Make your airport experience an easy check-in, check-out process. Plan ahead, here’s how:
• Use colorful, distinctive luggage strap or tie a bright colored ribbon to the suitcase handle to make it easy to identify your suitcase.
• You don’t need to put your entire address on your luggage tags. You can just write down your phone number or cell number, first initial, last name, city and state (and country – USA – if traveling abroad) in which you live, or use your business address.
• Tape a business card or write down your name and phone number on the inside of your luggage, in case your luggage gets lost and the outside identification tag is missing.
When checking in, never place your purse, laptop or other valuables on the ground. Place them between your legs or on the counter.
• Have your valid identification and boarding pass ready to present upon check-in and entering airport security.
Follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule: 3-ounce containers; a 1-quart clear plastic zip-top bag; one bag per flier. If in doubt, put your liquids in your checked luggage.
• At security check in, be prepared to quickly take your laptop computer out of your bag to place in the plastic bin. Remove; belt with buckle, jacket, take keys, cell phone, wallet, watch and loose change from the pockets and place inside carry-on bag, back pack, purse or other container. Depending on the policy of the airport, you may be asked to remove your shoes, place everything in the plastic bin and go through the X-ray machine.
• Allow plenty of room between you and the person in front of you when placing items through the X-ray machine. This will avoid any confusion when travelers reach for their items.
Thinking of getting away? Here are some quick suggestions for packing:
• Don’t take along things that your hotel will provide, such as hairdryers, robes and beach towels. Check before you leave to see what items the hotel offers guests.
• Jewelry – don’t take what you don’t want to lose, and leave behind the flashy pieces that could attract thieves. Keep makeup to a minimum to save space, and leave the perfume behind when scented lotions will work just as well.
• Pack pants, shorts and skirts in basic colors such as black or khaki. Then mix and match with different tops to create new outfits.
• Pack a travel size stain eraser, lint roller and an anti wrinkle spray. Place fabric softener sheets between your clothes and then use them in the drawers at your destination, so your clothes will smell clean and fresh.
• Place knits, your favorite pillow and other wrinkle resistant garments in a bag with a one-way valve. Seal it and then roll the air out.
• If using a garment bag, place each piece in its own dry cleaner bag. The slippery plastic keeps the clothes from shifting and rubbing together, the primary cause of wrinkles.
• If you’re traveling by air, wear your bulkiest shoes on the airplane. Save space and stuff socks and undergarments in each shoe you pack.
• If you’re traveling by air, pack your toiletries in a zip-lock bag so they won’t explode onto your clothes as the air pressure changes.
• If you’re using a guidebook, copy the information you’ll need and leave the book at home.
• Bring along a small first-aid kit with only the basics and a travel-size sewing kit that can fit easily inside that extra pocket in your suitcase.
• Always carry travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler’s checks, keys, glasses and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Items such as these should never be packed in checked luggage.
Across all the airlines, millions of bags go missing annually. Most of the bags were returned to passengers within 48 hours, some never get returned at all. Are you one of those who have lost their luggage?
• Use a strap ID luggage tag with a cover hiding your name. Use your business address and phone number.
• Place ID information and a travel itinerary inside your luggage. In case your outside ID luggage tag is lost, the airlines can contact you.
• Remove all old airline tags or stickers to avoid confusion with the luggage handlers.
• Check your bags in early. Last minute checked luggage may not make it onto your plane.
• Upon check in, when your bags are ticketed, look at the destination information, be sure it’s correct.
• Use a colorful luggage strap or ribbon on your bag for easy identification at the luggage carrousel.
• Take a photo of your bag and keep a list of all items in each bag, in case you need to claim compensation.
• If you lose a bag, stay at the airport and file a lost luggage report immediately. Keep track of the claim number and contact information so you can check the status of your missing bag/s.
Family vacations can create long-lasting memories and fun learning experiences for parents and children alike. Here is a list of suggestions to help make the sometimes daunting task of preparing for a trip with the kids manageable and fun for the entire family.
Create anticipation for the family trip by starting a countdown calendar with perhaps a photo or illustration of the destination. Let kids pack their own bags. Decide what type of clothing (preferably loose and comfortable), but allow them to choose their favorites and to pack a special toy. In a carry-on bag, pack some hard candies and gum, hand wipes, tissues, books, paper, markers in a small, tightly sealed plastic bag and perhaps a surprise toy for each child.
Update immunizations for the entire family. If traveling abroad, check with public health authorities for advisable additional vaccines.
Allow plenty of time for check-in and also between connecting flights. Arriving early to board together prevents last minute delays and confusion, especially with the new security regulations. Be sure to have a safety plan in case anyone gets separated at the airport. Discuss where to meet and what to do.
