Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tips For Smooth Trips

Pack with purpose

• Bring Your Own Everything. 1. A small (inflatable) pillow 2. Ziploc bags (useful in so many ways) 3. Entertainment (include one non-electronic thing for when you have to power down) 4. Snacks, and a reusable water bottle.

• Pack light. Try to take only one suitcase, preferably a roller carry-on.  This will be very convenient in any way.

• If flying, check out the current rules and restrictions at  You are only allowed one carry-on that must fit in the overhead compartment and one that must fit underneath the seat in front of you; this means you are only allowed to have two carry-ons.  Some airlines charge you extra to check a bag.

Plan like a pro

• Get a passport now, everyone must have one.  Get one now even if you don’t have immediate travel plans because getting one can take as long as 90 days.  Photo copy your passport and travel plans such as confirmation numbers, etc.  Always bring the copies with you and even email a copy to your family and yourself.  There are instances that the rental agencies or hotels will ask for your passport.  It will be safer if you will just give them a copy Instead. Treat your passport like gold.

• Try not to overbook. Allow for travel delays. If you have a strict schedule, like a cruise or tour, consider arriving a day early.

• Read traveler reviews, but read between the lines when searching for hotels or excursions and remember to look for reviews that are recent, specific and have photos.

Make air travel easy

Arrive early, security waits can be very long and some airports are huge.  Think about an hour or so earlier.

Take off jackets and shoes and empty your pockets before hand and make security smooth sailing.  Liquids bag or laptop should be taken out of your luggage and must be put it in a separate bin. Be ready to answer even the strangest questions from TSA agents politely, especially if you are overseas.

Make sure you double check that you have picked up all of your belongings from the conveyor.  Apply for TSA Pre-check so that you can get through security faster, this goes for a frequent traveler

Stay safe, comfy

To improve your immune system, four weeks or so, start taking probiotics before you leave.  Bring a small bag with stomach soothers, motion sickness pills, ibuprofen, decongestants and basic first-aid necessities.  Drink plenty of water.  It will help if you will keep moving, perhaps take periodic stops during road trips and get up and stretch your legs during flights.

Take its business card with you whenever you leave your hotel.  Because if you find yourself lost, this can become a lifesaver.

Tourists that are distracted and excited are often the target of pickpockets.  Here’s how to avoid them, ladies, make sure your purse is closed and consider an over-the-shoulder style.  Guys, keep your wallet in your front pocket.

If you have food allergies, write down (in the local language) what you can’t eat.  Contact the airlines ahead of time so that they will not serve food that contains ingredients that will trigger your allergies.

Be a good guest

Thank your hostess, bringing her a small gift that is special to your home town is a great way to show your appreciation.

“Please” and “thank you”, at least learn the two in their native language and make sure you understand the tipping policy.

Find simple mementos

Take a reliable camera with you.  Take a picture of everything you love and don’t forget little things like your hotel room, the front of the hotel, your tour guide, and the best gelato you have ever tasted.  Don’t forget the chargers and extra memory cards.  Tourist maps, pretty reusable shopping bags, quality postcards and flattened pennies are small, easy to take home, and almost free!

Save some money

• Be certain you budget everything; little things like checked baggage fees, taxis and tipping add up fast.

• Know the cancellation and price-matching policy of all hotels and tours you book.

• Local delis and grocery stores often offer fun foods without restaurant prices or when you do eat out, it’s usually cheaper to make lunch your biggest meal.

• Prior to leaving, check for online deals like Citypass or Groupon.  Throughout the summer months, many museums offer free admission days, so check if that works with your schedule.  When flying, always check the price of one-way fare versus round-trip prices, check airline web sites on Mondays, and reserve your seats as soon as possible.