Thursday, 28 March 2013

Travel Tips, Travel Apps

Newsletter - March  2013
Vol. 2,  Issue #3

        Travel & Cruise News and Items of interest
               A Newsletter from Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC
                       Business Opportunity:
                       A Pictorial View of the Comox Valley Blog:
              Travel Tips, traveling by Car, Bus or Train
  13 Essential Travel Apps
         Artist of the month, Sonia Hauser
         This month we will continue our blog about 
Travel and the Hard of Hearing  
Travel Tips

Tips for Traveling by Car

- If you’re the driver and you lip-read or sign/cue, teach your passengers to insert pauses in their conversation when your eyes are on the road.

- Extra-wide rear-view mirrors can be installed in cars, making it easier to communicate with back seat passengers.

- Ask passengers to use an FM system in order to deliver the conversation right to your ears. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road at all times.

  • Use a Bluetooth phone system to provide hands-free access to calls.

  • An interesting article and what to do if you are stopped by the Police
Visor Cards—
Bridging the Communications Gap When Stopped by the Police 

The following two are downloads
Visor Cards for the Deaf

Visor Cards for the HOH

Tips for Traveling by Bus or Train
- If there are no visible names for each stop, enlist the help of a nearby seat mate to let you know when a certain stop comes up.  When the writer of this article traveled by train for their job, they would count the number of stops until theirs. They are grateful for buses and trains that have visual displays of stops and information.
Tell a fellow traveler or an attendant that you have hearing loss so that you don’t miss any safety announcements.

General Travel Tips

- Travel can be fun but a little time spent preparing and researching your trip will make it more enjoyable. Travel does not have to be avoided because of a hearing loss.  So plan ahead, inform your fellow travelers, transportation hosts and hotel clerks that you have a hearing problem and enjoy yourself.

- Try to make all travel arrangements in advance. Once transportation arrangements have been made, request written confirmation to ensure that information is correct. Always inform the ticket representative that you are hearing- impaired.

- Remember to take your passport, Visa, money and tickets

- Make sure you get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you go.
  • Obtain local knowledge, carry out a bit of research into your destination including its laws, customs and language. Read a good guidebook and familiarize yourself with your destination(s).
- Visit you doctor at least 6 weeks before you depart and find out what needles you may need.
  • Take photocopies of all your documents, passports, visa cards etc, keep one copy with you and have it in a safe place and leave one copy with a family member. -
  • Set up an e-mail account: e-mail yourself and trusted friend or relative details of your insurance policy, passport, itinerary and emergency contact numbers (insurance company, credit card company) just in case. 
  • (Note- I am not sure I agree with this above statement, but I will leave that up to you if you trust the e-mail service)
- Carry printed copies of lodging reservations, dates and prices

- Take enough money, take a mixture of cash, travelers’ cheques and credit cards 
and do not keep them all in one place. Tell your bank if you are going to be away and where you plan to go, otherwise you might not be able to use your cards.  Ask what banks they are affiliated with in the county you are visiting. These banks should accept your cards where others might not. 
I had trouble using my one client card and had a second one that did work. 

- Keep in touch with friends and family

Arrive early at the airport, bus terminal, or train station. Tell the agent at the boarding gate that you are hearing-impaired and need to be notified in person when it’s time to board.

- Do not be afraid to ask for help from fellow travelers—most are more than willing to offer assistance.

- Keep an eye on your belonging’s at all times while in an airport, bus or train station.

- Be aware of drug and alcohol laws. 

- Pack for the climate, but do not overpack. 
            ( I usually pack and then I take out half of what I had packed and then if I am having trouble closing my bag I repeat the procedure. We have got it down to one knapsack each, but that means giving up our formal wear when cruising, if dressing up appeals to you then yes, pack a bit more and enjoy your cruise or resort.)

- Depending where you are going, a small first aid kit might be handy, band aids, antiseptic cream, scissors etc. Taylor it to fit your holiday (if you cannot pack your scissors into a checked bag then leave them at home as they will be taken away while going through security at the airport.) 

- Take some insect repellent, suncream, treatment for diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. 
  ( yes, you can probably buy these items when you get to your destination but you might be paying twice the price and then maybe not but why not have it on hand in case you need it.)

Hearing Aids
  • If you wear a hearing aid be sure to pack extra batteries and tubing.  These can be difficult to obtain in some travel spots
Strongly consider taking a dehumidifier for drying your hearing aids each night to prevent moisture problems, especially if your destination has a warm, humid climate.

 - To prevent loss, avoid storing your hearing aid equipment in checked luggage. Keep an extra set of batteries in a separate piece of luggage to prevent total loss of hearing aid use.

