Travels: Book in Advance

If there is an attraction, museum, or other site you really want to visit…do you book your tickets ahead of time? 

Many places allow you to book on their website in advance. You won’t have to stand in line if you can download your tickets at home. Just don’t forget to take them with you.

Or, if you can’t print them at home…you can pick them up at their will call office. This also allows you to skip the long lines.

The same goes for a restaurant where you really want to eat. Book it advance. Just keep the reminder on your phone or with you.

Travels: Airfares

Recently I was looking at flights to Paris and came across a site different than what I normally use for alerts. is the site. Has anyone used this site? If so, what do you think about it?

The site tells me I can chart my flight and it will be updated regularly with the latest fees for checked baggage, tickets, and more.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Travels: Layovers

We’ve all had layovers in airports. It’s just part of traveling.

Depending on how long your layover is, you can find time to do many things in airports now. Some have museums, some have chair massages, some offer multiple spots to plug in your devices and work or watch a movie.

One way to use up some time and get ready for a long flight is simple…take a walk. If your next flight is across the country or across the pond, you’ll be sitting for a lengthy amount of time. In fact, even if it’s a shorter flight…walking is a good way to get ready for those airplane seats.

Download an airport map and walk from terminal to terminal. A good brisk walk for 30 minutes can burn at least 100 calories. And, it will get you ready to sit for the next several hours.

Travels: Baggage Fees

If you’re flying this Thanksgiving or in the coming weeks before Christmas and New Years, do you know the baggage fees for the airline? Do you know what it will cost if your checked bag is over the weight limit? Do you know how many checked bags you may take with you?
These are the most current charges I could find. I checked with several travel websites as well as the airlines. Charges may change so it would be a good idea to check with your airline before you get to the check-in counter.
International flights will vary by region, so check with your airline on those as well.
You may have some charges waived if you belong to that airline loyalty club. Check to see before paying the fee.
Alaska Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an additional $25. Overweight bags are $75.
American Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200, depending on weight and flight.
Delta Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200.
Frontier Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is $25 to $50; first bag is $25 and second is an extra $30. Overweight bags are $75.
JetBlue Airways
Fees: None for carry-on or first bag right now. Second checked bag is $50. Overweight bags are $100.
Starting in 2015, JetBlue will no longer include a free checked bag. All bags will have a fee. You might want to check right now to be certain you won’t get charged the fee. I’ve heard it both ways.
Southwest Airlines
Fees: None for carry-on, first or second checked bag. Overweight bags are $75.
Spirit Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is $35 to $100; first bag is $30 to $100 and second bag is $40 to $100. Overweight bags are $25 to $100. A $2 surcharge will be tacked on to existing baggage fees from December 18 through January 5.
United Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an additional $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200, depending on weight and flight.
US Airways
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200.
Virgin America

Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag is $25 and second bag is an extra $25. Overweight bags are $50 to $100. From experience, if your bag is gate checked there is no charge. However, that bag must fit the carry on requirements.

Travels: Documents

When traveling do you make a list of documents you will need for that trip? 

Going to San Francisco from northern California…you won’t need a passport. You will need a driver’s license, cash, credit cards, and possibly your medical card and insurance card. But, you already travel with those in your purse or wallet anyway. Right? So…no need for a list to remind you what to take.

Let’s say you’re going from San Francisco to Paris. You will need more than that. A passport is at the top of that list, along with a copy of that passport, a couple of credit cards, and more. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to make a list of documents you need to take with you. 

Travels: Cicchetti

Cicchetti or cicheti, if you’re in Venice, are small snacks found at bacari, small casual bars packed with locals in the early evening.

Usually displayed in glass cases on the bar counter, these finger foods come to you on toothpicks or on slices of  a baguette.

At Cantina Do Mori, in Venice we found everything from arancini to salt cod puree on crusty bread; salty, hard cheeses to prosciutto; olives to fried baby artichoke hearts. These tasty snacks varied by the day and we never got tired of stopping here for a snack or a light lunch.

Travels: Fear of Flying

Do you have a fear of flying? You’re not alone. Many people have some anxiety about their flight.

In visiting with a flight attendant, she told me what she tells those who express a concern about flying.

Sit by the wings, if you can. This area usually minimizes turbulence. If you sit in the back, you’ll probably feel it more.

Sit by the window. This allows you to look out and take your mind off your fears.

Bring entertainment. Read, play games, or do crossword puzzles. Again, these take your mind off your fears.

Travels: Packing Light

You’re packed. And, your suitcase weighs a ton. What do you have in there? It may be your shoes.

Think about how much each pair of shoes weighs before you pack them. Do you really need more than two or three pairs? Do you really think you’ll wear both pairs of boots?

Check out travel outfitters if you need new shoes for traveling. Typically, they work with companies to offer lightweight but durable brands.

If you really need to bring a pair that is heavy, think about wearing them on the plane and pack the lighter pair. Just make sure they aren’t a pain to take off in the security line.

Travels: Lodging Suggestions

Consider a rental apartment, house, or condo instead of a standard hotel. If you’re traveling with another couple or if you need two hotel rooms, a rental can save you some money.

You also have more room to spread out and kitchen facilities in case you want to cook, make snacks, or have morning coffee in your pajamas.

Be sure to check out the location first. If it sounds like an amazing deal…check to see where it is located. You may find staying outside of the city is a good deal…until you see where the nearest bus or subway station is located.