Airport Tension and five things to do before you leave

Arriving at your destination is wonderful. When you’re traveling and visiting a new place, getting your boots on the ground is a moment filled with excitement and relief. Getting there, however, can be hell. Traveling, and especially traveling abroad, is often fraught with worry, tension and inconvenience. From rushing to the airport to standing in the security lines to the physical discomfort of flying, it can be a drag. But the Internet offered up plenty of help this week. It begins with leaving your house and heading to the airport, which is often a moment when people wonder about whether or not they left the iron plugged in.

To help ease your concern, Jaunted provides a checklist of five things to do before you leave for the airport. And Huffington Post’s Suzy Strutner talks to Martha Stewart to get her secrets for packing for a trip.

Once you arrive at the airport, you’re standing in line – you can’t move, but you have anxiety about getting to your gate in time. You know what would help? Soothing lighting and comfortable couches. And a couple of airports are delivering. The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney reports on the transformation of security lines into a place where you feel like you might want to hang out for a while.

If you’re worried about the physical effects of the TSA’s full body scanners, or perhaps just modest, USA Today’s Chris Elliot tells you how to opt out of the full body scan. Of course, the tension often continues when you get onto the plane and a free-for-all breaks out over the overhead bins. The New York Times’ Martha White reports that one way to circumvent the battle for bins is to pay a little more – the airlines will gladly give preferential treatment to people who pay more.

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Hope at last for Malaria sufferers

In the developing world, malaria is a huge problem – 660,000 people die each from malaria and travelers know the need to get malaria shots before some trips. But here’s some good news on the battle against malaria – a new vaccine currently in clinical trials seems very promising; Medical News Today reports the World Health Organization is excited about the vaccine can protect young children for up to 18 months after being vaccinated.

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Suffocating Smog Alert from China

Travelers to China need to be aware of a major smog alert in the northern part of the country. Reuters reports that Chinese officials have pretty much shut down one of their major cities, Harbin in Heilongjiang province, due to ridiculously heavy smog.

The index that measures particulate matter in the air clocked in at 1,000 today. A level above 300 is considered hazardous; the World health Organization recommends a daily level no higher than 20. So, yeah, this is thick smog.

Schools are closed, the airport is closed and traffic is a mess in Harbin, a city of 11 million people. Visitors to the region should take precautions. A stagnant weather pattern has allowed the nasty mix of pollutants to collect over the city.  Officials say the dangerous conditions will likely last another 24 hours.

China is notorious for its smog – the high profile destinations of Beijing and Shanghai are both considerably better off than Harbin, but are still more than five times above the WHO’s healthy standard.

If you ever find yourself in a smog alert when you’re traveling, here are some quick tips to follow:

  • Exercise indoors.
  • Pay attention to your body. If you feel lethargic, get indoors.
  • Pay attention to the clean air index.
  • Consider a breathing mask, such as the ones worn in the image above.
  • If you have asthma or another breathing condition, talk to your physician – ideally before traveling.

If you’re headed to northern China, keep your ears open for news updates.

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