- It might be wise to purchase your own vibrating alarm clock and portable visual alert system in case you are in a group and the hotel or cruise line does not have enough to go around or in case you book a hotel that does not have any kits. . 

- As hearing loss is an invisible condition it is essential you inform flight attendants, train conductors, bus drivers and agents that you have a hearing loss.  Often times they are equipped with a hearing assistance system or loop technology.  At the very least, they will speak more clearly, lip-reading will be possible or you will be notified in person when it it time to board or exit.  I would suggest you ask the person sitting near you that is going the distance you are to let you know when you stop is approaching. Most people can be very helpful.

- Many major airlines and transportation companies have Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) services to assist passengers.

- Contact your local organization for the hearing impaired for the address of a possible counterpart agency at your destination. The latter will likely have a TTY and interpretation service, if needed.

- Put identification tags or labels on both the outside and inside of your luggage, with your contact information, the dates where you will be or instructions on where to send your bag.  If your outside ID tag is pulled off and/or your bag is lost then the staff will open your bag and your contact information is on the inside. 
Keep all travel documents, medications, batteries, hearing aids, glasses, and items of a 
personal nature with you while traveling.  

Below is a picture of locks that have been pulled off luggage going through the baggage conveyor.

 Picture of locks that have been pulled off luggage

 going through the baggage conveyor.

 Look for the international Symbol of Hearing Access
  • When in a “looped” facility, you can hear significantly clearer and over 70% of hearing aids are equipped with tele coils which allow users to hear clearly in noisy surroundings. Hearing loops can be found in airports, train ticket booths, taxis, concert halls, museums, churches, and auditoriums among other venues.
-If you’re planning an outing that involves a guided tour, presentation, workshop, concert, etc., call ahead to arrange for real-time captioning or interpreters. Know and understand the law regarding communication access in the area you’re traveling.

Looped Facility
Over 70% of hearing aids are equipped with tele coils which allow users to hear clearly in noisy surroundings. Looped facilities can be found in airports, train ticket booths, taxis, concert halls, museums, churches etc.

 Travel Tips websites
 A couple of websites I like to access when looking for travel tips is 


The following are from the web site, there are 13 in all,
 check out the rest by going to

 13 Essential Travel Apps

Join the ranks of savvy travellers and load up your smart phone with these must-have travel apps.
By Jackie Middleton for

1. SeatGuru

Unveiling over 700 seat maps from over 100 airlines, this ingenious app uncovers the inside scoop on seat legroom, width, missing windows and available power sockets. If a seat near an emergency exit gets drafty, or won’t recline, SeatGuru spills the beans. With the information this free app provides, you can book your flight’s seat assignment without fearing a nasty surprise. SeatGuru also let’s you track flights in real time, and search for airfare deals.
(Available for free for the iPhone and Android)

3. Trip Advisor

Guidebooks and industry websites only give you half the story. Thankfully, Trip Advisor came on the scene with its refreshing website overflowing with a million-plus travel reviews written by real people. Now savvy travellers can explore Trip Advisor’s wealth of invaluable information on the go with this convenient app. Check out reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions around the world from your phone anywhere, anytime.
(Available for free for the iPhone and Android))


Artist of the Month

 Sonia Hauser

I teach Piano Music out of my home. In so doing, I am forever working with the concepts of colour, clean lines, texture, and movement as they pertain to music. This translates to my work at the easel. I love to teach Jazz as well as many other styles of music. Just as my taste in music is very eclectic, so is my choice of subject matter when I paint. I have painted animals, Balinese subjects, portraits, musical instruments, as well as abstracts. In short, I paint whatever catches my eye.
Artist Statement
I derive a great deal of satisfaction and joy from painting, and look forward to devoting myself to this form of art when I retire from teaching music.
To view paintings visit my website at


I will be glad of any comments or corrections or if you wish to see something that is of interest to you please let me know. Thanks, Rhoda
If you liked this please pass it on 

Rosswin Travel,  
1 250-338-6334 / 1 866-517-2113
420 Harmston Ave, Courtenay, BC, V9N 2X2

follow me on face book  for travel tips, pictures and comments. 
"Like" my Rosswintravel fan page 
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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Travel and the Hard of Hearing

Newsletter - Feb. 2013
Vol. 2,  Issue #2

        Travel & Cruise News and Items of interest
               A Newsletter from Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC
                       Business Opportunity:
                       A Pictorial View of the Comox Valley Blog:
                  Travel and the Hard of Hearing                   


Travel is a very important aspect of our lives, whether for business, pleasure or education. There are 20 million people in the US with hearing impairments. All or most are faced with numerous obstacles while traveling. In Canada the “The Canadian Association of the Deaf uses the traditional “one in ten” formula for estimating statistics, with strong disclaimers. This formula concludes that there are 350,000 culturally Deaf Canadians and 3.15 million hard of hearing Canadians”.

