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Travel Tips To Keep You Safe

Whether it's your first trip or you are a seasoned jet setter, it's never too late to learn a couple of new tricks to make your trip more enjoyable, more efficient, and safer.Here are a few steps you should always follow.Preplanning.? Always confirm reservations the day before especially for late arrivals give a credit card guarantee.

Send a copy of your itinerary to significant other or closest family member. (I also put a copy of my schedule on the refrigerator.).TIP: Discuss up front how often and when you will call so family won't be worried if they don't hear from you. Set aside a specific time you will touch base either by phone email or fax (fax is particularly good when out of the country and in different time zones.).

? Plan to travel light but always put and extra set of underwear and essentials in your carry on. Pack dress shoes in a carry on if you wear running shoes to the airport. I once had to make an important presentation in my sneakers because my luggage was lost. Include any medications that you need on a daily basis in your carry on. Carry plenty of water on the plane and take something for dry throat such as lozenges in your carry on.

Put important phone numbers such as your meeting location in case of delays in a couple of places among your bags.TIP: Always carry your important business papers with you on the plane. DO NOT check your briefcase.

? Pack extra glasses, tissues, and aspirin in your travel bag. Take snacks such as raisins, nuts or fruit (not candy) in case you get stranded on a runway and there is no food.? Double check to ensure you have cash, identification, credit cards, itinerary and eticket or paper ticket before you leave home. (Don't forget your passport if you are traveling out of the country). Go through your purse to ensure there are no scissors or similar items that might be construed as weapons. I lost a very nice pair of scissors that way.

? Don't wear shoes with metal bars/rods in the soles. It is awful to have to take them off and walk around in your bare feet. Depending upon the size of the airport this can add considerable time to the screening process.

You can never be too careful. Once the under wire in my bra set off the alarm at the airport and a female attendant had to pat me up to make sure I didn't have a concealed weapon in my bra.? Plan to arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours before your flight.

The important lesson is to be relaxed and enjoy the trip. You do not want to start off on a bad foot by rushing frantically at the last minute. Should your schedule be really tight, find an agent at the airport and explain the situation. Don't stand in line expecting them to contact you. Arrive at the gate at least 20 minutes before departure. If the flight is over booked, they WILL give away your seat.

If you and someone else have the same seat don't get up and give it to them. Stay seated and alert a flight attendant. Provide your boarding pass. Possession is 9/10 of the law. You don't have to move if you got there first. This is the time to stand your ground or you might not be on the flight at all.

? If your travel is for an important meeting that you simply you can't miss, plan to go the night before. Don't take a late flight but one that allows you to get your hotel, have dinner and relax the evening before the meeting. Check schedules of smaller airports too. In many cases there may be a limited number of flights if you miss connections. This could justify going in the night before.? If the flight is unreasonably delayed and you need to let some one know use the in flight phone while in transit.

It is pricey but worth it if you need to inform someone of your whereabouts.? Most major hotels have laptop connections in the room. If you will require this, check before hand and book one of those rooms.

Also verify services charges. Many hotels that cater to business travelers have a separate business suite with computers, printers and fax machine. This is any area where you might have significant charges if you aren't careful. The same goes for the room phone.

Don't use the room phone except in an emergency. There are high surcharges and tariffs at most hotels. Use your cell or the public phones in the lobby if you have a lot of calls to make.? If you are making a speech or presentation at the meeting, check to see their computer capabilities. Many times it's better to take several CDs with your presentation rather than lugging your laptop.

? When buying luggage make sure it has wheels. Its also better to have two smaller cases rather than one heavy one. This is especially true in Europe where accommodations for large luggage are minimal.Upon Arrival.? Check out the transportation.

Your best option is to pre-arrange a car service to pick you up. Most airports have numerous options to choose from outside of the baggage claim area. If you choose a taxi be sure you have the actual address handy. Ask for the approximate rate once you have given them your destination. It should be within a few dollars unless there is traffic.

Many time taxis are cheaper and much lees of a hassle especially with luggage than renting car or taking a van.TIP: Carry plenty of cash for unusual circumstances, deadheading back from the airport such as NY to Newark. If budgets are a consideration consider ride sharing or using shuttle vans that make the hotel runs.? When you check into the hotel, ensure that the registration agent maintains your privacy by not shouting out your room number or taking a key down from the wall showing everyone what room you are in. It's permissible to ask a bellman to accompany you to the room even if you only have an overnight case.

TIP: Be prepared to tip well, yet not lavishly. The bellman can be your best friend providing you with great suggestions on where to eat and reputable cab drivers, etc.? Ask for a room away from the elevator but not at the end of the hall either. You should avoid walking down long empty corridors late at night.

? Ask about going out alone if you plan to shop or dine outside the hotel. Many hotels will have a list of suitable restaurants where women can feel quite comfortable dining along.Tip: Be sure to ask about the clientele of the restaurant. You don't want to get recommend to a "meat" market just because it's the in spot.Other considerations.When choosing your hotel, select wisely.

Price is not as important as security. Call and speak with the hotel representatives if this is an unfamiliar hotel.Questions to ask.

Can you walk in the surrounding area alone safely?.Are there restaurants and services on the premises?.Do they cater to women with such things as hair dryer and robes in the room?.Are there exercise facilities available?.How accessible is transportation such as taxis?.

A closing note, flying is not glamorous. It's frustrating and consumes an enormous amount of time and energy. Many seasoned travelers now opt to drive shorter trips. When you travel by air, pack a lot of patience and understanding. Think of the trip in a humorous light and you will enjoy yourself much more. Use these tips and practiced security measures and you will take off of the right foot and arrive back home with minimal travel fatigue.

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By: JoAnn Hines

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