I was telling my favorite travel agent about my book club gals’ recent getaway to Branson, and she offered to send along some expert travel tips for women. So if a girls’ getaway is in your plans this summer (and I hope so!), here are a few reminders for having fun and staying safe. Happy travels to all!
1. Staying Healthy — advance planning is key. I always gather up a small bag of supplies as sort of an “emergency kit” with items such as a packet of Kleenex, some cough drops, tube of Dramamine pills, sheet of Pepto-Bismol tablets, tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, handful of Band-aids, tube of Neosporin, and some sort of headache remedy.
Get your prescriptions filled, too, and keep all of these items in your carry-on. Since you can’t carry onto a plane liquid items of more than three ounces, be sure to pack in your check-bag some sunscreen and insect repellant as well.
These are especially important for international travel, because you don’t know how easy/difficult it might be to find such items at your destination and they will certainly cost a lot more (on my last trip with friends someone had to buy cough drops and they were four Euros for a pack of 8!).
In most places, quality hotels, resorts, and restaurants are going to have water and tea that you can safely drink, but do purchase bottled water from the hotel or at a store (not from street vendors) to have while you’re out. But don’t avoid water, because letting yourself get dehydrated will make you feel sick. Go easy on the alcohol. Eat meals and snacks when you get a chance and resist the urge to worry about your weight! You need energy! Feeling too-hungry in the middle of the day will zap the fun right out of you and make you feel queasy.
And I must mention: never, ever approach an animal, either wild or domesticated.
2. Personal Security — let someone know your itinerary – what are your flights, where are you supposed to be and when, hotel names, etc. Working with a travel agent is a good idea, too, for smooth coordination of logistics and records of each reservation detail. I wouldn’t put all this information in your check-bag, but a note with your name and the phone number of your next stop inside would be helpful to your airline/tour operator/cab company if your bag were to be misplaced.
Everyone knows about safeguarding your room keys, not disclosing your room information to anyone outside of your group, and using in-room safes for jewelry, small electronics, and travel documents that you don’t want to carry with you while you’re “out and about.” Never leave your purse, camera, or phone unattended. A cross-body bag that you can hold in front of you is the best accessory to take.
Stay together as best you can, and wear comfortable shoes that you could run in to escape a mugger or pickpocket. People romance about the idea of getting “off the beaten path,” but seriously, it is much better for your sightseeing value and for your safety to stick with the “touristy” areas.
3. Security of Possessions — file a report with your airline immediately, before you leave the airport, if your bag doesn’t show up on the carousel! You are entitled to certain expense reimbursements in the event of delayed or lost luggage, so look up those policies on their website and be prepared to stand firm for your rights just in case. Also on that website – information on restricted items, which will certainly be confiscated if you mistakenly pack them (forget about your aerosol hairspray, sorry).
Never pack your travel documents, medications, electronics, valuable jewelry, or anything you can’t live without for a day or two. Leave your designer clothes behind. I’ve had items stolen from checked bags – new bottle of fragrance, new tube of toothpaste (!?), fancy face cream – so now I never take anything new, and I tuck tampons around my expensive personal-care products that I can’t live without (TSA and airline employees won’t touch them!).
Look out for each other – lost on our trip: a pair of sunglasses, a cap, and a jacket! If we had all been alert to check the back of a chair, glance under the table, or give the area one last go-over we wouldn’t have gone off and left them.
And last, don’t over-fret about things (lose a bag and have to buy a couple of new outfits? Oh darn… ) Maintain a sense of perspective on the very slim chance of anything bad happening – of course you want to be prepared and use common sense – but you really want to relax and enjoy your trip!
Tips from Janet McLaren, Travel Specialist
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative
Travel Blog: http://luv2cruz.wordpress.com
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