Review screening procedures with children before entering security checkpoints so they will not be frightened by the process. Every person, including children and babies, must undergo screening at security checkpoints. Also, all child-related equipment must go through the X-ray machine. To speed the process along, remove children from their strollers/infant carriers and collapse/fold the equipment so it may be examined or put through the machine. When going through metal detectors, with an infant, have one parent hold the baby and walk through the machine. Do not hand off the baby under the detector, or hand the baby to the screener to hold. Children who can walk should go through the metal detector independently. For older children, it is important to stress that the process should be taken seriously and that threats made even as a joke could result in law enforcement being summoned.
Bring a child/infant seat on board that meets current safety standards and is not more than 16 inches wide. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that children weighing less than 40 pounds be placed in child/infant seats.
The best coach seats to have when flying with small children are the first row in economy class. There’s a lot of legroom, and you’ll be removed from most of the plane when the kids get cranky from the long flight. If the front row seats are not available, place children away from the aisle, preferably between responsible adults. Also, remember to get up, stretch and walk around with kids often during the flight, but do not allow children to walk around unsupervised.
Getting your seat assignment in advance can help ensure families are seated together and that children and adults will be seated next to each other. If a flight is full and obtaining seat assignments in advance is not a possibility, advise the airline personnel at the airport. The airline may need to ask other passengers to change seats so children are not seated apart from parents.
Bring bottled water to drink and lotion to apply to skin to rehydrate during the dry flight; gum, pacifiers and bottles to reduce air pressure on the children’s ears; and a variety of toys in carry-on bags to keep the child’s interest from waning. (You can purchase bottled water and beverages after you go through airport security.)
Make it comfortable by bringing pillows and blankets. Stop frequently at rest stops to stretch and make use of restrooms. Play games like “I Spy.” Make sure the car is stocked with paper, pencils, plenty of engaging toys and tapes or CDs of their favorite songs or books. Most importantly, keep children involved in the vacation process. Save everything collected on vacation - brochures, napkins, ticket stubs - and have children paste them into a scrapbook.
Plan ahead with the rental company to make sure they offer car seats and installation. If not, you’ll have to bring your own in addition to a collapsible stroller. If nothing else, a simple call to the rental car company may save you the hassle of bringing along one extra piece of equipment.
Have a daily schedule planned with some flexible, free time for each family member. Provide friends or relatives with phone numbers and addresses of hotels where the family will stay, transportation information and emergency contact information. If possible, each member of the family should have a cell phone or walkie-talkie to keep in touch at all times. Coming up with an emergency plan or meeting point is also a good idea in case family members become separated.
AT THE HOTEL
Put safety first by avoiding a myriad of possible accidents. Bring outlet protectors and make a sweep of balconies and bathrooms for any potential dangers. Hide away small objects, accessible medications and cleaners children could get their hands on. Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s fire and emergency evacuation routes and procedures.
SOME EXTRA PRECAUTIONS
If your vacation includes a trip to a pool, ocean, water park or any other place involving water, the number one rule is to never let children venture off alone. Even if they know how to swim, children should wear a life jacket at all times. Also, it is important to know what is in the water, such as chemicals or jellyfish. Very cold temperatures, currents, and sudden drop-offs are all things to avoid, especially with children.
Always bring a hat with a wide brim and sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to shield children’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sun poisoning can ruin any vacation.
It is important to bring along needed medications. Diarrhea treatments (although these should not be given to very young children), pain relievers, insect repellants, antihistamines and adhesive bandages are good staples. Consult your doctor about “over the counter” remedies before using them. Bringing a doctor’s number, even if traveling to a foreign country, is a good idea, as well.
To prevent diseases spread by drinking contaminated water, use only bottled or boiled water to mix formula and juices, or simply go with pre-mixed liquid formula whenever possible, if an infant is not being nursed.
Maintain a good sense of humor while traveling to give your children a vacation to remember in spite of any unforeseen obstacles. Remember that problems do arise and accidents do happen, but being prepared and keeping our travel tips in mind may help avoid hassles and undue stress.
They’re furry, they’re friendly – they’re absolutely lovable. Family pets are often a big part of the family, and sometimes it’s hard to leave those adorable rascals behind when you leave town. With these simple tips, your pet won’t have to miss out on one fun moment of the family’s big vacation!
GET A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH: Before you take your beloved pet anywhere, take him to the vet for an overall checkup, and ask for the number of an associate in the area where you will be staying. A few weeks before you depart, get your pet a physical, complete with vaccinations necessary for the area to which you are traveling. A direct, uncrowded flight is best (an evening flight if the weather is warm), but the vet can also give you tranquilizers to calm your pet for the long journey. If you’re unsure whether your pet is up for the trip – ask. Although a cross-country flight may be no problem for you, a pet may suffer greatly while left in a hot baggage area. Don’t wait to find out that Fido couldn’t handle the hike up the mountain – or even the plane journey there.
