Sunday, January 31, 2016

Help! I'm Sick While Traveling

What happens if you get sick or injured while traveling? What happens if you don't speak or read the language?

If you do have an illness that could flair up, it would be a good idea to check where the hospitals are in the city where you will be. Traveling outside of the US? Look at the US Embassy of the country where you'll be visiting. Their website will usually have a list of physicians and hospitals.

Traveling domestically? Contact your insurance company for a list of in-network hospitals and physicians at your destination.

Make sure you have this information with you:

Your physician's office number
Your insurance contact number
The US Embassy contact number and website
Contact information for someone at home
Any prescriptions for medicines you regularly take
Ample supply of regular medications

If you're staying in a remote area, pack a first-aid kit.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Do You Know Where You're Staying?

Have you ever been asked the address of where you will be staying? Maybe a customs agent asked or you needed to list it on some official form before you get through customs.

If you are staying in one hotel or one vacation rental, keep that address somewhere you can access it easily. If you're moving around from hotel to hotel or from city to city, at least keep the address of the first place where you will be handy.

Might as well start your trip off with no stress.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Got a Pen?

Do you put at least two pens in your purse, backpack, or carry on bag?

When traveling somewhere other than the US, you'll need to fill out forms. Sometimes on the plane...sometimes standing in line...sometimes just one in your traveling family...sometimes everyone in your traveling family.

If you've remembered to put a couple of pens in your purse or carry on, good for you. If you've remembered the pens, but put them away or at the bottom of a bag...good luck finding them.

It makes life and traveling easier if you have them within reach.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pack Your Carry-On Bag

What do you have in your carry-on bag?

Here are a few essentials when traveling by plane, where the air is dry, you don't know what snacks you'll have, and you have no idea if that crying baby is going to sit right behind you.

A healthy snack, like almonds, always come in handy and don't take up much room.

Hydrating moisturizer for your skin keeps hands from feeling dried out and itchy.

Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones...because you just never know.

Saline nasal drops or spray...especially if you want to keep from drying out your nose.

Bottled water. You can always bring an empty bottle through security and fill it at a fountain before you board.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Fender Bender in France or ...

Renting a car can be stressful when you are uncertain about driving conditions, street signs, or driving on the opposite side of the road. Throw in a minor fender-bender, or worse, and the stress level increases.

Rental-car companies will try to sell you extra insurance via a collision damage waiver (CDW), which will be listed as an additional fee on the forms you sign. Do you really need this and can you decline it? Should you decline it?

Before you rent a car, check with your credit card company to see what kind of rental insurance policy is available for cardholders. Most likely, only damage to your own rental will be covered, meaning damages to other cars or injuries to drivers will not be. Some, more elite cards carry better coverage, but not always.

Then check with your personal auto insurance to see what it includes. If neither of these are enough to make you feel comfortable, you will want to purchase a CDW through your rental agency. These fees can range between $20 and $40 per day, usually.

Always get a copy of the police report. And, if you need assistance abroad in the case of a serious accident, the US Embassy can help.

For parking tickets, pay those as soon as you can via your credit card. Some unpaid tickets can show up on your credit card much later...with interest.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Oh No...You've Arrived, but Your Bag Hasn't

Ever been in the situation where the airline lost your luggage? If so, what can you do?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every 1,000 passengers, three pieces of luggage are reported delayed, damaged, or completely lost. That seems like a lot, to me.

But, if your airline sends your bag to parts unknown, head to the lost-baggage department. Usually, there is a counter or an office close to the luggage carousels. There, you will be able to file a claim. They will ask for a drop-off address of where you are staying so they can deliver your luggage. If you’re traveling around, you’ll have to let them know that and work out something.

What do you do if you're in a foreign country with nothing but the clothes on your back? It's worth asking the airline if they have any idea when or where you bag is. Chances are...they don't. That means you’ll have to purchase things in order to get by.

Next time, pack necessities like a toothbrush, a few essential travel-sized toiletries, and a change of underwear in your carry-on. You can also pack a couple of clothing items in your travel companion's bag, just in case. If your main bag is least you can get by for a few days.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

But...You Know You Made a Reservation

What do you do if you arrive at your hotel and the front desk tells you they have no reservation for you? 

