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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Review of Charlotte Douglas International Airport Minute Suites

Recently before boarding an International flight, LTD decided to check out the recently-opened Minute Suites in Charlotte Douglas International Airport located in the main Atrium and food court. One hour is free if you have the American Express Platinum Card and have subscribed to the free Priority Pass Lounge Membership.


The bottom line is that this is a great option for either a short visit before a flight if you need to put your feet up, watch tv, take a nap or get some work done. It is a quiet alternative to the airport lounges at CLT which can be rather noisy and crowded at times.  Alternatively it would serve as an option for a “hotel” on the dreaded occasion that your late night flight is cancelled. If you can phone ahead for a reservation, you will be more likely to get a room when needed.  The phone number is at the end of this post!










  • Check in was quick and a suite was available immediately.  A credit card must be given in case you incur any charges - just like at a hotel. At the entrance are decent products for sale including Jack Black and Burt’s Bees skin care products, and an entire mini pharmacy for stocking up on forgotten items or treating aches and pains.





  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part V: Time

    Last time we saw how your children's health is one of the most important gifts you can give them.


    LTD presented a 5-part series on the benefits of traveling with our children and some of the science behind why you should make traveling with your children a priority and this is our final part: time.  Here are the five things that your child may gain from family travel that we have highlighted for you by the end of this article:

    1. happiness
    2. brain development
    3. education
    4. health
    5. time

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and what better gift is there than time?


    Part V: Time



    Give the gift of time to your children.  What do we always wish we had more of?  TIME!
    There is not a closer bond than the child parent relationship and you may realize this is a difficult section to write... For adults who were children when their parents died, the question is hypothetical but heartbreaking: “Would you give up a year of your life to have one more day with your late mother or father?”  Think about that as a parent with at least one lesson to be learned from this:  Don't miss quality time with your own children.


    Would you give up a year of your life to have one more day with your late mother or father? Credit Pexels

    At the most basic level, autobiographical memories refer to personally experienced past events.  According to Dr. Krystine I. Batcho, author of Longing for Nostalgia"In a study of autobiographical memories, one young woman fondly recalled going to baseball games with her father—memories so lasting that the smell of popcorn and grass still revive them."  Of course the big-ticket items are often remembered fondly, but smaller events of special times, can be equally or more meaningful to us as adults.

    Studies show that mothers' time in particular activities with children is positively associated with child well‐being, but results are mixed regarding associations between child outcomes and the sheer amount of time that mothers spend with children. 

    That’s not to say that parent time isn’t important. It is just that the quantity of time is not as important a factor as the quality of time.  Probably this is because our individual stress and moods are projected onto our children frequenlty.  Plenty of studies have shown links between quality parent time, such as a vacation, and positive outcomes for kids.

    A 2013 survey administered by the U.S. Travel Association geared toward family members’ views and feelings about vacation and family travel has produced findings, which, while perhaps not revealing anything all that novel or surprising, do offer some important reminders.

    On the younger end of things, just about every child surveyed (more than 9 in 10) agreed that on vacations “I get to spend quality time with my parents,” and most strongly agree that “vacations bring my family closer together.” Youth participants between the ages of 8-18 also strongly agreed that on family vacations they “see and do new things that I’ll remember for a long time,” and that “some of their best memories are of things that I did during a family vacation.” (TravelEffect, March 13, 2013, http://traveleffect.com/news/20130313/us-travel-spring-survey-finds-family-vacations-create-lasting-memories)

    At the other end of the spectrum, 75% of vacationers older than 55 agreed that they “still have ‘vivid’ memories of childhood vacations” and 84% reported that “some of their favorite family stories are from family vacations.”

    Of travelers over 55, over 84% reported that some of their favorite family stories are from family vacations. Credit Pexels


    What  these survey findings seem to remind us, is that when we travel or vacation, we are taking a journey, setting out on an adventure. When we do this with our loved ones, we are giving them the gift of adventure and experience and memory. And these are the greatest gifts we can give.

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part IV: Health

    Last time we saw how planning makes opportunities for a family vacation to be educational and beneficial for your children!

    Combat inactivity when planning vacation and your children will benefit!

    Part IV: Health


    LTD has reminded our readers on countless occasions that physical activity is important for all of us, but it is especially important for our growing children!  In children physical activity is necessary for a strong body, including muscles and bones. Getting the blood pumping throughout the body can also help with mood and emotional health. Use the opportunities that nature provides, get outside and get moving with your children. Physical activity will not only benefit your body, but also your child’s growing body.

    Physical activity will not only benefit your body, but also your child’s growing body. Credit Pexels


    It is recommended by the American Heart Association that:

    All children age 2 and older participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied.

    If your child or children do not have a full 60 minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 30 minute periods or four 15 minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development.

    According to a 2016 study, only 21.6% of 6 to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the United States attained 60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 5 days per week.

    Of course this activity does not only improve their physical health, but stimulates the PLAY and SEEKING systems crucial for brain development as discussed in our first entry of this series.  This is supported by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


    • Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior).
    • Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students.


    The benefit to your child's physical well being is well known.  Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing various health conditions. Here are some examples:


    • Children’s muscles need to be used to grow and become stronger 
    • Aerobic exercise helps the heart muscle to become and stay strong. 
    • A child's bones are not fully developed until the late teen years. Bone strength is built when bones are forced to bear weight and work against gravity and bone strength established at a young age is beneficial to you throughout your entire life.

