Invest in sturdy, lightweight luggage with wheels, preferably four “spinners.” Also be sure to check the weight. The more a bag weighs empty, the less you can pack before exceeding airline over-weight baggage limits and forking over fees.
Build a travel wardrobe around a three colour scheme using both prints and solids and stick to it. Combinations such as red, black and tan or blue, grey and cream work well. Become a mix and match expert.
Limit shoes. Shop for shoes that will go with everything you wear. One pair of dress shoes, walking shoes and slippers should take care of travel for a week or more.
Leave heirloom jewelry at home. Never travel with anything you can’t afford to lose. Accessorize with scarves and inexpensive, eye-catching costume jewelry.
Compact hang-up toiletry bags and travel-sized toiletries keep necessities close at hand to freshen up in-route and when space is limited. Since 3-1-1 zippered bags for liquids and gels are here to stay, make products do double-duty. For example, shampoo makes great laundry soap.
When travelling to cold climates, think layers, not bulk. For outerwear, go Gore-tex. It’s surprisingly lightweight, yet amazingly wind-proof and waterproof. Wear bulkiest clothing from sweaters and pants to shoes and a sports coat/jacket on flights to conserve packing space.
There’s nothing like good books to banish boredom during extended hours in the sky and long airport waits. Ditch heavy traditional books and go for a Kindle or iPad loaded with the latest best-sellers and classic novels.
Microfiber and lightweight knits are made for travel. They take up very little space in your bag. They are both stylish and comfortable. As well, they arewashable, dry quickly and never wrinkle.
Make packing a breeze. Create a detailed checklist for travel clothing, accessories, important papers, comfort items and toiletries. Print and laminate a copy to keep in your luggage between trips.
Looking forward to going home for the holidays, but dreading the hassle of holiday air travel? Try these 10 tips from a former flight attendant and present-day leisure travel addict to take some of the stress out of holiday travel:
1. If you have not already booked your flight, it is time to do so...pronto! Begin by contacting a travel agent. A travel agent can quickly search all available flight schedules and provide you with a list of choices that work best for you.
2. Have a Plan B and a Plan C. Winter weather, mechanical problems, and crew delays wreak havoc with airline schedules during holiday travel. Stash the list you printed of all flight options in your carry-on bag and program the reservations number into your cell phone in advance.
3. Watch your weight. The checked baggage weight limit is currently 50 lbs. per bag and most airlines now charge for both a first and second bag (for domestic flights). Overweight penalties are costly. Weigh your packed bag at home while there is time to lighten up.
4. Become a carry-on traveler. You are allowed one carry-on bag not exceeding 45 linear inches and one smaller personal item, such as a purse or briefcase. Place toiletries in the ubiquitous TSA 3-1-1 baggie (3 oz. bottles or less of liquids, gels and creams in a 1 qt. clear zippered bag and 1 bag per person).
5. Select seats between the rear of the aircraft and the over-wing area. Overhead space fills up fast. Airlines typically board aircrafts by zones from the rear forward. If you are sitting in the first rows of the coach section, there may be no room left in overhead space for your carry-on bag by the time your zone is called. If you are comfortable with safety responsibilities, request exit row seats for maximum in-flight comfort.
6. Allow extra time for city traffic, crowded parking lots, long check-in lines and longer security lines. Arrive at the airport early. Baggage check-in closes thirty minutes prior to flight time and your bag won't be accepted. Oversold flights are common on heavy travel days and assigned seats will not be held if you fail to check in as required.
7. Expedite security clearance and ship all gifts to your destination. Don't take wrapped gifts. If the security scan of a wrapped gift is questionable, it will be unwrapped for further examination, causing a delay. Print a list of the latest prohibited items from the TSA website and double check carry-on and checked bags for potential problem items.
8. Bring small comforts. Airline food is practically non-existent and delays can add hours to your flight time and airport waiting time. Bring healthy treats and purchase bottled water after clearing security. Don't forget reading material and an inflatable pillow and lightweight travel blanket in case you are stuck in an airport or onboard a delayed flight for hours.
9. Plan ahead to juggle travel with small children. Bring non-messy snacks, bottles of juice or formula, a sufficient stash of diapers and a change of clothes or two. Surprise treats, books and small toys help keep airport and airplane boredom at bay.
10. Keep your sense of humor. Spread holiday cheer with patience, smiles and kind words for fellow travelers and airline employees. Remember the reason for the season.
Bring a cushion of cash in small denominations, especially one dollar bills for tipping and incidentals. About $200 to $300 in cash is a good rule of thumb. Divide cash with a travel companion rather than stashing all cash in one place.
Take two different major credit cards in the event one is lost or the magnetic strip is damaged. Keep them in separate locations. Check available credit and expiration dates. Some credit card companies block account access if charges suddenly pop up outside the usual credit profile. Notify the credit card company when and where you are travelling to avoid problems.
ATM debit cards are a convenient and accessible way to obtain cash at home and abroad and offer the best international exchange rate. Research networks that accept your ATM card. Common worldwide networks include: Cirrus®, Honor®, Alert® and Pulse®. Activate and test new ATM cardsbefore leaving home. Memorize your pin number. Don’t write it on the card or a piece of paper in your wallet. Most cards have a daily cash limit that canonly be increased in writing. If you get carried away shopping you can’t call for an instant increase.
Claim your refundable sales tax when travelling out of country. Many countries offer tax refunds to tourists, though policies can widely vary. For instance, in Europe, visitors can get a VAT (value-added tax) refund if the total purchase is above a certain amount. To receive a refund, research the paperwork you’ll need to complete and present to customs officials before leaving the country you are visiting. If you’re lucky, some stores can assist you with this and reimburse your credit card immediately.
Forget the fanny pack. It screams “I am a Tourist. Here’s my money.” A neck pouch worn underneath clothing is the best way to protect cash and credit cards from pickpockets.
Always pay for travel and major purchases with credit cards. Most major credit cards offer buyer protection if purchases or services are never received or merchandise arrives damaged. Check with credit card providers for details on benefits.
Make photocopies of the front and back of credit cards and your driver’s license, as well as the photo page of your passport. Leave one copy at home with family or a friend. Give one to a travel companion for safekeeping. If your wallet or passport is lost or stolen, you are prepared to quickly cancel credit cards and expedite passport replacement.
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