Tips for Happy Travels
Mar 19, 2012 10:40PM
● By Anonymous
- Do your research. It is your responsibility to be sure that you have the required traveling documents (i.e. visa or passport) necessary to visit your honeymoon destination—before you attempt to reach it! Requirements change often, so the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting is the best source of current information.
- You most likely won’t be able to have your name legally changed before departure, so be sure that any required entry documents are issued in your maiden name. In order to avoid travel snafus, your travel documents (airline tickets, cruise tickets, etc.) must match your ID.
- If a passport is necessary for your travel, make several photocopies of it. Leave one copy with a family member or friend whom you trust completely. Also bring a copy with you, and keep it in a secure place away from your original passport. This will help expedite an emergency replacement in case your passport is lost or stolen.
- Before visiting some destinations, you might need certain vaccinations or medications. To view health-related information about your destination, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. Another great resource is Passport Health (www.passporthealthusa.com), which specializes in travel medical services including destination-specific travel information, immunizations, specialty travel products, and international travel health insurance. TheirMaryland locations includeAnnapolis, Millersville,Baltimore,Easton, andSalisbury.
- Despite the fact that fewer people are using travelers’ checks these days (most folks are using debit cards, credit cards, or ATM machines), you might still want to consider getting some if you plan to carry extra money with you—especially if you are visiting heavily populated urban areas.
- If you’re honeymooning abroad, exchange about $50 into small bills in the currency of the country you’ll be visiting so that you’ll have some money on hand for transportation, food, tipping, etc., upon your arrival. If you are going to visit a remote area in which you will not be able to access ATM machines or use your credit cards, exchange a larger amount.
- While packing, keep in mind that weight allowances are stricter than they used to be. Most airlines will charge you to bring along a bag that weighs more than 50 pounds and many now charge for a second piece of checked luggage (check your airline’s website for specifics). Choose outfits with pieces that will also work with others you are bringing. By picking mix and match clothes with two or three colors, you can also pack fewer pairs of shoes.
- Star Tip: If you fear you are near the weight limit, pack a small, collapsible bag in the outer pocket of your suitcase. If necessary, you can transfer a few items into it and carry on the smaller bag to avoid the fee. (And if you don’t need it for clothes or shoes, the collapsible bag also comes in handy for carrying souvenirs on the way home.)
- Don’t forget that any liquids, gels, or aerosols that you are carrying-on with you must be placed in a plastic bag that is quart-sized or smaller. The items themselves must be in containers three ounces or smaller. Lithium batteries (such as those used in cameras and other electronic equipment) have been recently placed on the no-no list for checked luggage—but you can carry them on with you if in plastic bags or their original packaging.
- If possible, print your boarding pass online, ahead of time (many are available up to 24 hours in advance of flight time). This will save you valuable time at the airport, and if the airline doesn’t have assigned seating, you can reserve a spot as one of the first groups to board—and get a seat next to your new spouse!
- Keep your driver’s license, passport, or ID and your boarding pass in a place that is easily accessible (for you, not pickpockets)—on your person is preferable. Keep some cash in your pocket if you are going to use the skycap service—often the better choice for passengers in a hurry.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, check your luggage, go through security, and get to your gate. Oftentimes, if you are late (and still able to check-in) your luggage will not be on the same flight as you are. Besides, what newlywed couple wants to start the honeymoon by rushing, waiting for luggage to arrive when they reach their destination, or worse, missing their flight? (Not to mention the arguments that could erupt if any of these happen.)
- To avoid holding up the line when you get to the security gate, remove your belt, overcoat, any jewelry, and anything else in your pockets while you are waiting. Try not to wear footwear with too many buckles or laces when going to the airport, as it will be necessary to remove your shoes as well. Put smaller items in your shoes or jacket pockets before pacing them in the bins that will go through the TSA’s x-ray machine—there have been instances of belongings being snagged by other passengers while the bins are on the belt.
- To avoid losing your luggage, try to fly direct whenever possible. If you have to switch planes, allow at least an hour layover between flights to allow time for your belongings to transfer to the plane with you. Also, put a tag with your contact info (including your cell phone number) inside of the luggage as well as out—and include a copy of your travel itinerary inside, too. Finally, you might want to snap a picture of your luggage before you leave. If your bags are lost, you can show the photo to the agent at the lost luggage office.
- Always bring a pair of earplugs with you in case the airline doesn’t provide them. This will allow you to drown out unexpected (and unwanted) noise interruptions, and to be relaxed and well rested for the honeymoon’s start.
- To easily spot your luggage at the baggage claim carousel, tie a unique or brightly colored ribbon, scarf, or tag to it.
- If possible, have a reputable taxi service (with licensed taxi operators) or an airport or hotel shuttle van or bus take you from the airport to your hotel. Independent car or taxi drivers may not be reliable (and could even be scam artists) and often charge more than professional services.
- Pickpockets and con artists often target tourists as their victims. As much as you’ll want to endlessly gaze into each other’s eyes, be aware of the people around you and the places you’re wandering into. Avoid carrying large amounts of money, and leave your expensive jewelry at home. Whenever possible, the straps of bags/pocketbooks should be worn across the front of your body, and men should carry wallets in their front pockets. Better yet, purchase a traveler’s money belt or pouch that can be worn discreetly beneath your clothes.
Finally, a few golden rules to remember when traveling: get everything in writing (verbal agreements don’t count in court), do not entrust responsibility of treasured possessions to anyone you don’t know (they don’t care as much as you do, if at all), and use your charge card whenever possible (for consumer protection and record of purchases).