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Is the Water at the Beach Safe?

This story originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler’s Website.

As a parent, I take great care about the foods my children eat, and the safety of the products they use. But on a vacation at the beach, it’s easy to forget about the invisible bacteria and chemicals in the water that, if they exist in high quantities, can cause stomach flu, colds, and skin rashes.

Here are some steps to check on water quality at the beaches you’ll be visiting on vacation:

• Every year the Natural Resources Defense Council publishes a guide to water quality at vacation beaches that gives an excellent state-by-state overview of both water quality issues and frequency of closures for vacation beaches in the US. You can also look at historical information for the most popular beaches.

Find out if your favorite beach is safe here!

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Cheap Travel Tips

The economy may be wobbly, but our travel dreams are still strong — for good reason. Europe is every bit as magical as ever, and no recession can change that. What matters is how well you manage your travel budget, and how you use those skills to create a better trip. Playing your cards right, and spending less will lower the barrier that separates you and the culture you’ve traveled so far to experience.

To help you keep your dream trip affordable, here are 50 thrifty ways to stretch your travel dollar in Europe…

A B&B offers double the warmth and cultural intimacy for half the price of a hotel. You’ll find them in most countries if you know the local word: Husrom is Norwegian for sobe which is Slovenian for Zimmer which is German for rooms in a private home.

Avoid touristy restaurants with “We speak English signs” and multilingual menus. Those that are filled with locals serve better food for less money. I look for a short, handwritten menu in the local language only. Go with the daily specials.

Fly open-jaws — that’s into one city and out of another. Save time and money by avoiding a needless costly return to your starting point. When considering the beginning and end points of a long trip, try to start in mild countries (such as England) and work into the places with greater culture shock (such as Turkey). This way you’ll minimize stress, and save countries offering the cheapest shopping — and greatest health risks — for the end of your trip.

 

Read the other cheap travel  tips!

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Non-Smoking Hotel Rooms Not What You Think

Think you’re saving yourself from cigarette smoke by booking non-smoking hotel rooms? Think again.

A new study in the journal Tobacco Control shows evidence that “thirdhand smoke” — which is air that’s been polluted by tobacco smoke — is present in both smoking and non-smoking rooms.

“Partial smoking bans in hotels do not protect non-smoking guests from exposure to tobacco smoke and tobacco-specific carcinogens,” San Diego State University researchers wrote in the study. “Non-smokers are advised to stay in hotels with complete smoking bans. Existing policies exempting hotels from complete smoking bans are ineffective.”

Read the rest of the dangers about non smoking rooms here!