Planes Book Domestic Flights 60-90 days in advance
Book International 6 months in advance
Check regional airports for low-cost airlines bundling flight hotel and car or vacation purchase-can get great deals.
Booking two one way flights may get you a better deal than a round trip.
Instead of a hotel, look into reserving a home if traveling with a family or a single room if alone. Websites like Airbnb provide homes and private rooms from home owners who are renting them out, usually offering better locations and accommodations than hotels. Theresa got a great place in Sedona last Fall!
Activate all your devices to accept new time zones and passwords from different locations. A week before is a good time to change passwords and write them down or have them “remembered” on those devices. When your Discover card is rejected because you are charging too many things at midnight in Chicago, you will need to know your password to your account to get it straightened out! Let Discover, Master Card and Visa know where and when you are going, so they don’t “protect” you this way. I was sad to hear that my traveling is considered “suspicious activity.” The sweet guy on the customer service line at 1 am, agreed that I needed to get out more.
Let a family member know where you are going and ask them to keep an eye out for a text from you-just in case. Make sure they have your house key. This is invaluable when the automatic protection call system to your home needs to be answered by a person.
Scan your passport, identification card, and itinerary and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. Email the documents to yourself and save them in the off line records of your phone-like ibooks. Now, remember, don’t report them lost until you have someone else check the 20 little pockets and flaps of your purse or suitcase. Also, check between the driver’s seat and the gear shift. This is an amazingly small space that loves to eat plastic cards that slip from your wallet. To access this, you must place the top of your head on the driver’s floor mat. You will see it snuggled in there. You’ll need tweezers to get it out.
It sounds paranoid, BUT consider a chest wallet for your documents and cash when international. My friend had everything stolen from a fanny pack on a Christian Bible tour of the Jordan. Slicing through a thin leather belt is easy when you are practiced. They learned from the authorities that thieves target groups, particularly in well-publicized travel spots. Thieves expect these folks to be wealthier and not looking out for trouble. Humans are always less alert when in a group. Don’t let a false sense of security ruin your trip.
Pack a pen in a handy place. Form completion on the plane before you get to Hawaii (or many other places ) can be daunting when you are waiting to borrow a pen. Flight attendants DO NOT loan them. Don’t even ask.
Download YELP for domestic travel in the US. This is a great city guide for both travelers and locals alike and is the best way to find the most amazing places to eat and sightsee.
Print a packing list and keep on the back of your closet or in your suitcase-you won’t forget a thing!
Mark your checked bag as fragile. A client of mine works at Hopkins Airport and reports this is a great way to know your bag is handled carefully. I do this now after having a $70 bottle of colloidal gold shatter in a highly protected place in my suitcase. Turns out when TSA rifles through the contents, they do not replace bubble wrap. Your luggage will be kept at the top and will also be one of the first bags to be released.
Power every bit of technology up the night before and do not unplug from the cord. This way the cord and devices are happily married wherever you use them. Begging to power your phone with someone else’s cord in the Atlanta airport is a lovely way to make friends. If you have plenty of friends, do as I suggest, and the cord will not be in the checked bag in the belly of the plane when the battery signal goes off.
Day of Departure
Wear comfortable shoes-you may have to jog to the next gate when the flights come in late (like when Mary leaves her laptop in the security bin). Your most comfortable shoes are the bulkiest to pack-save the space.
Important: wear a shoulder scarf.
Use as a blanket on the plane.
Fold gently over your face for the light block. Fold as neck support/pillow.
Also, use as a face cover (when you seat mate is eating fish, and your stomach is a little “air scary”).
Spray a little essential oil to your scarf as an immune system booster to keep the inevitable airplane “bugs” from wearing your system out. Many people swear by Thieve’s Oil. I find it a little strong and just use lavender and Juniper. Several drops in an ounce of Vodka in a spray bottle works well as the base. This spray is nice because it evaporates quickly without the ETOH smell and doesn’t stain the cloth ( do not use on silk). Can also be used as hand sanitizer if you are not sensitive to alcohol.
Check your airline seat back before you sit. I know the people behind you are in a big rush but if it is still damp, use the scarf to cover the back of your seat. Airlines use insecticide between flights on the fabric seats due to bed bugs (and I’m sure other infestations) and sometimes there isn’t time to dry. Don’t let this get right up against your skin.
Stay hydrated. Carry a quality BPA free empty water container through security. Fill on the other side with bottled water. Airline water on the flight has been shown to be the lowest in quality. Even boiled for tea, it still carries whatever came from the tap and what is in the plane container hold. That water could be downright disgusting. According to a 2004 EPA sample of 158 planes, 13 percent contained coliform. Two of the airplanes were found to have dangerous E.coli in the water. And as Business Insider reported, an additional EPA study found that one in every eight planes fails the agency’s standards for water safety.
Alcohol, salt, and caffeine are dehydrating. Drink a glass of water for every pack of peanuts or mixed drink.
Walk up and down the aisles every two hours. Stand in back if you’re not in the way.
If you end up in the middle seat between two large gentlemen, pretend it is a sauna. Be kind. It will make the trip better for everyone.
When you arrive
Renting a car? Always ask for a complimentary upgrade. When you are pleasant ( Theresa calls it’s “flirting”) they always agree! They have terrible customers at times, and I’m sure they are happy to reward congenial folks. I always send Reiki energy ahead to have “only good come over calm waters.” Be as brave as Theresa and always ask.
*You save money by returning the car and not refilling the tanks. We have mastered sliding into the car return lane when the gas light comes on!
Use ATMs to get local currency. Money converters in the airport come with their fees, and the exchange rates are a rip-off. ATMs always dispense local currency, of course, so use your debit or credit card and get your money there.
Shop for groceries when you arrive. You don’t have to shop for a feast, but getting basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton. We saved a bundle by shopping at the only store awake at midnight in Sedona on a Monday-the gas station. Believe it or not, they had some good food. Trail mix is just fine.
When in your room, remove only the necessities from your luggage. Trying to make yourself at home by taking out every pair of shoes and all of your toiletries will only make repacking a drag. It increases your chances of forgetting something when it’s time to go home.
I still don’t know where my sandals ended up at the Orange Beach Sand and Sea retreat.
Here’s to your “Adventures and Happy Travels!” *Next month Homeopathics and Traveling