carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common form of poisoning in the home.

If you're about to go on holiday and would like to buy a CO alarm, FireAngel offer a range which are suitable for use on holiday or in the home. The CO808 LED alarm alerts users to both low and high levels of carbon monoxide through an alarm sound, while the CO828 alarm with digital display constantly monitors levels of carbon monoxide present and will alert users to danger before high levels of CO are reached.

They are battery operated and available to buy from major retailers such as B&Q and Tesco.

Until better measures are implemented in hotels and accommodation abroad, it looks like your best bet could be to snap up one of these handy devices.

Picture caption: Your hotel room may look nice but there could be a silent killer lurking in the walls This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.
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Carbon killer

Health and safety on holiday is often the last thing we think about when preparing ourselves for a fun-packed time abroad. If we've got sun cream and sunglasses what more could we need, right? Wrong.

It may not have even occurred to you but unless you carry a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with you on holiday, your first night's accommo...

Jazz up your walking holiday

King of swingers Frank Sinatra called it his kind of town, notorious gangster Al Capone once ruled its criminal underworld, author Ernest Hemingway was born here and there is even a musical about it. But Chicago has more to offer than a colourful history and all that jazz. Famed for its colossal skyscrapers, historic architecture and impressive landscapes, the Windy City is the perfect place to explore on foot.

If you're tired of the same old country rambles and want a walking holiday with a bit more pizzazz, then walking and sightseeing trip to Chicago could be just what you're looking for. Stroll next to the banks of Lake Michigan or catch the breathtaking view down the great skyscraper canyon of the Chicago River.

You could soon be walking in Al Capone's infamous footsteps as Ramblers Worldwide Holidays is offering a walking holiday to Chicago. This includes a series of special walks including a tour of historic skyscrapers with a local guide and an off-beat tour of Gangster Chicago, which harks back to the days of the mob, the St Valentine's Day Massacre and speakeasies.

For avid walkers with an eye for art, the holiday includes visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, famed for its outstanding collection of impressionist work and a further choice of 30 other museums in the city.

If architecture is more your thing then you might enjoy the walking tour of historic skyscrapers with a local guide. But Chicago is more than a concrete jungle and boasts some extensive parkland, including Lincoln Park, which is just a short walk from your hotel, the Days Inn Lincoln Park Hotel. The trip also includes a day trip to the waterfalls and canyons of Starved Rock State Park for more fresh air.

After all that walking you're bound to get pretty peckish, but don't be fooled into thinking American cuisine consists largely of burgers and fries either. The city's rich ethnic mix is reflected in its food. Despite the fact that Chicago is the home of the deep pan pizza, you may be surprised to learn that it offers an eclectic array of Mexican, Greek, Polish, American and Italian food that is more likely to whet your appetite.

After food, Chicago natives love their music, but it's not just jazz that's made it big here: the city is also famous for the blues. Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters made it big in Chicago and now the blues is the soundtrack to the city, pumping from not only bars, but street markets too.

From the hotel you are within easy walking distance of shops, museums and restaurants and downtown Chicago is quickly reached using the city's highly efficient public transport system. Other highlights include, "the shop till you drop" magnificent mile of Michigan Avenue and the great skyscraper canyon of the Chicago River.

Prices start from £1,262 per person and this includes flights, transfers, breakfasts and five dinners as well as the services of a tour leader. For more information go to www.ramblersworldwideholidays.co.uk Picture caption: Chicago's contrast of beautiful parks and breath-taking skyscrapers make it an exciting prospect for walkers. This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.
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Jazz up

Jazz up your walking holiday

King of swingers Frank Sinatra called it his kind of town, notorious gangster Al Capone once ruled its criminal underworld, author Ernest Hemingway was born here and there is even a musical about it. But Chicago has more to offer than a colourful history and all that jazz. Famed for its colossal sky...

Packages make financial sense

At a time when you can't pick up a newspaper without reading an article predicting financial doom and gloom, many of us will naturally start thinking about tightening our belts.

Holidays are certainly thought of as a luxury in this climate and our first instincts may be to shelve our annual break in favour of saving a few bob. But according to recent reports you may not need to sacrifice your couple of weeks in the sun just yet.

Booking a package holiday could be a good idea for people looking to make the most of their pennies, according to travel company Thomsonfly. The weakened pound against the euro means that this could be a great time to book an all-inclusive holiday.

Alan Pugh, head of planning and trading at Thomsonfly, says: "As additional costs in European destinations - food and beverage, for example - would be paid in euros exchanged from pounds, there has never been a better time to book an all-inclusive holiday".

Just think, a holiday where you hardly even need to bring any money with you means it will be easier to budget for your break. All-inclusive holidays usually have all meals, soft drinks and the majority of alcoholic drinks included in the booking price. If you're lucky, then you may even get sports and other activities thrown in too.

