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Delayed? Time To Get Creative

At The Airport: As any seasoned traveller knows, the second-most maddening word at an airport, right after "cancelled," is "delayed." We’ve all been there: stuck for hours at the gate (or worse, on the tarmac) because of lousy weather four provinces away.

Jeff Michaels, a travelling musician, has been there plenty of times. Too many of those long waits got him thinking about creative ways to kill time, which eventually became Please Hug Me I’ve Been Delayed, his recently released guide to flying and, yes, dealing with airport delays.

Though first and foremost a humour book, it contains plenty of helpful tips, particularly about surviving delays.

"The goal is to use your time as if you’re happy to have it," Michaels said. "If you take that approach, it’s not necessarily a bad thing."

Here are a few tips from Michaels’ book, along with a few more we came up with while brainstorming with the business traveller in mind. The book is available at standard retailers and at pleasehugmeseries.com.

— Back up your laptop: A great and important tip now that external hard drives are small enough to slip into a briefcase. "This is one of those things that we put off in life that we know we should be doing," Michaels said.

— Get your shoes shined: "This might be one of those things you rarely do, but the poor guy needs work, and it’s a nice tradition that has sort of fallen by the wayside," Michaels said.

— Read a random Wikipedia entry: How thick are Saturn’s rings? How long do sharks live? What was Babe Ruth’s childhood like? It’s all there. Piggybacking on that, Michaels suggests buying a magazine that you don’t usually read.

— Stash a movie on your laptop or media player in case of emergency boredom — Resist all temptation to watch unless you’re stuck.

— Listen to music: Sounds simple, right? But really listen. Reading or washing dishes while listening to Miles Davis isn’t really listening to Miles Davis. Close your eyes and listen. A lot of music is worth the concentration.

2010 Storm Season Was A Doozy

Weather: It’s over — finally.

The Atlantic/Caribbean 2010 hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30) is officially over. It is safe to go down to the sea again for a relaxing cruise.

Modern cruise ships are virtually unsinkable in hurricanes (except one unlucky smaller sailing cruise ship) because of the titanic advances in construction techniques. More to the point, captains sail around storms (and icebergs) with satellites and radar.

You may bounce around your cabin a bit and most people find the lowest place they can hang out, either in bed or on the floor. If you are really worried about movement, book a cabin on the lower decks for less action.

This year’s worse than average season spawned 12 hurricanes. It also tied 1887 for third place with 19 named storms.

Skiing And Celeb Spotting In Utah

Deals — Discounts on condo rentals in and around Park City, Utah, are available during the holidays and afterward, including during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City Jan. 20 to 30, if you book by Jan. 19. Guests can stay 10 nights at any Aspen Ski Condo Rental property and pay for only eight nights. Many of the properties are on Park City’s free transit route, which takes filmgoers to and from Sundance Film Fest events. Details: www.parkcityskicondorentals.com.

If Vail is more to your liking, Hotels. cahas condo and hotel rentals for 20 per cent off if you stay two nights and 30 per cent off if you stay for three nights; you must book your stay by Feb. 1. The properties include the Apex at Vail Condominiums for as low as $104 per night per person and the Vail Racquet Club Townhomes and Condominiums for $208 per night. For details, visit www.hotels.com/deals/ca-ski-sale/v-xor call 800-224-6835.

Organizations: Aspen Ski Condo Rental, Vail Racquet Club Townhomes

Geographic location: Park City, Caribbean, Park City, Utah

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