Judy’s Travel Tips

Airports:
Avoid wearing metal, jewelry, large belt buckles, etc., as you will have to remove them for scanning. All liquids must be in 3 oz or smaller containers contained in a clear baggie for inspection. Wear socks (avoid yucky foot germs as you will have to take off your shoes). Wear slip-on shoes rather than those with laces if possible as often chairs are not available to sit on after screening Check in on line 24 hours prior to your trip to print boarding passes and pre-pay for luggage. This will save you time and hassles in the airport.

Money:
Take credit cards, but be careful with debit cards as they may not be accepted for all purchases. Notify your Bank before you leave, as they may put a hold on your account if they start seeing overseas charges.  You can use credit cards (with a pin number) to access ATM’s worldwide, there will be a foreign exchange fee each time. Take a few travelers checks as back-up, but it can be hard to cash them in some countries.  Two signature checks are great for couples as either one can sign and redeem. Buy enough currency (Euros, etc.) ahead of time for daily expenses to avoid currency exchange rates while on your trip.    Don’t take too much, however, as it is costly to exchange back.  Take plenty of small bills (US or other currency) for tips.

Luggage:
Make sure you do not exceed the airline luggage weight and size rules (normally 50# max/bag). Costs for excess weight and for additional luggage can be really high.   Remember the weight limits will apply on your return, so be careful adding trip purchases in your checked bags – we were charged $60 on our return from China for overweight bags! Be aware of specific  airline charges for checked and carry-on bags (Most international flights allow one checked bag per person at no cost, but they do charge for additional bags) If carrying prescription medications, be sure to bring a copy of the prescription or bring them in their original prescription container. If buying new luggage, try to choose pieces with 4 wheels, as they easier to maneuver.  Purchase “travel” locks that have security access built in.

Personal/Emergency items:

Pack valuables, medications, etc  in carry-on bags and take what you absolutely need the next day in case of delayed luggage Take a washcloth  (I buy a pack from the Dollar Store, then discard them on the way)  Especially in Europe you may not be given a washcloth

Cruises
Book Early to save (forget the last-minute deals unless you can leave within 2 weeks).
Buy the best cabin you can afford – don’t let people tell you “you only sleep there ”  The cabin experience is part of the vacation. Consider additional costs for air, transfers, air, excursions, drinks  — you might be able to afford a more upscale cruise line that includes all these items in the price.

 

Travel Tips from Bill

 

We have had many wonderful experiences over the years traveling the world and have been fortunate not to have a trip ruined by a catastrophe. Accidents, illness, natural disasters or loss of travel documents and credit cards can certainly turn the vacation of a lifetime into a nightmare.

Judy and I took a trip to Costa Rica several years ago and stayed at a four star resort. A honeymoon couple we met, had the awful luck, of losing all their money, credit cards, airline tickets and passport from their room safe. The hotel was not very sympatric accusing them of not locking the safe. This couple was angry, confused as where to turn, or what to do. The same thing happened again on a trip to Ireland when my father lost all his travel documents and airline tickets. In this case the dark plastic pouch he used to carry his “important” papers in, fell behind his bed, not to be found until later and too late to do him much good.

These two events could happen to anyone anywhere. So be prepared. Here are my top ten tips to arm your self against challenges you may face traveling.

1. Make a copy all your travel documents: Passport, driver’s license, visa and airline tickets

2. Take two credit cards, make a copy and write down the customer service phone numbers in case of an emergency or loss

3. Place the copies in a separate, safe, secret place…..but not in your room safe!

4. Have cash on you. Make sure you have enough small bills. I take $2 bills especially for tipping. In Jamaica at an all inclusive, you should of seen the service I got at the swim up bar, because the bartenders thought the bills lucky.

5. I wear glasses and if I lost them I would be in big trouble, I AWAYS take a spare.

6. Some people only use ATM’s these days, but I suggest you also have some traveler’s checks in reserve…just in case…diversify your resources.

7. I take a daily dose of this and that. Prescriptions are something I fear I’m going to leave at home or get lost with my baggage. CARRY them with you and have a doctor’s prescription with you!

8. Leave your wallet at home. Thin is in and easier to hide. Pickpockets are very clever. I have been picked on a public bus in Mexico City and had two fingers in my front pants pocket on a public bus in Lisbon. I wear a money belt under my underwear. Money pouches that hang around your neck invite strangulation. Fanny packs can be ‘razored’ in a second. I have learned to hide money, split it up and keep it out of my hip pockets!

9. Bring comfortable walking shoes that are REALLY broken in on any travel destination. We were in Italy with a man who brought two pairs of shoes, flip flops and a BRAND NEW pair of boat shoes which he wore all day touring Pisa. The next two weeks he wore flip flops because his heel blisters would not HEAL!

10. Leave the Rolex at home or on the ship. You may want to showcase expensive jewelry on a cruise but don’t take into port…you are asking for it. I wear an inexpensive watch and my wedding band, period.

Tips for the Air flight
Air travel to me is not relaxing, enjoyable or comfortable. Who likes air travel anymore?

This is a list of what I take with me on the plane.
Rolling back pack carry on
Laptop computer or Ipad
Bottle of water
Ipod
Bose over the ears noise reducing head phones (keeps a lot of the plane engine noise out)
Head phone jack/adapter (head phones can then pick up audio for flight movie)
Paperback book
Crosswords
Two ink pens
Deck of playing cards
Trail mix or other snacks
Blindfold

Judy and I have taken several long flights together. The most recent was a flight from Cairns, Australia to Sydney to Los Angeles to Cincinnati to Myrtle Beach. …stopping only to change planes. I can honestly say if all I had was the items above to get me through that marathon I might have lost my mind. Two martinis and a prescription for sleeping from my doctor did the trick.