travelgirl magazine January 2006

Editorial Written by Stephanie Abrams


"Flying High!"

Just when you thought you knew all the tricks to make your travels smooth and painless, new challenges are placed before you! I subscribe to the theory that bigger “travel traps” produce smarter travelers and, with that in mind, let me share some tips for taking the bumps out of the road when you travel:

1) THE BIG BAG: Many security checkpoints at airports will enforce the “3 carry-on items” per person rule, limiting you to one carry-on piece, a briefcase/computer case/purse and a camera case. If you're carrying purchases that didn't fit into your checked luggage, you may now be toting a number of shopping bags and packages that exceed the limits. Call in the BIG BAG to the rescue! Pack a very large shopping bag, one that would fit a king-sized pillow, folded into eighths and tucked into a carry-on bag. When needed, consolidate as many items as you need to in order to meet the requirements! If it's too heavy to hold by the handles after you've stuffed it full, hold it in your arms, place it on the conveyer belt through the x-ray equipment and disassemble the items when you've cleared the other side! It works every time!

2) RULE 240: Airlines frequently cancel flights for reasons other than weather conditions or situations beyond their control. If you are booked on an arbitrarily cancelled flight and told it is for mechanical reasons, for example, or that the incoming plane you are supposed to be on is not arriving for reasons other than bad weather, you have rights and the airline has responsibilities to you. You should know what your rights are BEFORE you leave home so that you are prepared to deal with a non-operational flight. Rule 240 provides you with this information. Go to the website of each carrier you will be flying on and search for Rule 240. Make printouts and carry them with your travel documents. If you forget to do that, every airline check-in counter is required to have a copy of its Rule 240 on display. If you don't see it, ask for it and tell the airline's check-in agent, “ I want to be Rule 240'd!” When you are getting no assistance nor satisfaction, you'll be amazed at how this phrase will propel people into action on your behalf to protect you on other flights, even with other carriers, to provide you with accommodations and meals, to get you moving along on your trip.

3) CARRY PAPER SLIPPERS: More than the indignity of walking barefoot through security, I detest putting my unshod feet on gritty, dirty, cold airport floors! Solution? Pick up paper disposable slippers like the ones you're given at a medical examination. Miami International Airport actually offers them to travelers and Tokyo's Narita Airport provides vinyl, padded slippers for your temporary use. Until the rest of the airports become more civilized, carry your own paper slipper supply!

4) MEDICAL CONDITIONS WRITTEN & TRANSLATED: Carry an index card with any medical conditions and allergies you may have clearly explained to be used in the event that you cannot make the explanation yourself. For each foreign country you plan to visit, have this vital information translated into the language of that country. In the event of an emergency, this important tool may be lifesaving. Be sure to list medications and dosages that you take daily and medications to which you are allergic. And carry your medications in their prescription vile, which gives vital information and your pharmacy's phone number. There are services you can subscribe to that make your medical records available online in case of emergency or for treatment of an ongoing condition.

5) FOOD ALLERGY PROTECTION: Create a card with questions about your food allergies. On one side, indicate what you are allergic to. On the reverse side, have these items translated into the languages of the destinations you will visit.

6)CARRY YOUR EYEGLASS & CONTACTS PRESCRIPTION: Nothing will create a faster than breaking or losing your prescription eyewear! Get a copy of your lens prescription and travel with it. It's the quickest route to putting your trip back on track!

7) INSURE YOURSELF AGAINST UNFORESEEN TRAVEL EXPENSES: You can protect yourself from great expense in the event you have to cancel or interrupt your trip and return home early necessitating additional transportation fees and forfeiting pre-paid hotels and tours, or need special transportation to fly you home in the unfortunate case of an accident. TravelSafe Insurance will cover cancellation penalties for any reason and Air Ambulance Card will fly members home to their own doctors and hospital and not just to the nearest hospital, which could be anywhere you are traveling!

8) SAFETY FIRST: Travelgirls traveling alone should focus on safety! Arrange to have a limo or hotel car waiting at the airport with your last name on a sign so you know with whom you will be driving. Better hotels will provide this service and charge the fee to your hotel bill. If you're saving your money for shopping, economize and find safety in numbers by taking a shared/group shuttle ride from the airport to your hotel or business destination.

9) ESCALATOR THEFT: A popular ruse of purse-snatchers is to ride the escalators in busy department stores planning to reach from the “down” escalator that they are on across to the unaware traveler on the “up” escalator. Once they have the purse, they continue down and out of the store while the victim is stuck on the upward trip! You can protect yourself by remembering to carry your purse snuggly on the side of your body that is away from the other escalator

10) MUSTARD MISCHIEF: Creative thieves have targeted well-dressed women carrying purses and multiple shopping bags. Often combining mustard, barbeque sauce and paint in a squeeze bottle, the perps squirt the victim with the mixture. As she focuses on removing the stains, her purchases quickly disappear with the small band that targeted her. If they didn't get her purse, someone will approach, directing her to a nearby ladies room where others are waiting to separate her from the rest of her valuables. The easy remedy? If you have bought too many items to carry easily, have the shops deliver them to your hotel or arrange through the concierge to pick them up for you. If you fall victim to this kind of “greasing,” just keep going! If your outfit doesn't clean up well, it'll be a good excuse to go shopping! Stay out of that vulnerable zone where your attention to safety is distracted.


• Be sure to visit my award-winning website, and for travel tips, travel news and information and scheduled guests on my radio shows! • May 2006

Gotta Fly Now! sm
Stephanie Abrams

TravelGirl Editorials by Stephanie Abrams:

March 2006, Spring Time Travel

May 2006, (coming soon)

September 2006, Castle Hopping


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Stephanie Abrams, recognized as a leading radio travel expert and as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in /travel," is host of the weekly Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams, heard coast-to-coast on the Business Talk Radio Network and appears weekly on radio's nationally syndicated, "Traveling Feet!" Visit Abrams' award-winning website and Stephanie welcomes travelgirls' travel questions at