The Savvy Traveller
- To beat jetlag, book an overnight flight or one that arrives in the evening when travelling east so you can either catch your sleep on the flight or as soon as you get in to your destination.
- To prevent the swelling of feet as is wont to happen on long flights, walk in the aisle at intervals and try not to take off your shoes.
- Refrain from OD-ing on the free booze when on a flight, as too much alcohol causes dehydration. Tank up instead on aqua-pura.
- When making flight reservation, remember to request for special meals if you have any food restrictions.
- After September 11, airlines follow very strict security procedures. So make sure you reach the airport for check in well before departure time. Its best to check with the airline regarding how much in advance you should be at the airport.
- If your baggage does not arrive on the same flight as you, fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR), with a description of the baggage, a list of contents and address to which it should be forwarded. If your baggage does not arrive at all, place a claim with the airline within 21 days.
- Overbooking is a fact of life in the airline industry. If you are not in a particular hurry to get to your destination then volunteer to give your seat up and take the next flight. The airline will provide you a hotel room and other frills, so you can end up having an extended vacation at the airlines expense!
- Do not accept any package from a stranger.
- For a smooth ride on a plane, choose the seats located near the wings as if the plane hits an air pocket, this is where you will get the least amount of bumps.
- If you are planning to watch the in flight movie, choose the fourth or fifth row from the screen to avoid getting a neck cramp.
- If you are prone to motion sickness, take an anti sickness pill before the flight. The pill won't help much, if you have it after you have started feeling sick!
- Abide by the list of items prohibited on board and carry most items like skis/cues/walking canes/sticks/Swiss knives in checked in baggage - this smoothens the check-in process plus avoids the risk of confiscation and unnecessary delays.
- Last and this is equally important - report any unattended items in the airport or aircraft to the nearest airport or airline personnel.
- Keep track of the weather at your destination and be prepared, especially if you are going to a hurricane prone area.
- Make your hotel reservations in advance, especially if you are visiting a place in peak season. You don’t want to be caught without a roof over your head!
- Negotiating room tariffs over the phone? Call the hotel twice to confirm the rates. Note down the name of the person you have talked to and request a written/faxed confirmation. This way you can be sure that you will not be wrongly billed by the hotel.
- Don't depend solely on the hotel's alarm service. Carry your own little alarm clock to catch an early morning flight or that pre-dawn sightseeing trip.
- When you check into your hotel, ask the reception to give you a card with the hotel's name address and telephone number. This will come in handy if you get lost or forget the name of your hotel.
- Check whether your hotel has a hair-dryer, iron, coffee percolator, etc, to avoid carrying these gadgets and also making it easy to skip the 110/220 conversion problem when travelling to foreign countries.
- Most hotels frown on guests doing their own laundry in the bathrooms, but if you do need to wash some smalls, carry a length of nylon twine to improvise a clothesline.