How to Avoid Robocall Scams

At least one of every five phone calls now made is a robocall, and many are the work of scammers. You may hate these automated annoyances, but scammers love them: They’re cheap, far-reaching and hard to trace. No surprise that the Federal Trade Commission receives some 200,000 complaints about these calls each month. Here’s what you need to know: 1. If they’re selling, assume they’re scamming. Fraudsters may tout “free” in their recorded messages, but ask yourself this: Since when …

I’m Celebrating With a Vacation This Summer, and It Turns Out I’m Not Alone

I have to admit I am one of those people who never uses all my vacation time each year. I feel like work will pile up when I’m gone, and I’ll be more frazzled on my return than before I left. I’m not alone in leaving my vacation time on the table, either. The average worker in the U.S. gets 13 days of paid vacation a year, but only 57 percent of Americans use it all. But this past June, I …

How to Enjoy a Vacation With Your Adult Children

Family vacations run the gamut from a mountain cabin shared with mice and other creatures to a retirement celebration in Hawaii. As we jump on planes, trains and automobiles for multigenerational summer sojourns, what can we do to guarantee five-star success? I consulted three experienced family vacationers who’ve traveled near and far with adult children and grandchildren in the toddler-to-teen range. All agree that planning is essential. Who pays for what – transportation, meals, rentals, activities – must be discussed …

Top Summer Travel Scams

As you look forward to a summer getaway, watch out for these common scams: Tricky tickets: Received a letter promising free or steeply discounted airline or cruise tickets? Read the small print – and between the lines – for words such as “eligible” and “guaranteed to win.” These mailers are often sent by vacation clubs as a lure to attend a high-pressure sales presentation where you’re promised huge travel discounts. The hook: You join by paying upfront fees that could approach five figures …

Traveling With Frail Parents: A Tour Company Makes It Easy

When my parents were frail and I was a family caregiver, I had no idea that there was a way I could have taken a trip with them. Beyond a trip to the doctor, that is! If we had gone on a vacation together,  I would have wanted time to myself or with my husband doing activities that were too arduous for them. I know, though, that I would have felt selfish and/or too exhausted to enjoy the trip. I recently …

Rocking and Rolling on the Coastal Starlight

Here we are rocking and rolling down the coast out of Seattle, not with a band, but aboard an Amtrak train that bumps, jumps, sways, jerks and hurtles all at the same time, knocking me around like a dog in a shipping crate thinking that at any moment I might go airborne. I love it. It is our transportation of choice for a week in the Northwest, and now we are on our way back to the homogeny that is …