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Devise a safe getaway plan to please your pet and yourself

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Wouldn’t it be nice to take Chester home for the holidays to meet the family?

No, not your new boyfriend, the one you love above all others: your dog.

But before you start packing Chester’s carry-on, you need to know how to make it a safe and stress-free experience.

“When it comes to pet travel, the only universal truth is that it’s a hassle to fly,” says Kaitlyn Wells, a pet expert for Wirecutter, the New York Times company that reviews products.

Here are some questions to ask before deciding whether your dog will also be your travelling companion.

Is it safe?

As with most things, safety first. Always consult your veterinarian before planning your trip, as certain breeds and dogs are at a higher risk.

“Brachycephalic dogs, which have short noses, like Boston terriers, are at an increased risk of having an adverse reaction mid-flight because they’re already prone to respiratory issues,” Wells said. (Kokito, the 10-month-old puppy that died on a United Airlines flight this year after being erroneously placed in an overhead compartment, was a French bulldog, which is also a brachycephalic breed.)

Also, only smaller dogs that can safely fit in a carrier bag and be stowed underneath the seat in front of you can fly in the cabin. Large dogs, as long as the breed is approved by the airline, have to fly in cargo.

The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, a trade association for professional pet shippers, said cargo travel is safe when proper precautions are taken. It recommends that dogs be crate-trained before their trip, which helps them remain comfortable during the flight.

Cargo is an option for smaller dogs, too, but that choice is up to the owner, unless you’re flying to a country that does not allow animals in the cabin at all, like the United Kingdom.

It is rare for pets to be injured or die during air travel, Wells said, but not being able to keep an eye on your pet for potential issues during the flight can increase the risk.The airline crew “may not be as familiar with your particular pet’s medical history, or even know how to recognize when your pet’s in distress,” Wells explained. “I never travel with my pets in cargo; I won’t risk it,” she added.

Should I sedate my dog?

The IPATA does not recommend giving tranquilizers to any pet during air travel. It said sedation suppresses respiratory and body temperature regulation and can have other negative effects on the animal’s physiology.

But other types of medications or natural calming aids can make a big difference, from toys or treats to anything that has been prescribed by your vet after a consultation about the upcoming trip.

Do I have the right paperwork?

While you’re asking your vet about health issues, you also need to fill out the necessary paperwork for your trip. You don’t want your pup to be detained at customs, do you?

Typically, you need an accredited veterinarian to perform an exam before your trip to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). But depending on your destination, there are different admission requirements per state and country.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website is a good place to start. Some states require additional permits, and international travel is even more complicated and may include a quarantine period when you land.

Do I have the right carrier?

When booking, reserve a spot for your dog as early as possible. Most airlines will allow only a certain number of pets in the cabin per flight. You also need to confirm the airline’s animal carry-on rules for your specific itinerary and pay the inevitable extra fees associated with a pet.

“The actual under-seat dimensions will vary by airline carrier, and things really get complicated when you consider the type of pet carrier, airline class seat and short-haul or long-haul flights,” Wells said.

Wells personally swears by the Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier.

“It’s soft-sided, which is more comfortable for my pets and easier for me to carry, it is flexible enough that I can fit it underneath the seat in front of me without squishing my pet, and it’s extremely durable,” she said.

Is the airport pet friendly?

Large airports are only required by law to provide pet relief areas for service animals — so unless you do your research, Princess Poochy may have to hold it for a while.

“Some airports are more dog friendly than others, and not all of them have relief areas for animals,” Well said.

She recommends mapping out where the relief areas are in advance, as they’re not always easy to find and may be located in some terminals and not others.

But some airports are making travel easier for pet owners, so travelling a bit farther beyond your usual airport to locate one might be worth it.

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport was recently rated as the most pet-friendly airport by upgradedpoints.com for having post-security relief areas at several terminals. Terminal 5 also has what’s known as the “wooftop,” a 4,000 square foot outdoor patio that’s accessible to all passengers flying with pets.

No matter the airport, get there early, “so you have time to check-in for your flight, check your bags and give your pet a bathroom break before you even head through security,” Wells suggested.

What do I bring?

“When travelling with your pet, treat them like a newborn and come prepared,” Wells said.

Keep in mind that your dog will most likely count as one of your carry-on items, so you may have to pack light yourself. You’ll also need room for items to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Wells recommends bringing food and treats, a refillable water bottle, one or two toys, a small blanket, some training pads and dog poop bags.

“My dog Sutton always gets a Kong stuffed with some dog-friendly peanut butter or Cheez Whiz to keep her entertained on the flight, and I pack a spare,” she said.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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