There's never been a better time to be savvy with your money and to make sure you're getting all you can from it, especially if you're thinking of taking the whole family overseas.

According to online comparison service travelsupermarket.com , families will gain from taking an all-inclusive package holiday. That's probably because on any other kind of break the basics such as food, drinks and transport can really see you blow your holiday budget in no time. Kayte Williams, holiday travel manager at travelsupermarket.com , says: "Families have the comfort of knowing everything is included - they are met by a rep when they get to their resort and they have somebody to contact within the resort if they need any help."

The director of money transfer company Travelex, John Nicholas, also says that Britons who have already booked their holidays to countries using the euro as currency such as Spain and France, are advised to get the most out of their holiday budget by pre-ordering money.

"It's very difficult to predict currency, so we would always recommend customers to prepare for their trip in advance and pre-order currency online to ensure the best rates," he says.

But Nicholas also points out that people hoping to make their money go further may want to look outside the traditional eurozone holiday region this summer. Other countries outside Europe which could offer holidaymakers good returns on their sterling include South Africa, the US and Dubai.

You'd be in good company if you do decided to travel a little further. Halifax Travel Insurance recently published report stating that 2.5 million Britons take package holidays to exotic destinations every year.

So you needn't worry too much about saving for that rainy day when there may be a very sunny one just around the corner.

Picture: A couple of weeks in the sun with your family needn't break the bank. This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.
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Packages

Packages make financial sense

At a time when you can't pick up a newspaper without reading an article predicting financial doom and gloom, many of us will naturally start thinking about tightening our belts.

Holidays are certainly thought of as a luxury in this climate and our first instincts may be to shelve our...

Planes, trains or automobiles?

Package holidays should be the most straightforward and enjoyable experiences in the world. Pretty much everything is done for you, so it's hard to admit that things can still get a little stressful.

Before you even leave home for your holiday, there's all the preparation to do. There's the packing for starters, the travel insurance to buy, passports to find, homes to secure and if you have pets you have to find someone to take care of them. It's not easy. But once you're on the way to your retreat in the sun, the tension starts to ease, doesn't it?

Well, no, according to recent research. The methods of transport you use to reach your holiday destination can have a huge impact on your stress levels and, be honest, who wants to start their summer holidays in a bad mood?

When booking your package holiday, it's worth doing a little research into the methods of transport that will ferry you and your family to your destination - it may just save you a few arguments.

Leger Holidays, in conjunction with travel trade publication TTG, used digital monitors to test passengers travelling on four modes of transport to find out which offered the most and least stress-free travel.

Participants in the experiment were faced with four modes of transport - air, coach, rail and self-drive. Leger wanted to find out the travelling stress trigger points in holidays with the objective of ironing them out to make the holiday journey as easy as possible.

Four female travel agents and their families used digital blood pressure monitors to record their pulse rates in a diary every 30 minutes while travelling to Disneyland Resort Paris from the UK.

As stress can be tricky to define and measure and can vary greatly from person to person, digital blood pressure monitors were used to record pulse rates. It's known that pulse rates rise when we exercise, but importantly they also rise when we are stressed or anxious.

The results of the experiment make interesting reading. While travelling by train would seem a pretty straightforward way of reaching a destination, the experiment found that the Eurostar passenger was the most stressed out. Her readings showed a greater consistency of increasing pulse rate readings as her journey from the UK to France progressed.

Second to bottom was - yes, you've guessed it - air travel. That's no great shock for the many of us who have spent hours queuing up to check in our bags or waiting for what seems like an eternity in a departure lounge.

The self-drive passenger was runner-up, but coaching came top as the least stressful mode of transport. Maybe it's time we started to rethink our attitudes to coach holidays as being just for the elderly and realised its benefits for all.

Huw Williams, marketing director at Leger Holidays, says of the findings: "A holiday should be an enjoyable experience from the moment you leave home to arriving back, and of course everything in between.

"Part of our plan in starting this experiment was to isolate some of the trigger points which cause stress and then try to eliminate them from our passengers' journeys.

"We appreciate that to make this absolutely scientific we need to add in more factors, such as testing a much larger sample size over more holiday experiences. However, what this does for us is provide a good indication of some of the more general factors.

"For example, the results indicate that for the participant travelling by coach the most stressful point was just prior to the journey - perhaps finding travel documents and waiting for the coach to arrive - but once on-board the traveller became consistently more relaxed."

He continues: "For the self-drive participant, the most stressful points were packing the car and adjusting the headlight reflectors in France - simple advance advice about preparation might be all that's needed here.

