Tips to Trouble-free Travel



Anyone who's ever had anything inconvenient happen while on a business trip or vacation has a travel tip that is valuable to someone. The following were the result of scanning dozens of Web sites, magazines, and books and through talking with travel professionals as well as experienced travelers.

Money. Almost all tipsters recommended travelers carry no more than about $100 in cash at a time, even when traveling in a country with a different currency. Many experts also recommended travelers use credit cards instead of cash or traveler's checks, because they are accepted almost everywhere -- in many European countries you can pay for a cab with a credit card -- you usually get better currency-exchange rates, and some credit cards offer 24-hour replacement if your card is lost or stolen. With your ATM card, you can withdraw cash as you need it.

Luggage. Making certain your luggage arrives at your destination at the same time you do is tantamount to total vacation enjoyment. When flying, make sure your carry-on luggage contains prescription and other needed medications (for motion sickness, headaches, stomach discomfort), important documents, toiletries and a complete change of clothes. When possible, carry on all your luggage as opposed to checking it. First, check with the carrier you'll be riding on to determine number, size and weight allowances for carry-on luggage. Also, attach something easily identifiable (like ribbons or a decal) on your bags to make it easier to spot them on a luggage carousel as well as harder for someone else to walk away with them unnoticed. Make sure everyone who will be toting luggage around airports, train stations or in large hotels has wheeled luggage. Even preschoolers are capable of rolling a wheeled bag of toys through an airport. Also place identification inside your bag (as well as on a tag on the outside).

Saving cash. Take necessities such as deodorant, Band-Aids, sunscreen, etc. with you on a trip. If you try to buy such items at your destination, they could be unavailable or cost twice what you'd pay at home.

Packing. Overall, experts recommend travelers pack as light as possible, opting for mix-and-match outfits, designs and colors that are less prone to show dirt, and wrinkle-free fabrics. Other suggestions include packing everything you think you need, then trying to cut that amount in half. Reserve 15 percent of your available space for bringing home things you buy during vacation. After you've packed, walk around with your bags to see whether you could easily carry or maneuver them through airports, on ships or wherever. Travel-size toiletries are convenient and space saving, but remember to put any liquids in a zippered plastic bag to avoid ruining your packed clothes. It's also recommended that whatever your destination, you pack a light rain waterproof jacket and collapsible umbrella. When traveling out of the United States, make sure you pack an electrical plug-in converter so you can use appliances such as hairdryers and razors.

Medical kit. Always carry a kit that includes prescription medicines, remedies for motion sickness and diarrhea, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, Band-Aids, a thermometer, sunscreen, insect repellent, and, depending on where you go, water purification tablets. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, keep a brief medical history with your kit or documents.

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