Travelers: Credit Card Numbers

By now you probably know to call your credit card company before you travel. By letting them know you will be in Venice, Italy or Venice Beach, California makes life easier for everyone. For one thing, you won’t have your purchases denied. The credit card company will monitor any purchases not in the areas where you are traveling.

But, what if you lose your credit card? Do you have their number? Be sure to have both numbers, including the international number, handy. Store it somewhere that’s easy for you to get to but easy to lose.

Travelers: Miscellaneous Tips

There are probably a gazillion travel tips out there. Sometimes I come across a new one and sometimes a tip finds me when I’m traveling.

Did you know binder clips have seemingly endless uses?

Did you know you could use an old eye glass case to hold things you want protected or don’t want to lose in the bottom of your carry on…chargers, cables, jewelry, small pill bottles, nail clippers, cough drops, and so much more.

Travelers: Suitcase Issues

You’re traveling and your suitcase just ripped. What do you do? Pull out the trusty duct tape and tape it up…right? But, what if the tape won’t stick to the suitcase?

Use a garbage bag to completely cover your suitcase and tape the bag shut. It’s not a long term fix but it will get you away from the baggage carousel without leaving a trail of clothes.

What if the zipper breaks and you can’t get it fixed? Use heavy duty safety pins as a temporary fix.

Travel Scams

I just read about this latest travel scam. While it’s a good idea to pay attention to all “freebies”, this appears to be the latest now that summer travel is here. Hey, we all like to get something free. But, not when it’s not legit.
Check it out…

SACRAMENTO – The Better Business Bureau is warning the public of a a travel scam sweeping across the country.
Thousands of consumers across America have received fake airline vouchers in the mail, claiming the recipient has been awarded two free round-trip tickets to anywhere in the United States. The gift certificates look legitimate but lists fake companies with names such as US Airlines or American Airways.
According to the BBB, the envelopes are usually postmarked from Phoenix or Scottsdale, Ariz. This is considered clever on the part of the scammers, because the corporate headquarters for actual airline, US Airways, is located in nearby Tempe, Ariz.
The mailer does not provide a return address, but includes a phone number and a deadline for the recipient to redeem the voucher. Gary Almond, Better Business Bureau Sacramento president, says the language in the letter can be very deceiving.
“There’s a big sense of urgency in the letter,” said Almond. “You know, contact us immediately, this is a limited time offer, and this is the last time we’re going to contact you, so people are already highly motivated.”
Once contact is made, scammers will try to collect the consumer’s personal information, telling potential victims they need money wired from a savings or checking account to pay for taxes and insurance fees for the voucher. If a caller is unwilling to provide his or her bank account number, the scammer will continue using high-pressure tactics to acquire credit card information. Either way, the crooks are then able to acquire the funds through your account.
The Better Business Bureau says more people will begin receiving these notices in the next few weeks, especially around the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which typically marks the unofficial start to the summer travel season.

Travelers: Do you worry about identity theft?

Protecting your identity is crucial…especially when traveling. Is it something you take extra precautions for and pay attention to while you travel?

Do you know what to look for when in a new place or country? Check out these tips…

Some may seem obvious, but they all have merit.

Pay attention when using ATMs. First, make sure it is a real ATM and not a fake. Use one at a bank you know is real. Cover the touch pad when entering your PIN or have someone stand behind you.

If you are using credit cards, check your statements while traveling.

Protect your passport. Keep it in a secure place, pocket, or purse compartment.

Think before you use public computers. Most hotels, B&Bs, and rentals have free wi-fi that is secure when you need to use your computer. If it’s not secure, be sure to log out of whatever site you were using as soon as you are finished.

Turn off your smartphone’s settings that allows the phone to automatically connect to nearby wi-fi hot spots. It’s a good idea to lock your smartphone as well.

If you are staying in a hotel and receive a call in your room or on your smartphone to add an additional credit card to your room…don’t give out one over the phone, even the hotel phone. Visit the front desk in person. Chances are they didn’t call you.

Travelers: Are you ready to go?

When thinking about a vacation, do you plan your spending ahead of time? Do you save money to use while on vacation? If so, what’s your plan?

Some people throw all their change in a jar or piggy bank. Spare change adds up. Our bank doesn’t let us bring in loose change, however. They give us the paper wraps and we need to count it and roll it. Not too bad for change that might just sit in a drawer or at the bottom of your purse. This year my spare change added up to almost $300.

Recently I read about a site that lets you save online. It’s called SmartyPig.com. Apparently you can set goals and SmaryPig keeps the transfers going until you reach your goals. I haven’t tried it but it seems like a fun way to accumulate some extra travel money.

You could also open a dedicated savings account just for travel. You might want to check with your bank to avoid any fees if the account has required amounts.

Travelers: Wine of the Day!

Just read this and thought I would share…

Happy National Sauvignon Blanc Day!
That’s right, it’s that time of year again where is time to celebrate this delicious grape – as if we needed another excuse.
In honor of such a day, we’d like to take a trip to Styria – the place for Sauvignon Blanc in Austria with a style that’s uniquely its own. You won’t find any aromas of cat pee here, no, instead you will find bright fruit, minerality, refreshing citrus, and overall pleasure in a glass.
To start, let’s review the region of Styria. The region of Styria boasts a generally young winemaking history. Many of the estates found in the area were developed from agricultural properties from many generations before. It can be broken down into three main areas: Weststeiermark, Sudoststeiermark, and Sudsteiermark, and it is in the latter two that one will find world-class Sauvignon Blanc.
The highest producing area, Sudsteiermark, is a landscape of rolling hills, steep slopes, and soils full of ancient sea fossils that are, in some cases, as large as a human head. Variation in soils throughout the region, though, creates complexity and interesting stylistic differences and a variety of grape varieties grown. It is the Sauvignon Blanc, however, that has become best-known. Often referred to as the “Tuscany of Austria,” Sudsteiermark is a breathtaking arena for vineyards is truly special and it’s easy to lost oneself on a multi-hour hike. The wines are known for their fresh aromatics that are best portrayed in their “Klassik” style of wine.
Moving to the east, Sudoststeiermark hosts volcanic soils that add a delicate, mineral spice to the wines and readies them for long-aging. In comparison to Sudsteiermark, which boasts a Mediterranean climate, Sudoststeiermark combines this with a hot, dry, Pannonian climate to create an interesting microclimate for the region. Here, one will find make buschenschank, the region’s name for the heuriger or wine tavern, but also top-rated restaurants and many tourist attractions. Definitely worth the visit!
We leave you with a few breathtaking pictures of the region…So pop something delicious this evening and celebrate Sauvignon Blanc the Austrian way… with Styria.

From Austrian Wine

Travelers: Water Bottles

If you’ve flown anywhere in the last several years, you know you can’t bring water through security. You need to purchase bottles of water once you have cleared security. If you need more than one bottle for a long trip, they get cumbersome to carry. Not to mention heavy.

Think about using the collapsible bottles that are basically flat when empty. Fill them up just before you board and you won’t have to drag around heavy bottles.

After they are empty, store them in your carry on and reuse them next time.

Travelers: Airport Parking

You know you’ll remember exactly where you parked your car in the humongous airport parking lot. Right?

However, if you’re excited about your upcoming trip, remembering where you parked might not be at the top of your things to remember.

Next time, take a photo of the parking lot section sign with your phone or digital camera. Then forget about it until you return.