Disney’s No Selfie Stick Ban

selfiestickPlanning  a trip to any Disney park (California, Orlando, Paris, Hong Kong) this summer? Did you buy a  “selfie stick”(a popular extendable rod that attach to cellphones and cameras to allow users to take photos of themselves from a distance of about 3 feet) ? You might want to leave that selfie stick at home. Beginning Tuesday, Disney parks are banning the use of selfie sticks.

Disney goers must go through a bag check as they enter any Disney park. Those attempting to bring a selfie stick inside will be given a choice  of turning it in and picking it up later, or returning it to a car or hotel room.

Why has the happiest place on Earth ban the use of selfie sticks? It isn’t because they do not want you to take photos or only take photos in certain spots. It is because certain park goers decided it would be a good idea to use the selfie sticks while on rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Californa Screamin’. Recently the Disney’s California Adventure had to shut down the California Screamin’  high-speed roller coaster after a passenger pulled out a selfie stick mid ride. A very big safety risk to both the guests and Disney staff. It may seem like an overreaction but better to overreact than have someone impaled by a stick in the middle of a ride.

5 Essential Travel Apps

Traveling is meant to be fun. Unfortunately, stress takes the fun out of traveling. Here are five apps that help you make the most out of your travel.

1.    Tripit is your personal travel assistant. Once you book your airline ticket, hotel, car rental or even restaurant reservations online forward the confirmation email to plans@tripit.com. In a matter of seconds, Tripit creates your travel itinerary including maps, so all of your travel information is easily accessible in one place. The Pro version alerts you to possible ticket refunds for price drops, travel delays, and many other features. Available for Android and iOS smartphones. For more information visit: www.tripit.com. Standard version: Free. Pro version: 49.95 per year.

2.  Waze, a community-based free mapping and directions application helps you get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time. The mapping app avoids heavy traffic in real time with the help of other Waze users who report traffic, accidents, construction and police traps. Available for Android and iOS smartphones.

3.  Hopper assists travelers select the lowest airfare available from your home airport to any destination. Travelers with flexible dates can use Hopper’s color-coded calendar to spot the cheapest dates to fly. Not sure if you are ready to purchase your ticket? The Hopper includes a “Watch a Flight,” feature that sends a push notification when the price of a given route has reached its lowest price point.  Available for iOS. An Android version of the app is coming soon.

4. PackPoint produces the perfect packing list for any trip based on the number of days, activities and other factors.  The app creates an individualized packing list based on your answers to questions regarding your trip such as do you plan to hike or run? Is this trip for business?  PackPoint even looks up the weather so that users won’t forget a jacket or an umbrella.  For more information visit: www.packpnt.com. Standard version: Free. Pro version: $1.99.

5.  Postagram: You have taken that perfect selfie in front of the Seattle Space Needle. You want to send it as a physical postcard to your friends and family who still check their mailboxes for something other than junk mail. Upload your favorite vacation photo to Postagram, type in a greeting, and Postagram will print out the card and send it through snail mail for 99 cents in the U.S. and $1.99 worldwide.

Travel Tip: The Hotel Remote Control

Most travelers never give the remote control in their hotel room a second thought. We turn on the TV without giving it a second thought. After all, how harmful can a remote control be to our health? Studies have shown that the remote control is one of the top three dirtiest things in our hotel rooms that can lead to illness. Here are five ways to combat the germs.

1. Bring an extra ziplock bag. Place the remote control in the zip lock bag. The remote will still work, and the plastic bag will protect you from whatever germs are on the remote control. Most hotels have a recycling bin. At the end of your stay, recycle it in the bin.

2. Bring Clorox disinfectant wipes. The disinfectant wipes will work on your remote control and any other surfaces you want to keep clean. Be sure to clean the light switches by the bed.

3. Use the STAYConnect Mobile App by Lodgenet. Most major chain hotels use the Lodgenet entertainment system for their TVs. Download the STAYConnect Mobile app, find the code on the TV’s main menu. Your smartphone is now your hotel remote control.

4. Bring your device. You already travel with a smartphone and a tablet. Add a Chromecast, Amazon FireTV stick or Roku device so you can watch Netflix, Hulu and others. They are compact and easy to set up.

5. You are on vacation. Don’t watch TV, decompress, read a book, get out and explore.