Most airline and state officials mandate a clean bill of health in the form of a health certificate dated within 10 days prior to travel before your pet can fly with you. And even if he is in tip-top shape, traveling abroad sometimes assumes an automatic quarantine upon arrival for your pet whether or not there is an outbreak of a disease (Hawaii does, so contact your travel agent for assistance in this matter).
For U.S. territories and foreign countries, contact the appropriate embassy, governmental agency or consulate at least one month in advance before making arrangements for your pet. Moreover, some states require certain pets to have entry permits issued by the destination state’s regulatory agency, and may request to view the interstate health certificate in advance of issuing the permit. Some even limit the time during which the entry permit is valid.
SEEING-EYE DOGS: If you are a disabled person traveling with a seeing-eye dog, notify your destination hosts and airline ahead of time.
PET FRIENDLY VACATION SPOTS
5. Disney World (tie)
Source: 2003 Survey of ASTA-member travel agents
PAPERS FOR YOUR POOCH: Always keep an ID collar with your name and phone number on your pet, and always travel with favorite toys, proof of vaccination and proper licenses. Bring color photos of your pet, as well, in the unfortunate event he gets lost.
PETS ON PLANES: Because airlines limit the number of pets that can be on board at once, have your travel agent notify the airline of your pet when your reservation is made. Also ask for the allowable dimensions of your pet carrier. Regulations state that dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and fully-weaned before flying. If your pet is pregnant or in heat, do not subject it to air travel. Written instructions for food and water must accompany any shipped pet regardless of the amount of time they are scheduled to spend in transit. Unless your vet signs a certificate otherwise, your pet may not be exposed to temperatures less than 45 degrees.
If your pet is less than 15 pounds and you are on a domestic flight, you may be able to fit a small, airline-approved kennel (check with your travel agent) under the seat in front of you. Out of respect for the person sitting next to you, inform passengers that you’ve brought your pet along so they may switch seats with someone else if they suffer from pet allergies. Have paper towels and a scooper on hand for any inevitable accidents that may occur. On international flights, larger animals can be shipped (for a fee) in the forward cargo bins, which are climate-controlled. Contact your travel agent or the airline for specific information on fees and requirements.
TRAVELING ‘KENNEL’ CLASS: One thing you should not underestimate is the importance of a quality travel kennel, no matter if you’re traveling by bus, car, plane or train. Let your pet eat and sleep there before you leave, and throw an old sock – worn by you – in as well so he may accustom himself to the kennel in time for travel. Exercise, feed and give water to your pet before you leave, and place a dish for food and one for water inside the kennel. If you’re shipping your pet, write the words “LIVE ANIMAL” all over the crate with arrows pointing in the upright direction, and put your name, phone number and address on a well-fastened label. Secure but don’t lock the crate so airline personnel can access it if necessary. Make certain enough air is getting in. Check with your travel agent or call your airline and find out if there is an additional cost for your pet to travel with you.
ON THE ROAD WITH FIDO: Be careful if you’re driving to your destination. Countless pets die each year from heatstroke after being left alone in hot cars for even a few moments. As a general rule, if you leave your car, your pet should leave, as well. If you park, make sure it’s in a shaded area to keep the car cool. For safety’s sake, check that your car’s air conditioning is functioning before taking a long trip on a hot day. Never let your animal jump around or hang out the window – it’s dangerous for both you and him.
A strong, mesh crate (the bottom lined by towels) with plenty of food and water is advised, with enough room so your pet can stand, turn and lie down. But exercise is necessary – stop frequently at rest stops for water and exercise, keeping a leash on your pet at all times. If your pet is unaccustomed to car trips, increase his time in the car before you take him on vacation. One piece of sugar candy – not chocolate – before hitting the road may quell motion sickness. Although you do want to feed your pet at least four hours before air travel, leave a window of six hours before a car trip during which your pet is not eating. If he’s overly fussy, it may be best to rethink bringing him along.
A NOTE ABOUT BIRDS, REPTILES AND SMALL ANIMALS: Travel is not recommended for smaller animals and birds because of the stress it causes them. Reptiles are especially discouraged because of their specialized requirements.
YOUR PETS AND HOTELS: Ask you travel agent to call ahead to make sure your hotel or motel allows pets. Or, for a list of pet-friendly lodgings, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at your destination. Once there, clean up after your pet – don’t abuse the privilege. Likewise, pack a supply of plastic bags to make this chore easier. Request a room at the end of the hall so other guests aren’t bothered by the possible noise.
So plan ahead, bring the right supplies and rely on these Tips on Traveling With Pets to ensure that you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable trip. With the helpful hints we have listed here, your pet can be the perfect addition to a perfect vacation.
For additional information, visit: Traveling with Pets (Univ. of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine)
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