Veteran travelers are the best sources of travel information and tips, and I’ve been collecting them for awhile from family, friends, magazines and strangers in the next seat. So I offer here what I’ve learned over the years, with thanks to all of the above, and hope it makes your travels a little easier.
Problem: You can’t remember where you left your car in long-term parking.
Solution: Take a photo of the parking lot section markers with your digital camera when you park your car and refer to it when you return.
Problem: It takes multiple plastic boxes to get you and your possessions through the airline security conveyor belt and check point. You’re afraid you’ll forget something.
Solution: Regardless of the number of items you have, stash smaller items like your watch, jewelry, wallet and keys inside your shoes, and put your shoes in the last box. You won’t leave the security checkpoint without your shoes.
Problem: You worry about losing your laptop.
Solution: A big ol’ piece of duct tape stuck on the back side of the computer, as well as the computer bag, with an identifying name and/or your email address will remind you to grab it from the conveyor belt and discourage others from doing so.
Problem: You must travel with an infant that you’ll probably have to hold throughout a flight.
Solution: Reserve a bulkhead seat. Many airlines can install a little “bulkhead bunk” that allows your baby to sit or sleep, even when you’re eating — assuming your flight has a meal. Either way, you’ll still be able to use the tray. (If you children are older, you might want to avoid bulkhead seats. The arms on the chairs don’t go down, making it impossible for your child to lay in your lap.)
Problem: You want to pack snacks, toys and activities so your kids won’t get hungry and will stay occupied.
Solution: Two words: Ziploc bags. Load ‘em up and slide ‘em into each child’s backpack. These miraculous inventions (how did we ever travel without them?) keep snacks, small toys, crayons etc. together and easily accessible. Don’t forget the wet wipes.
Problem: You want to help your children remember their vacations and learn something, too.
Solution: Buy picture postcards as you go and have the kids write notes to themselves about what they did that day or their favorite sight or activity. Mail the cards along the way, and when you arrive home, there will be a fistful of mail and memories awaiting. (P.S. Don’t forget the 28-cent stamps. Hunting for post offices is a time-waster.)
Problem: You hate to toss all those oh-so-beautiful admission tickets to museums, castles and other historic attractions.
Solution: Laminate these tiny works of art and use as bookmarks or gifts.
Problem: You have wrinkled clothes and no travel iron.
Solution: A hair dryer or a flat iron (for hair) held to the wrinkles will do very nice job of de-wrinkling.
Problem: You’re afraid of losing the ID tag on your luggage.
Solution: As a backup, place identification information on the inside of your luggage. Use an 8 ?-by-11-inch piece of paper in a plastic sleeve. Include your name, cell phone number and/or e-mail address, and the same information of a family member or friend, but don’t include your address or any other information.
Problem: You have nightmares about losing your passport.
Solution: For $12 a year, you can scan your passport and store it at Passport Support (www.passportsupport.com). If you can prove your identity (keep your driver’s license separate from your passport), you can get a new passport from a U.S. embassy on the same day.
Now, sit back, relax and enjoy your trip!
Filed Under: Hit the Road