Before you go...print all confirmation documents and file them away the very minute you book your hotel online. Then, when you're getting ready to leave, grab that file. Keep a copy with you and show it when you check in. It's always a good idea to have two copies. One in your carry-on bag and a second one given to your travel companion. 

If you've booked your accommodations over the phone, ask for email confirmation as well as the name of the customer-service agent with whom you've spoken. Then, keep that info with you as well. 

If you want to be even more organized, forward all necessary documents to an itinerary app. 

It’s also not a bad idea before you take off on your vacation to confirm all hotel and restaurant reservations at least one week in advance.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Coffee Plantation

Coffee Plantation in Puerto Rico. More posts about the coffee, the process, and the growers to follow.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Real ID Act

I've posted about the Real ID Act previously. This is what came out of Independent Traveler. More sites have additional information.
In some states, your driver's license soon might not be good enough to board a flight, even if you're traveling within the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security said it will be making a decision this week.
Before you start worrying, there are a boatload of caveats: The government's decision will apply only to people in a handful of states. It wouldn't take effect until at earliest the end of April. And DHS could still decide to postpone its decision, according to a DHS spokeswoman.
Why your driver's license soon might not be good enough to board a flight
Ten years ago, the U.S. government passed the Real ID Act, issuing stricter standards for state-issued IDs, including drivers licenses. The idea was to toughen standards on what documents were needed to get a driver's license, an effort to crack down on the potential for terrorists and criminals to obtain state-issued IDs. The act makes it harder to obtain a drivers license with counterfeit records.
Fewer than half (22) of the states have complied with the law.
Though the law states that noncompliant IDs cannot be used to board domestic flights, DHS and the TSA have not been enforcing that standard. But DHS has said it would make an announcement about enforcing the law on air travelers -- and what that means for fliers -- before the end of 2015. And here we are, in the last week of 2015.
Once the rules are enforced, affected travelers will likely need a passport or another valid government ID to fly.
The good news is that the majority of fliers in noncompliant states aren't at risk anytime soon: 19 states have been granted waiver extensions through October 10, 2016, and four states are currently under review for an extension.
Five states are noncompliant
That leaves just five states that have been deemed noncompliant, have not been granted an extension and do not have extensions under review.
1.       Illinois;
2.       Minnesota;
3.       Missouri;
4.       New Mexico;
5.       Washington
But even if you live in those states, don't fret just yet: DHS hasn't issued its schedule for enforcement. If and when it does, there still will be 120 days notice before the TSA no longer accepts their IDs.
And the situation is fluid: Those states could still appeal DHS' decision not to grant a waiver extension, the DHS spokeswoman said.
Four states' waiver extensions are pending review
These states applied for waiver extensions, and DHS is still reviewing their requests. All of these states were previously granted waivers that are set to expire on January 10, 2016.
1.       Alaska;
2.       California;
3.       New Jersey;
4.       South Carolina
19 states have been granted waiver extensions
Except for New Hampshire, all of these states' waiver extensions are set to expire on October 10, 2016. New Hampshire's extension lasts through June 1, 2016.
1.       Arizona;
2.       Arkansas;
3.       Idaho;
4.       Kentucky;
5.       Louisiana;
6.       Maine;
7.       Massachusetts;
8.       Michigan;
9.       Montana;
10.   New Hampshire;
11.   New York;
12.   North Carolina;
13.   North Dakota;
14.   Oklahoma;
15.   Oregon;
16.   Pennsylvania;
17.   Rhode Island;
18.   Texas;
19.   Virginia
22 states comply with the law
These states, along with Washington, D.C., already have issued drivers' licenses that comply with the Real ID Act.
1.       Alabama;
2.       Colorado;
3.       Connecticut;
4.       Delaware;
5.       Florida;
6.       Georgia;
7.       Hawaii;
8.       Indiana;
9.       Iowa;
10.   Kansas;
11.   Maryland;
12.   Mississippi;
13.   Nebraska;
14.   Nevada;
15.   Ohio;
16.   South Dakota;
17.   Tennessee;
18.   Utah;
19.   Vermont;
20.   West Virginia;
21.   Wisconsin;
22.   Wyoming

Stay tuned...this is just one website's information.