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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pre-Travel Preparations

1. Coast Tours

When touring a coastline, plan to travel in the direction that puts you and your passenger on the 'view' side of the road. This way you can see down a coastline and anticipate where the best turnoffs are going to be, and most importantly, you will not have to be crossing and recrossing traffic in order to access the beach or viewpoints.

2. Credit Card and ID Safety

When taking a purse or wallet, only take two credit cards and Driver's ID and only necessary business cards. Leave ALL other credit cards at home and always write down the credit card numbers you're taking with you and place them elsewhere in your luggage in case your purse or wallet is stolen. Also write down important phone numbers of people to contact in case of any emergency (doctor, dentist, pharmacist, credit card companies, etc.) and put them elsewhere in your luggage. They can be a life saver!

3. EVERYTHING Should Go on a Packing Checklist

Of course, you would never forget important items like passport, plane tickets, etc. when you travel - right? WRONG! Take it from me, it is best to make a checklist of everything days in advance. When you are in a rush it is easy to forget your carry-on or passport wallet on the kitchen table as you rush out the door.

4. Group Identification

When traveling in a large group, it is helpful to either tie the same brightly colored ribbon or affix brightly colored tape on each and every piece of luggage (even carry-ons). This aids in being able to spot each other's luggage at all times. Also, when claiming bags, have only a few people from your group at the conveyor belt. As the 'color coded' bags come by, they can pull everyone's bags and place them into a pile away from the congestion of people trying to get their bags off the conveyor belt. Once the group's bags have been pulled aside, then the rest of your group can claim their bags.

5. Keep a Bag Ready-To-Go

Keep a cosmetic bag packed to go. If something is running low, leave a note in it to replenish the supplies upon your return. Also, on an index card list everything you need for a trip, and keep it handy for each trip. That way, you won't find yourself stranded in Podunk without underwear. You don't have to put clothes in plastic dry cleaner bags, just place the bags between clothes to save on wrinkles.

6. Know Where Your Hotel is Located

When making reservations, be sure to ask if the hotel is located near a hospital, fire department, police station, or ambulance dispatch. Although these services are great in an emergency, they are less than desirable when sirens scream near your room in the middle of the night.

7. Learn a Few Foreign Phrases

Learn a few essential terms in the native language of the country you are travelling to. For instance, if going to a Spanish speaking country 'Hola!' means 'hello' and 'gracias' means 'thank you'. Other essential words such as food, water, restroom, etc. should also be learned. Not only will the natives appreciate your effort, your trip will be more enjoyable in learning a new language and culture! Also, it can really help to get around easier!

8. Leave Travel Plans with Friends and Relatives

Before leaving on a trip, make sure that you give all travel information not only to the people or place you'll be staying at, but also several close family and friends where you live. If anything should happen while traveling, multiple people know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you and others who might need to reach you.

9. Look Up Emergency Numbers

Look up the emergency numbers of the country you go to. You never know what may happen, and if you have the emergency numbers handy you will have a chance for quick help!

10. Protect Your Home

When going away, make sure you cancel all newspapers, pay bills before you go, and get someone to look after your house - give them the spare key, and ask them to clear your mail. Also, if possible, park a car in your driveway if you are taking your car with you.

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