Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Travelers: Walking


Have you ever been trapped behind a whole family walking together, slowly through an airport or on a city street?

It's nice they all want to walk together. But, taking up the whole sidewalk or walkway is not only annoying, it's rude. In fact, this was one of the complaints I recently read about in a survey of most annoying things travelers do!

Especially in an airport, everyone is in a hurry. Catching a flight...getting to baggage claim...going through customs. The last thing you want to do in an airport is get caught behind a group of people not paying any attention to other people.

Pay attention and try to get out of the way. Your fellow travelers will thank you.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Travelers: Airline Charges


Did you hear that Frontier Airlines will be charging $50 for a carry on bag? What are your thoughts on this? Will that affect your decision on picking an airline?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Travelers: Hotel Provided Items


I don't pack a hair dryer when traveling. It's not because I want my hair to look like I just crawled out of bed, either. I check with the hotel, B & B, or apartment website of the place where we will be staying. Most often hair dryers are provided.

It seems hotels are now providing a wide range of items for travelers. Kimpton provides zebra print ounge socks, toothpaste, and mouthwash at its properties. Hyatt is following suit.

Forgot your charger? Did you know that mobile phone chargers were the number one most left behind item in hotel rooms? Some travelers check the desk drawer first before calling the front desk to see if they have loaners.

Need a portable place for your child to sleep? Many hotels offer free kid's items from bathtub toys to small cribs.

Bottom line...check with your hotel or B & B before you go to the store to pick up what you forgot. Chances are, the front desk staff will have what you need.

And, check before you leave home to see what you don't need to pack. Might as well save some room in your luggage.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Travelers: Italian Sites



Want to spend less and see more the next time you are in Italy? You're in luck.

In Rome, centuries-old paintings, frescoes, sculptures, glass works, and more are available for you to see at no cost. From St. Peter's Basilica  to a variety of churches to the Pantheon, you can wander for days and still not see it all.

The Trevi Fountain is free to visit as well. Spend time watching people throw their three coins into the fountain.

Check out the Duomo in Milan or Florence to view more ancient art up close and personal. Remember to look up...ceilings are magnificent and so are the windows.

In Florence, visit the Basilica of Santa Croce for art from over 20 different artists and sculptors. Take time to look at the funerary monuments as well...from Dante to Galileo.

More fountains, art, and statues can be seen at piazzas throughout cities in Italy. Check out St. Marks in Venice and the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

These are just the tip of the iceberg to viewing amazing works of art...all for free.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Travelers: Security Lines



Did you know TSA offers travelers an app to check security wait times? Check out this site for more information...
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/my-tsa-mobile-application

You will find useful information for your next trip.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Travelers: Jet Lag Foods


Remember the jet lag issues?

You probably will be dehydrated once you land. That makes you tired and weak. Before your flight and once in the air, fill up on water, or 100% fruit juices, or herbal teas. Try to avoid salty foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Once you've arrived, opt for lighter meals, with a good balance of protein, complex carbs, and plant based foods.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Travelers: Lost Luggage


Recently I read a post on the Independent Traveler's website about lost luggage. Many of these tips I have reported on prior, but this is a great post including suggestions and resources you may not know about. Hopefully, you will never need to use any of these!

Happy traveling...

You're standing at a baggage carousel for what seems like forever when the steady flow of bags onto the conveyor belt slows to a trickle, then stops. Your bags are nowhere in sight. Or your bags do show up, but look like an angry gorilla has been throwing them around his cage for sport. Who's responsible?

Delayed Luggage
If your bags are delayed, try not to panic. The airlines typically have ways to track them, and the vast majority of all misplaced luggage is returned eventually. If your bags are on the next flight, you could have them within a few hours. If they've been sent to the wrong airport, it could take a couple of days. Make sure to file your claim immediately at the airport and to give the attendant a hotel or home address, as well as a phone number where you can be reached.

The airlines will typically bring you your luggage when it is found; you will rarely need to return to the airport to pick it up. Additionally, many airlines will reimburse any unexpected expenses caused by the loss or delay (keep your receipts!). But be careful here -- the airline sometimes has the option to deduct any reimbursement or stipend from any subsequent awards.

Before you leave the airport, be sure you know how to check on your bag's status; some airlines have an online system while others will provide you with a phone number to call for updates.

