FABULOUS FLEA MARKETS AROUND THE WORLD

Lost Treasures are not just found at the bottom of the ocean. Around the world, flea markets offer travelers each cultures unique treasures. Thursday outside of the Gothic cathedral in Barcelona is worth the flight over, and these flea markets are not just found Europe. The San Telmo market in Buenos Aires is another treasure trove. Why bring home another t-shirt or miniature Big Ben replica, when you can bring home a one-of-a-kind whatchamacallit?

HOUSE SWAPPING, THE NEW TREND

Travelling on a buget? How about trying a house swap. A week at a modest European hotel can easily cost $1,200 without adding in the cost of meals. According the the Wall Street Journal, more than 500,000 people globally are trading their homes for others at their destination. Don't lose out. The cost for exchanging homes involves a reasonable membership, often as little as $45 per year. There are many exchange services out there, Digsville.com to name just one. Participants report that not only do they save money, the cultural exchange is enhanced as well.

FUN FREEBEES THIS SUMMER IN EUROPE

ITALY: Rome's hosts a colorful, Festa di Noantri festival in late July. Described as "Fellini-esque," this eight-day festival includes a religious procession, food and entertainment.

FRANCE: Paris offers Friday Night Fever, a mass happening of inline skaters at night. The route changes every week, starting at 10:00 PM and returning to the starting point at 1 AM.

SPAIN: Madrid’s Place of Liria provides free tours of Spanish, Flemish, German, French paintings and other masterpieces Fridays.

PORTUGAL: the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon houses one of the finest art collections in the world, free to the public.

GERMANY: In Leipzig, car lovers are treated to free tours of Porsche’s factory, including history as well a driving experience on a track.

SWITZERLAND: • the Church of Our Lady in Zurich displays a large stained-glass window done by the artist Alberto Giacometti in the 1940s and five stained glass windows by Marc Chagall

NORWAY: 200 works by Norway's most famous sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, can be found in Oslo.

HOLLAND: Amsterdam’s Wooden Shoe Factory allows the public to see firsthand Dutch wooden shoes being hand carved and painted.

Swine Flu and the Well Prepared Taveler

Travel insurance may offer the well prepared traveler invaluable protection at times of pandemic or epidemic health alerts such as in the news these days. According to the World Health Organization, many more countries beyond Mexico are now officially reporting cases of Swine Flu. Countries such as Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom have all reported laboratory-confirmed cases. While WHO does not advise travel restriction, travelers who are ill might consider delaying international travel or should seek medical care at the first signs of any flu-like symptoms.

Remedies for Common Traveling Ailments

Sleeping Pills

You’re not alone, but try them at home before you try them on a plane is our best advice. Even over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl may do the trick.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Blood clots develop in the leg can result from long-haul flights. Prevention is the key. Drink a lot of water, stretch and walk around the plane as often as possible. You might consider using aspirin. Its blood-thinning capacities help many sufferers.

Motion Sickness

Over-the-counter medications such as Dramamikne or Bonine are the most common. Others prefer transdermal patches behind the ear or Sea-Band acupression devices for the wrist. Ginger in the right doses appeals to the homeopathic travelers.

Ear Infections

Decongestants or nasal sprays used prior to takeoff often prevent discomfort when flying with a cold or with allergies.

Time Is Ticking On Seeing Natural Wonders

Why travel now? The answer is obvious” global warming, receding glaciers, warming oceans, endangered species, and don’t get me started on the Barrier Reef. If you want to see, do it now. “Doomsday Tourism” is on all seasoned travelers’ lips.

An undeniable surge is happening in the number of travelers to the Galápagos Islands and to Antarctica, both endangered by changes to their ecosystems.

UNESCO and other International Wildlife organizations are tracking threats to the environment and the results are alarming.
The Nature Conservancy has created a "global conservation atlas," which will be a valuable guide to eco-travelers. Oceans, coastlines, lakes, rivers, deserts, grasslands and forests are all affected. Travelers looking to explore fragile places like the Patagonia grasslands of Argentina or the beaches of the Indian Ocean had better accelerate their planning.

The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations advocates thoughtful forms of tourism and provide maps detailing not only attractions like wildlife refuges and state parks, but also cultural events eco-friendly accommodations.