The Memorial Day holiday weekend ushers in the beginning of warm weather outings, as most students have finished their school year.  There is always much anticipation in the air about planned trips, summer jobs, or whatever new things are to be enjoyed.  We want to remind you that the highways will be heavily travelled, so leave a little early in order to not be rushed.  Be careful if you are traveling alone about where you take rest stops.  It is wiser to stop at convenience stores, or where there are many people, than some of the public roadside rest stops.  Also, be aware that your friendly state troopers will be out in full force, with the sole purpose of keeping you safe!  Don’t let any distractions get in the way of safety, stay off the cell phone (hands free, only), NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING, and don’t drink and drive!

One pesky little detail I’d like to mention is that, according to the travel organization, AAA, there should be almost 35 million Americans traveling either by train, plane, or cruises.  For those that are doing so, or staying in hotels, the National Pest Management Association advises people to keep bed bug prevention and detection tips in mind. “The good news is that summer is finally here; the bad news is that bed bugs continue to lurk in places people typically visit during a vacation,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Although bed bugs are a year-round pest, people have a greater chance of picking up this hitchhiker during the summer as travel increases. Bed bugs are a souvenir no one wants to bring home.”

Here are several NPMA tips to help travelers remain bed bug-free. More information can be found at AllThingsBedBugs.org.

  • Pull back hotel bed sheets, inspect the mattress seams, box spring, around and behind the headboard, sofas and chairs for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins or bugs.
  • Avoid putting luggage on the bed or upholstered furniture.
  • If changing rooms, be sure the new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
  • Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house.
  • Wash and dry clothes on hot – whether worn or not or have them dry cleaned.
  • Consumers suspecting an infestation should contact a licensed pest professional.

Many people are wondering if the high price of gasoline will affect travel, beginning this Memorial Day weekend.  The American Auto Club Association’s holiday travel projection that was released nationally, is that about 100,000 more Americans will be traveling this year than last.  According to the group, travelers will find other ways to compensate for the near record fuel costs by cutting down on other areas of their travel budgets.  Many may make the choices of less expensive vacations, such as hiking and other outings rather than more expensive meals and shopping.  And others may simply choose to stay home, maybe throw some ribs on the grill, and enjoy watching the big race, basketball playoffs, and baseball games.  That’s not such a bad idea.  Sometimes waiting to travel when it isn’t a holiday is safer.

It should be a long, hot summer, so stock up on sunscreen, and don’t forget those safety safety sunglasses, and earplugs for any loud events you plan to attend, say, the Indianapolis 500? Don’t overdo it in the sun.  A tan looks great until you get older, and then just adds to the wrinkles!

Most important of all, don’t forget the reason for this holiday.  Memorial Day is always celebrated in the United States on the last Monday of May.  This is a legal holiday that pays tribute to the memory of those who died while serving the United States in wars.  It was first observed in 1866.  We continue to honor those who gave their lives in the process of holding on to the freedoms that we enjoy.  We must also honor those who are now serving in far-away places, away from the celebration of family, and pray for their safe return.