Lost Baggage
If the airline loses your bags, make sure you get a written claim for damages. This may require a different form than the original "missing luggage" form. This can be done at the airport or by mail.

According to the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement, the maximum an airline pays on lost bags and their contents is limited to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights, and a varying rate per passenger for checked baggage on international flights based onthe Warsaw Convention or the Montreal Convention. In the United States, if you paid a checked baggage fee for your lost bag, the airline must refund your fee. Check your carrier's website for specifics.

You may need to produce receipts to prove the value of items you had in your suitcase. If you have them, include copies in any documentation you send to the airline. (Keep in mind that you will be reimbursed for the depreciated value of your items -- so the airline won't give you the full $1,000 you paid for that suit you purchased two years ago.) You can purchase "excess valuation" protection if your checked baggage is worth more than these limits (but before doing so, make sure the items aren't already covered by your homeowner's or travel insurance policy). Some credit card companies and travel agencies also offer optional or automatic supplemental baggage coverage.

The airlines typically have a long list of items for which they will not be held responsible; these include jewelry, money, heirlooms and other valuables. These sorts of items should always be left at home or packed in your carry-on bag.

Stolen Bags
Head directly to the baggage carousel when you get off your flight to minimize the potential time for your bag to be stolen. Many airlines scan bags when they're loaded into the baggage claim area and keep records, especially at larger airports. If your bag goes missing after you've left the baggage claim area, your claim is no longer with the airline, but with the police. Your homeowner's insurance may cover a stolen suitcase; if it doesn't, consider purchasing travel insurance.

Damaged Baggage
Once you've gotten your bags off the carousel, immediately check them for damage or other signs of tampering or mishandling. Report any damage before leaving the airport; airline customer service will often want to inspect the bag. Keep in mind that most airlines won't cover minor wear and tear.

You will most likely need to produce a receipt for any repairs, or be required to use airline-sanctioned luggage repair vendors. Ask the baggage claim attendant for specific information. You don't want to find out that you have paid for a repair that isn't covered.

How to Prevent Lost Luggage
1. Put your name on the outside and inside of your bags. Even better, put a copy of your itinerary in each checked bag so the airline can locate you.

2. The most common causes of lost and delayed bags are late check-ins and tight connections. Avoid both when you can.

3. Pack all valuables in your carry-on bags. Cameras, computers, medication, wallets, heirlooms, jewelry, passports, as well as confirmation numbers, itineraries, contact information and other documents necessary to your travel should never be in your checked baggage.

4. Itemize. It sounds tedious, but when an airline asks what was in your bag, you don't want to forget anything of value. If you make a packing list before you travel, hang on to it -- this is an easy way to remember everything you put into your bags.

5. Make sure the person who checks your baggage attaches the correct destination ticket to every bag, and get a claim ticket for each.

6. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag so that you'll have something to wear if your checked bag is delayed. If you're traveling with a partner, consider spreading each person's clothes between your checked bags; this way if one of the bags is lost, you'll each still have some of your belongings.

7. Travel insurance is the best guarantee that you'll recoup any losses.

8. Consider using a baggage tagging service such as SuperSmartTag or ReboundTAG. These services offer luggage tags with unique serial numbers that can be linked to the suitcase owner via an online database. The site will contact you as soon as your lost item is found. (An annual fee applies.)

If All Else Fails
If your bag is lost, stolen or damaged, be sure to file a complaint immediately. If you still can't get satisfaction, or feel the need to report the airline, contact the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division.

Finally, if you're wondering where lost bags go after they die, here's your answer: UnclaimedBaggage.com!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Travelers: Airline Food


According to a reader poll in Travel and Leisure Magazine, the best airlines for food on domestic flights are: Number 1: Virgin America
Number 2: JetBlue
Number 3: Hawaiian Airlines

The best for international flights are:
Number 1: Singapore Airlines
Number 2: Emirates
Number 3: Cathay Pacific

Do you agree?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Travelers: Protect Your Luggage


If you are really concerned about going the extra mile to protect your luggage, there are some things you can do.

You could purchase baggage insurance. Be sure to check to see what is covered.

You could purchased Excess Valuation from your airline.

You could wrap your luggage at the airport. A TSA agent may cut through the wrap if they need to open your bag.

