Saturday, 26 December 2009
It's that time of year when a lot of people travel to celebrate with friends and family. I have been to many airports inside the USA and so I thought I would take a minute and write a post on tips that you can follow and hopefully have a good trip. Please note that I have never traveled outside the states and so I have no tips designed for International travel.
1) Arrange for friend or family member to write you a check in advance of the trip, in the amount that you wish to spend on your trip. Mail it via USPS or UPS with a tracking number on it so that you can find it should it be lost. If it is lost in the mail, then you can put a stop on it and you haven't lost nearly as much money as you would were you to be pick-pocketed or to lose your wallet. If it is not lost, than all you have to do is get it cashed and you have your money. If you do not know or cannot trust anyone at your destination, please see the next tip.
2) Take your important documents that you are planning on bringing with you on the trip (driver's license, passport, and social security card) if you are of the type to worry about proving your identity at the airport. Split the cash you are bringing and the important documents into three piles. One document and 1/3rd of the cash you are bringing in each pile. Put one pile in your pocket, make sure this includes your driver's license and or passport so you can get through the gate at the airport. Put another pile in your carry-on bag. Put the final pile with the least important document into a checked bag. This way should you lose your wallet, carry-on or checked bag, you only lose part of and not all of your money and ID. Speaking of money, you are going to be asked to remove metal from your person when going through security, so don't put any coins in your pocket, as you will only have to remove them.
3) Arrive early leaving plenty of time for your flight, you can always give small kids a book or quiet toy to play with in the airport waiting for your flight. Something is more likely to go wrong if you are in a rush either to leave the house, or at the airport.
4) Pack some food in your carry on, so that you don't have to buy something at the airport. Buying something there requires you to pull out your wallet and gives any pickpockets (this is a serious concern) around the ability to see which pocket you put the wallet back into.
5) Never store your wallet in your back pocket. It is easier to remove a wallet from a back pocket than any other pocket.
6) If you are bringing an electronic device, such as a notebook computer, or portable DVD player, plan on being asked to turn it on, when going through security.
7) Watch what you wear; make sure all clothing is loose-fitting and uncomplicated, particularly shoes as you may be asked to remove them. Whether or not you're going hunting, camouflage is always a bad idea to wear to the airport (unless it is your actual military uniform). Camouflage or a political t-shirt of any type is more likely to get you picked on for extra security measures. It may be unfair, but you're being forewarned here so don't bring it upon yourself!
8) Watch what you say. Yes, it has been 8 years since 9/11 but jokes involving guns or bombs may be overheard by other worried passengers (who isn't paranoid nowadays?) and in some cases it may even be against the law. You want to be able to spend your vacation at your destination, not in a federal holding cell as they try and figure out whether or not you're a terrorist.
9) Be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you while in the waiting area. If you are a woman carrying a purse, put a foot or a leg through the straps of the purse (while sitting down) if possible, so that if someone tries to take off with it, you will notice in a big way. Don't hang it on the back of the chair, as it is easy to remove without you noticing and if you forget that you put it there, you could walk off with it.
10) Should you still be using a non digital camera, do not put unused film in your checked bags, the X-ray machine used in major airports to check for weapons and bombs, will expose your film and ruin it. Put the film in your carry on, or if you are of the paranoid or worried type, put the film in a pocket or two, and then once you are through security, move it to a purse or carry on so that it never goes through an X-ray.
Those are my top ten tips.
Do you have any travel tips you wish to share? Do you totally agree or disagree on any of mine?