At least half the problems people run into while traveling are a result of some sort of miscommunication and this applies to everyone not just those with a hearing impairment. 

Hearing impairment is an invisible disability, meaning the people around you are unaware that your are disabled. It is important, at every step of your travels, to let key personnel know about your hearing impairment so that proper arrangements can be made if anything should happen on the ship.  If the steward know's he will personally alert you to any danger that might arise. At least let others to whom you want to relate to know as well.
If it brothers you to admit that you are hard of hearing just think you will probably never see these people again, so why worry about them. 

Travel and the Hard of Hearing

Most people when they hear you are hard of hearing immediately think you are deaf but there is a big difference in being deaf and being hard of hearing or having a hearing impairment. 
Being deaf usually means that you cannot hear at all and need a hearing aid, and in some cases a deaf person is not helped by wearing a hearing aid.

A hard of hearing person is defined in most cases as someone that has some hearing.
Some can even hear without a hearing device but not well enough to understand everything that is said.

 A person that has a hearing Impairment has a decrease in hearing due in part through an injury or illness or age related. Some hearing losses can also be heredity. A hearing device usually helps  the hearing impaired.  

 Cruising for the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing (H of H)

More and more cruise ships are equipped with TTY kits that supply text telephones,Visual-tactile alert system, vibrating alarm clocks, flashing-light door buzzers and flashing-light or vibrating alarm clocks for the hard of hearing.
 (Strobe-light door knocker, Strobe-light telephone ringer, Amplifier for telephone, Alarm clock with under-mattress or under-pillow vibrator)
They should be requested at time of booking. You should also mention that you are deaf or/and hard of hearing and if the person traveling with you is deaf and/or hard of hearing as well. Some travel companies ask that you have a hearing person booked into the same room as you.
All the cruise lines I have mentioned below have the Visual-tactile alert system and some maybe have more to offer. These were the cruise lines I researched as they seem to be the most popular but there are a lot more cruise lines that offer this service. Always ask before booking as some ships in the fleet have more to offer than others.  

 Some ships also have assistive listening devices available on request for onboard shows and lectures and available in theartres. These items are in limited supply and must be confirmed at the time of booking. On some cruise lines, deaf passengers can also request the service of sign language interpreters for shows and lectures, with a minimum of 60 days advance notice. 
 In order to provide you with the best accessible cruise experience possible, please submit the guest Special Needs Form at time of booking but no later than 30 days prior to sailing except for sign language interpreting request which must be submitted 60 days prior to sailing.  This will allow us to make the necessary arrangements for you requested accommodations. 
- If you can lip read then include a comment that in the dining room the waiters face you to ask for your order as many will stand to the side. 
- You can also go to the Atrium and talk to the staff at the service desk if you have any problems that need rectifying . Several of the cruise lines have Access Departments if you need assistance. 

Lots of information on the following web site.

New to Cruising?
If you have never cruised before and would like to try it but do not want to be too far from home then why not try a one day cruise from Vancouver or Seattle. These are usually offered in May and Sept.  They are reasonably priced and will give you the feel of cruising. The only drawback is the fact that everyone wants to take advantage of all the activities on the ship and it tends to get a little crowded whereas on a longer voyage the activity tends to be spread out, but you can always find a quite spot.

A cruise is what you make it, you can sit in your cabin or on your balcony (if you have a balcony cabin) all day and read a book, enjoy the view and the sun or you can explore the ship and take in the activities that are of interest to you. 

Cruising with a Group  
Group Cruise Travel for the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing
A Cruise or Tour group is a group of usually 16 (16 lower berths booked ) or more people traveling to-gather, you do not need to know each other but you usually have the same interest or something in common. 

There are several travel companies that arrange group cruises for the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing and you will be hearing about more to come as it is becoming a very popular niche market. I believe Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing Travel group cruises are in the top 5 niche travel groups. 

Passages Deaf Travel
One travel company Passages Deaf Travel from Virginia, US, started out in 2005 with a group cruise of 350 deaf or hard of hearing passengers, then in 2007 they organized the first “Deaf Freedom” cruise with 3,860 deaf and hard of hearing passengers.  124 interpreters including interpreters for individual deaf/blind passengers.  Deaf-oriented entertainment was also provided, and entertainment by performers who are themselves deaf.
Their next “Deaf Freedom Cruise” in 2014 is to the Southern Caribbean and would you believe some of the room categories on some decks are already sold out. I believe they have booked the whole ship.
They have a Alaska Deaf Group cruise and land tour available this August, and you can take both the land portion and cruise or just the cruise.  
That is just an example of what is available.