"For the Eurostar participant, the pulse seemed to rise during the queue to get on to the train and then during the mid-part of the journey itself. Perhaps going through the tunnel was an anxious moment for this particular agent.

"The air passenger's pulse rate rose during a flight delay and again transferring to the hotel shuttle bus. Unfortunately delays can affect all kinds of transport, but perhaps there is something we can look into for transfers."

An interesting experiment indeed, but what effect could this have on our holidays? Lucy Huxley, editor of TTG, says: "This was a fun and innovative way to look into how different modes of transport can affect our holiday experience.

"Anything that we can do as an industry to make holidays more enjoyable and relaxed is to be applauded and it was great to have travel industry professionals involved in this."

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Travelling by plane is not the only option when going on holiday. This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.
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Planes, trains or ... ?

Planes, trains or automobiles?

Package holidays should be the most straightforward and enjoyable experiences in the world. Pretty much everything is done for you, so it's hard to admit that things can still get a little stressful.

Before you even leave home for your holiday, there's all the preparation to do. Ther...

Shanghai: a city of contrasts

hanghai is the second largest city in China: colourful, exotic and quickly making a name for itself as a must-visit long haul destination.

In the past it has been the domain of adventurers, swindlers, gamblers, drug runners, the idle rich, fashion dandies, tycoons, missionaries, dangerous gangsters and pimps; a dark memory during the long years of Communist isolation.

Today the sun rises on a city typifying the huge disparities of modern China: monumental buildings that reach for the sky and glinting department stores that swing open their doors to a stylish elite while child beggars, prostitutes and the poor struggle to live.

But travellers still love this city of contrasts, which has earned itself the accolade of the Paris of China and the Queen of the Orient.

Located at the centre of the mainland's coastline, Shanghai has long been a major hub of communications, transportation and international exchange. The municipality covers an area of 6,341 square kilometres and has a bustling population of more than 17 million.

Shanghai is China's largest economic industrial base and a famous historical and cultural city. It is home to the most modern stock exchange in the world, to one of the most advanced subway systems and to the third tallest skyscraper, the Jin Mao Tower.

Visitors to Shanghai are not only dazzled by the modern metropolis and gateway to a developing China, but are also able to immerse themselves in the unique Shanghai culture, a combination of Chinese and western elements.

Colourful festivals and celebrations litter the yearly Shanghai calendar, such as the Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossoms Festival, Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival and Shanghai China International Art Festival.

The well-known Bund is a must for visitors to Shanghai. Here, 52 buildings lining the narrow shoreline of the Huangpu River offer a living exhibition of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architectural styles as well as combinations of Chinese and western looks.

The area of Huaihai Lu is all about shopping, with huge department stores blotting out the sun along a road colourfully lined with flower boxes, while the area around the hotel is littered with cafes, boutiques and antique shops.

Head down the side streets off Yan'an Lu for the tatty, down-at-heel fin de siècle architecture that is so evocative of yesteryear. Nearby, the Yuyuan Gardens and bazaar area of the old town offer some delicious lunchtime snacks and welcome greenery.

Nanjing Donglu (Nanjing Road East) has long been China's golden mile, although these days it's looking a bit the worse for wear beside the luxury option of Huaihai Lu. But shoppers still love it. A late 1990s renovation project pedestrianised the street from Xizang Lu to Henan Lu, and the shopped-out can catch the tourist train that runs along its length.

Even back in the dull Communist era, Nanjing Donglu had a distinctly shop-till-you-drop feel about it. Nowadays, high street stores such as Esprit, Benetton and McDonald's have shouldered Marx and Mao right out of the way.

A visit to the Old City is easily combined with a stop at Yuyuan Garden, a well-restored Suzhou-style garden created during the Ming dynasty. Jade Buddha Temple, located in northwest Shanghai, is the most popular Buddhist temple in this city. It is famous for two jade Buddha statues, one of which is reclining and the other seated.

Culture vultures can immerse themselves in the fascinating history of China to be found in the Shanghai Museum where there are 120,000 works of art, one-third of which have never before been shown. Expect to spend half, if not a whole day here. It is one of the city's highlights.

If you have a head for heights, how about a stay at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai? It is the highest hotel in the world -- located on the 53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower - in the heart of Pudong, Shanghai's financial and business district, and with easy access to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shanghai World Financial Centre and the International Conference Centre.

Picture caption: Shanghai is China's largest economic industrial base and a famous historical and cultural city. This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.
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Shanghai

Shanghai: a city of contrasts

hanghai is the second largest city in China: colourful, exotic and quickly making a name for itself as a must-visit long haul destination.

In the past it has been the domain of adventurers, swindlers, gamblers, drug runners, the idle rich, fashion dandies, tycoons, missionaries, danger...
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