You could ship your luggage to your destination or back home. This could be a better option, especially if you have breakable items.

You could pack some duct tape. It comes in handy if you need to repair a broken zipper, a rip in your bag, or a torn handle. Did you know you can buy a travel size roll of duct tape so you don't have to bring the whole heavy roll? Or, wrap some around a straw if you don't need a whole bunch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Travelers: Airfares


You're searching and searching for the perfect airfare. Suddenly, you find it. You bookmark the site, check and double check all the plans, wonder if the price will go any lower, and return to the site a few hours later...only to find that fair has disappeared or the flight is now sold out.

Next time, nail down all your plans before you start shopping for airfare. Once you find the fare you like, you can book your flight and move on to other things.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Travelers: Packing and More Packing Tips


We've all seen those travelers with gigantic suitcases. I always wonder what on earth is in them and how long the traveler is staying.

Does your bag threaten to burst at the seams once you have everything in it you would ever need? Is it because you're packing for the worst possible thing that could happen? Try making a list before you stuff all that stuff into your bag. Going to the beach for a casual week? You probably won't need to pack three pair of jeans and two sweaters. Going to Paris in the spring? Check the weather to see if you really need a rain coat, an umbrella, and a waterproof jacket.

A packing list will also help you cut down on tossing in everything within sight into your bag. Make that list ahead of time. Then, add to it or delete it from it as the time gets closer. Again, check the weather.

Try to color coordinate your clothing. You'll find you have to pack less. If your clothes can do double duty...that's even better. Frequent travelers bring along tops that can be washed in the sink and hung up to dry quickly.

Gadgets...chargers...and gizmos. With a list, you'll be more apt to bring the right chargers and gadgets. You won't have to throw in everything just in case you'll need it.

Worse case scenario...you forget something. You'll probably find a way to buy it...or find you can do without it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Travelers: Dealing With Jet Lag


Ever wonder what 'jet lag' really is? According to Dr. Gary Zammit, Executive Director of New York City's Sleep Disorders Institute, it's the negative experiences people have when their internal body clock becomes "desynchronized" from the actual clock time around them.

Or...your body doesn't catch up. So, what can you do to help with this?

You could start living like the time zone where you will be flying to, at least three days before departure. That may seem a little drastic and hard to do. But, it works for some people.

Others like to get a bunch of sleep before they leave. Maybe you can't really store up your sleep, but you will leave well rested.

According to the experts, alcohol actually makes jet lag worse. It dehydrates you...and so does the air on the plane, due to altitude. If you drink enough to pass out...your body doesn't qualify that as restful sleep.

Some long time travelers say 'no' to a nap once you are at your destination. Still others say a short nap is okay.

What do you do?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Where?


Where Am I?

Bubbles Seafood and Wine Bar


Have some extra time in Schiphol Amsterdam Airport? Definitely check out one of the best airport bars in the world.

If oysters are your thing...they serve surprisingly fresh ones. You can also order full size meals that don't include oysters.

Delightful champagne, as well as other wines, are a superb way to spend a couple of hours. Be sure to face the showpiece of the place...an over sized saltwater aquarium filled with exotic fish.

Talk about relaxing before a flight...this is the way to do it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Traveling with Headphones


Traveling with all of your gadgets and the latest technology might be the way to go for you. If so, does that include headphones?

Noise cancelling headphones might become a necessity if you travel often or on long flights. Fact it, flights are fuller, noise is at a higher level, and you want a little peace and quiet from the guy snoring next to you or the baby with sore ears.

Try out several options before you buy. There are many brands with different options and prices on the market. Make sure they fit your head well, look for ones with memory foam for increased quiet and comfort, check for heaviness on your head, and try them for different noise levels.

I love mine...


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

RFID


Data theft...personal information stolen...accounts compromised,,,digital hacking...

Constantly we hear about travelers with their information being stolen or compromised. It's not just being online, either. Did you know information in your wallet or your passport holder can be stolen while it's still in your possession?

That's where RFID comes into play. Investing in cases with RFID blocking mechanisms is one of the most secure way to keep your data safe. From wallets, to passport holders, to purses, and bags...it's easy to find one that works for you.

Check out different companies to see which fits your travel style best. One of the most secure is RFID Armor by Viator Gear. The US and European militaries use these because of the special material.