Travel Tips - The Art of Travel
Keep the fun in your trip. Be informed, plan ahead and know those little tips that can make a big difference. That way, you can avoid surprises, delays and distress.Certainly, there are many more tips that we can fit in this small space, but we've tried to hit the highlights and some little details that we hope can be of value to you. Happy Traveling!
Before You Leave:
Weather or not! Check the long-range weather forecasts for your destination so you can plan and pack accordingly. Consider hurricane season in popular areas (like the Caribbean!) and other major weather events that could affect your trip.
Stay well! Consult your doctor for the necessary shots to protect you from a prevalent disease or health risk native to your destination area. According to the American Society of Travel Agents, travelers don't think about health risks from serious, even deadly diseases, such as malaria, hepatitis-A and hepatitis-B. Check the U.S. State Department's website for the most current information.
Watch your weight! Pack smart. Airlines have changed their policies regulating luggage weights for both carry-on and check-in luggage. So think versatility and layering when you're choosing your travel wardrobe. One or two styles could serve many occasions. Also remember: most hotels offer laundry facilities.
All that glitters... Leave your good jewelry at home. Today's costume jewelry is fun, fabulous and inexpensive - perfect for casual wear or dress-up! And it discourages sticky fingers.
Chart your way. Know the territory! Nothing takes the place of a good map when you're in unknown places.
Chapter One. Take a good book or a couple of magazines on the plane. Reading makes the trip seem shorter!
At The Airport
Do you know where your tickets are? Passport? A safe and handy passport/ticket holder is a good investment. You'll have those important items at your fingertips and away from unwelcome access.
Money Talk. Exchanging money: Exchange a small amount of your American money to the currency of your destination country. It's best to make the exchange at a U.S. airport. You may need it for a taxi or tip.
Food! Most airlines no longer serve food on flights, only beverages. Or they may offer a food pack for sale. Save your money for better things. Purchase easy-to-eat snacks ahead of time or bring them from home to enjoy on the flight.
Cozy up! Most airlines don't provide blankets or pillows on domestic flights anymore. Bring your own!
Flying jitters?If you have a fear of flying, you're not alone. Ask your doctor to prescribe or recommend medications you can take to help you mentally and physically. Your doctor may also give you tips that may help you relax.
Body clocks. Avoid jet lag. On an overseas flight, sleep with what it looks like outside. When it's dark, sleep! Also, eat light until your body adjusts to time changes. Drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol. When you get to your destination, if day is night or night is day, have a good book handy to keep you occupied. Or listen to good music on your iPod.
Making connections. When scheduling your flights, give yourself plenty of time between connections to get to connecting terminal(s), or for any further security or customs checks. For domestic travel, allow at least one hour. For international flights, allow at least two hours.
Size matters! Check size and weight requirements for baggage on cruise ships.
Pack small! Staterooms are very small. Take luggage that can fit under a bed.
Think mini. Take sample sizes of grooming products. Bathrooms are small, too!
Stay healthy! On a cruise, you're in close contact with many people. There's a reason why there's a doctor on board every cruise ship.
Making connections. When scheduling your flights, leave plenty of time from the time you land to the time you need to be at the cruise launch location.
Vegetarian? Or on a special diet? Don't deny yourself (or your family or spouse) the pleasures of a cruise just because you know there'll be lots of food - but not your food. Cruise lines are very accommodating about offering a variety of foods and are sensitive to guests' special needs and preferences.
Kid Happy. Cruises are great for kids! Almost always, there are special activities and places for them, and specially trained attendants in charge.
Excursions. Buy excursion tickets in advance, from home. Check out Expedia or Travelocity. Your tickets will be less expensive than if you buy them from the cruise line.
Beach-y Beaches! Be foot-ready on side trips to beaches. Some have pebbles, not soft sand. So have rubber-soled sandals.
Tips on tips. Sometimes, tips are pre-paid with your cruise ticket. And sometimes, they aren't! Check ahead with your cruise line to confirm one way or another or you could end up double tipping!
Charge! Be ready for PORT CHARGES. Port charges are imposed to compensate cities for their costs incurred by accommodating cruise ships. Docks, shipping lanes, roads, etc. Charges vary by port. Most leading cruise lines indicate port charges up front. But better check it out with your cruise line before you purchase a cruise.
Charge again! Be ready for LODGER'S TAX. Expect lodger's tax with land-based hotels. Most impose room taxes that really add up when you check out. These fees may even top port charges!
Traveling in Europe
Shoes made for walking. Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to walk in.
Cover up. Cathedrals in Europe require visitors to cover their shoulders (and sometimes heads) out of respect. So be prepared.
Check connections. Buy tickets for train connections on-line from your home before you go. Tickets are cheaper and you'll save time.
Same for museum tickets. Save money and time. Buy on-line from home.
To tip or not to tip. In some countries, tipping is considered disrespectful or ungrateful. Learn the tipping
customs for your destination.
Be calculating. Be ready to deal with currency exchange. Always carry a small calculator. And check before you leave on dollar-to-currency valuation.
Pen it! Always have a pen handy. Keep it with your travel documents.
Culture shock. Wherever you go that's foreign to you, learn about the culture and local customs. Be sensitive and respectful. If at all possible, learn key phrases of the language.
The U.S. State Department's website can be an extremely valuable resource for travel information and regulations. There are links to travel and living abroad, a list of countries and their requirements, and many other links with important information.
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