The following website has pictures of the "Deaf Freedom" group cruise

A picture of the Passages Deaf Travel "Deaf Freedom Cruise, 2007"  there is only a third of the group in this picture. 
 Passages Deaf Travel   / /   Office: (757) 258-9181 TDD/Voice

The following is just a  few of the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing Travel Cruises and/or Tours available

Kerstin’s Deaf Travel
See the You Tube inserts

Deaf Group Travel Vacations 

Deaf Travels International

Deaf Globetrotters Travel

Tenon Tours  
Deaf Trip to Ireland, Scotland & England: June 2013

    There will be more in my next Newsletter on
    Travel and the Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing

I enjoy reading John Heald blogs and wanted to share this one with you.

July 16, 2010 - John Heald
Growing up, my Dad was never one to spend long evenings in front of the TV. It was the Seventies and he was a Dad. So he was always busy doing Seventies Dad stuff. Woodworking in the shed and painting things around the house and of course tending to his beloved garden.
He never missed one show though. It starred an Irish comedian called Dave Allen. I am not sure if he ever made it big across your side of the pond though but to my Dad and millions of other British dads…..he was the king of comedy. Religion was his thing….. or making fun of it. Drunken priests, nymphomaniac Nuns and comical bishops all played a big part in his show……a throw back to his strict Irish Catholic upbringing. Here he is.
He would often finish his show with a top Ten Commandments list, very pre-David Letterman and very, very funny. He would choose subjects like drinking, smoking and general life subjects to base his commandments on. Dave Allen passed away some years ago and as a tribute to him…….here are my ten commandments……….on cruising.
1. Thou shalt not kill………….. unless a passenger enters an elevator before you exit. Then you shalt be allowed to beat them over the head with a Fun Ship Special glass until they breathe no more.
2. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s cabin. Look, if there’s somebody on your deck staying in the penthouse and wearing loads of jewelry and bling they’re obviously involved in some sort of unspeakable internet-based “business.” Therefore thou shalt report them to United States Customs and Border Patrol.
3. Thou shalt not call Carnival “the Wal-Mart of the Seas.” Neither can you stereotype anyone for the cruise line they choose to spend their vacations on. Unless they are on the Norwegian Epic in which case they are obviously blind.
4. Thou shalt not bring a power strip on the ship. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then it is for a power strip to be smuggled past Carnival’s Chief of Security Ramesh Wouldyoulikemylatexgloveupyourbottom.
5. Thou shalt not slap a big ugly “X” on your smoke stack or paint graffiti on the bow. Not if you’re a grown-up. Oh and note to basketball stars……….thou shalt not put spinners on your Aston Martins.
6. Thou shalt not have rumpy pumpy on the balcony lest you fall overboard. Thou thinkist that no bugger can see you but thou givest a great show to Rocco and his mates on the bridge.
7. Thou shalt not attempt to justify building a 6,000-passenger ship just because thou is jealous that Micus Arisonus got Princess Cruises and thou did not.
8. Thou shalt say please and thank you when asking Bigus Johnus for a table for two, otherwise thou shalt be known on the blog as Rudos Bastardus.
9. Thou shalt not refer to the cabin steward as a cabin “stewart.” It is steward and not “stewart” and if thou uses the word “stewart” again thou shalt find a towel animal on thy bed in the shape of a thingy.
10. Thou will never ever ask the captain “If you are here, who is driving the ship?” Thou is not the first person to ask this question and the next one who does will enjoy a tour of the propellers.


Artist of the Month

 Summer Barn 12 x 16

 Ron Bridge


Self-taught, Ron has been painting in oils for over 45 years. Born in Vancouver, BC, he attended the University of British Columbia there and graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree. In 1975, Ron moved with his wife and his three young children to the Comox Valley where he has enjoyed the natural beauty of the area as a source of inspiration.
Lately, he has also been inspired to paint scenes from his travels abroad. His work has been exhibited at the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Molson Indy Charity, Crown Isle, the Royal Bank (Courtenay), Wilsden Gallery, Timms Gallery, Originals Only art shows and can currently be seen in venues around Courtenay, Campbell River and his Cloudburst Studio. His paintings are held in private collections and various businesses around the world. 
Web Site:

I will be glad of any comments or corrections or if you wish to see something that is of interest to you please let me know. Thanks, Rhoda
If you liked this please pass it on 

Rosswin Travel,  
1 250-338-6334 / 1 866-517-2113
420 Harmston Ave, Courtenay, BC, V9N 2X2

follow me on face book  for travel tips, pictures and comments. 
"Like" my Rosswintravel fan page 
If you do not wish to receive these posts let me know by e-mail and you will be deleted from my mailing list. Please put in the subject line “delete"