    Your children's health one of the most important gifts you can give them!  Family vacations offer many opportunities to make physical activity fun for them!  After the adults decide on the vacation budget and a couple of trip ideas, it's a good time to get the kids involved. Older kids might want to vote on the list of possible trips, while younger kids will appreciate seeing photos of where you've decided to go and all the fun stuff to do there.

    Next time:  Our most emotional and final entry of this five-part series.  What do we always wish we had more of?  TIME!


    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part III: Education

    Last time we saw how family vacations can lead to better brain development by stimulating key systems crucial to thinking, social intelligence and goal-directed behavior. 


    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and with the right planning a family vacation can be educational too!


    Part III: Education


    A family vacation can provide education in a number of ways.  Think of the characteristics of your travel destination and you may find educational opportunities in a number of ways:  history, nature, art, culture, and community just to name a few.

    Always remember what we find interesting may not be interesting to others.  This concept applies to any vacation but is particularly important for children, since they may not be involved in the planning.  Ask what they want to do and balance what your wishes may be with theirs.  According to British Psychologist Oliver James,  “The first and simplest mistake that an awful lot of parents make is confusing what they find exciting about a holiday with what their children will. So many of the ‘interesting’ things about a new place are deathly boring to the vast majority of children — high culture, for example, in almost all forms. So your child, if at all typical, will grumble at the ghastly business of being dragged round.”


    Consider nature as a way to stimulate visual development. Credit Pexels
    If your child is very young consider art, architecture or nature as a way to stimulate visual and even language development.  Take time to describe the colors and shapes of what you see.  You are really a child's first teacher and take advantage of the opportunity.

    If your child is very young consider art, as a way to stimulate visual and even language development. Credit Pexels
    Do your homework before you go to a museum or tourist site.  For example, while we all think of a museums like the American Museum of Natural History, seen in Night at the Museum as best for children, some museums that we wouldn't consider have many things that appeal to children. Take advantage of children's programs! Maybe you roll your eyes when you even think of bringing your child to an art museum, but large museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art have audio children's programs.  Take them to see and Egyptian temple or mummies!  Or just download their children's map.  Make sure you make it interesting for them and give them options to choose what they would like to do.  Play to your child's personality.

    Take advantage of children's museum programs! Credit Pexels
    And after the visit, remember what interested your child and bring it home.  There may so much more  found on the internet about what they enjoyed and you may inspire even more meaningful time with your child.

    Wherever you go, most children will find wonder in something!  That is the beauty of exploring. “Give a two-year-old a present and she’ll get absorbed in the box instead,” says James. “It’s similar with children and travel. We should let them explore their own ways of finding wonder in their surroundings.”  With planning there are many opportunities to make a family vacation educational and beneficial for your children!

    Next time: Combat inactivity when planning vacation and your child's health will benefit!


    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part II: Brain Development

    Last time we highlighted why you should spend your money on experiences rather than material things and how taking a family vacation with your young ones can make them happier, and help them form lifetime memories.  

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and maybe you didn't realize they can advance brain development too!

    Brain Development


    Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist, psychologist, and psychobiologist, coined the term “affective neuroscience” to refer to the study of the neural mechanisms of emotion.

    Key brain systems were discovered by Professor Jaak Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist at Washington State University. According to the Panksepp’s research, the PLAY system and the SEEKING system are areas of the brain that are exercised best when kids are exposed to new surroundings. These systems rarely get triggered when kids are at home or left alone with their toys.

    Dr. Margot Sunderland  who is  Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health London concludes that vacations can advance brain development by exercising the PLAY and SEEKING systems.

    Key brains systems rarely get triggered when kids are at home or left alone with their toys. Credit Pexels.


    She explains that “the brain’s PLAY system is exercised every time you bury your child’s feet in the sand, tickle them on the pool lounger, or take them for a ride on your back. The brain’s SEEKING system is exercised each time you go exploring together: the forest, the beach, a hidden gem of a village.

    When are these brain systems activated at the same time? Usually on family vacations.
    How does it work? Once your family vacations adventures and experiences activate these two systems in your own brain, and in your kids’ brains, and trigger happiness brain chemicals. Panksepp calls them “nature’s gift to us” and goes on to describe how these chemicals reduce stress and activate warm, generous feelings towards each other and a lovely sense that all is well in the world.

    Dr Sunderland adds that “really using the brain’s PLAY and SEEKING systems well, as often happens on family [vacations], brings about brain growth and maturation in the frontal lobes, the very part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence and well-focused, goal-directed behaviours that may last a lifetime.”

    A key brain system is exercised every time you stick your children's toes in the sand! Credit Pexels

    Galey Gravenstein of Gainesville, Florida realized this when raising her four children.  She believed that "it would make them more open and flexible when in new situations. I know "routines" are important but I wanted them to not be afraid of new situations and things they encounter."

    As a matter of fact, in most regions of the brain, no new neurons are formed after birth. Instead, brain development consists of an ongoing process of wiring and re-wiring the connections among neurons. New synapses between cells are constantly being formed, broken or pruned away. In early childhood the brain is genetically programmed to produce more synapses. For instance, a child’s brain (from 0 to 3 years of age)—produces 700 new neural connections every second.  "I think young children rarely get as much play as their brains need", according to Dr. Panksepp.

    Family vacations can lead to better brain development by stimulating key systems crucial to thinking, social intelligence and goal-directed behavior.  You may think that your child would never engage in obvious educational opportunities, but it may surprise you what is available at institutions to exercise your children's minds.

    Next time: LTD looks at finding educational opportunities for you child when you travel.


    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice.