Did Your Luggage Make It?

Traveling with checked bags?

Preventing, or at least lessening the chance, of losing your luggage may involve a few preventive steps. This won’t guarantee your luggage arrives with you. But, it might increase the chances.

When you book your flight, think about the time of your layover. Chances are if it’s a short one, your bag might not make it onto the next leg of your journey. This is especially true if you are flying internationally. It would be a good idea to ask about time in between flights, before you book that amazing flight deal.

Think about putting some type of marker on your bag…especially if it is a medium sized, black bag. I mean…how many of those do you see on the baggage carousel? It’s easy to wrap a piece of red tape around the handle.

What’s your luggage tag look like? If you don’t have one and opt to use the paper ones provided by the check-in counter, the chances of it getting ripped off somewhere along the line are good. Instead, use one with a code or microchip so you can track your bag. At the very least, get one that doesn’t come off easily.

When packing, place a copy of your itinerary inside. Put it on top so if the airline has to open your bag to re-route it, it’s right there in front of them.

While you’re at it, take some photos of your bag. Use your phone and take a couple of the outside, the inside, and anything of value.

Check in early enough. Give the check-in desk and the baggage handlers enough time to get your bag on your flight.

Of course, you could always ship your bags and not worry about them. This might be best, and cheaper, if you need to have oversized or overweight bags.

 

Are You Prepared?

Standing in line for security at the airport can be stressful. Right?

Unless you’re TSA Pre-Check, you should know what you need to do and what to have ready for the TSA Agents. Right?

Be prepared ahead of time not only helps you, it also helps the people behind you. Take out your necessary documents…boarding pass and identification well ahead of standing in front of the agent. If you always keep them in the same spot…you’ll know exactly where to find them.

Is your boarding pass on your phone? While you’re waiting for your turn with TSA, make sure your phone’s brightness is turned all the way up and that your screen rotation is off.

If you’re traveling with a laptop, it needs to be in its own bin. Other things can go together in a bin.

Remove your shoes, belt, and anything else metal.

If this is done ahead of time…your trip through security should go smoother.

Or…sign up for TSA Pre-Check…

 

Do You Want to See the Mona Lisa?

Okay…you read all the brochures about the pristine, white sand beaches, looked at pictures of how romantic it is at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and have always wanted to see the Mona Lisa up close.

If this is what you’re striving for on your vacation…be prepared to do a little work before you go. Why? Advance planning goes a long way if you are joining a bunch of other vacationers who want the same thing as you.

I’m not advocating planning, planning, planning. But, there are certain times and events where planning gives you a better vacation.

Buy those Eiffel Tower tickets at home, print them if you can, and avoid the long wait lines at the base. And, I do mean long wait lines. Same goes for museums in Florence, Venice, and other popular places. Check the Internet for the specific site to see if advanced tickets are available. Many cities have ‘museum passes’ which are good for a series of days. Investigate to see if these will save you time and money. We buy our Paris ones at the kiosk at the airport when we arrive.

If you’re going to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre…go early. Go when they open. Once inside, go directly to see her. I know there are other great pieces of art on your way there. But, see her first and then see the rest. You’ll be glad you did.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to make pasta, or wondered why chocolate from Bayonne tastes so good, or wanted to visit with a winemaker in Saint Emilion. Here’s where advance planning is a must. Set up your classes or appointments ahead of time.

Having given you some ideas where planning is a good idea, I have another suggestion.

Be spontaneous. Don’t plan every moment. Sometimes these unplanned days are the best days of the vacation.

 

Travel Habits

 

When I first read an article about bad travel habits, several things came to mind. Some made sense, and some aren’t really bad habits…just not the best way to travel.

What do you think?

Not Learning the Exchange Rate Before You Go:

Not necessarily a bad thing, but if you have an idea of the exchange rate, you won’t spend all your time figuring out what the costs are. Even better, get a currency exchange app for your phone. Problem solved.

Overbooking Your Vacation:

This seems like a problem to me. You’re never going to see it all, so why make yourself miserable by failing to get in everything?

Not Splurging When You Should:

Everybody has things they hate to spend money on. Think about this ahead of time and give yourself a budget or an item to splurge on. Then you won’t have to worry about it.

Booking at the Last Minute:

Sometimes this can’t be helped. Sometimes it bites you. Plan ahead.

Packing Issues:

Do you procrastinate and pack at the last minute? Does that cause you to pack too much or too little? Make a list and set aside a time to pack.

Not Learning Some Basic Words:

At the very least, learn Please and Thank You. Toss in Good Morning or Good Night. Put an app on your phone.

 

2018 Destinations

 

Are you planning one trip or more for 2018? Want some ideas? I’ve read many different suggestions, from budget trips to best trips to trips with major events planned for this year. Here are a few things I learned…

San Juan Islands, Washington

Actually an archipelago located in the waters between Puget Sound and Vancouver Island, this unique chain is on the American side of the U.S. border with Canada. No passport needed. Plenty of water, beaches, marine mammals, and friendly locals.

Morro Bay, California

Surf, lay on the beach, hike, kayak, or just sit back and eat and drink…it’s all possible here. Located along California’s central coast, you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood, great shopping, and reasonably-priced hotels.

Mesa, Arizona

Foodies love this place with its Fresh Foodie Trail. Offering all types of food and food-related festivals, it’s a destination all to its own.

Jasper and Banff National Parks, Canada

Alberta’s Highway 93, or Icefields Parkway, links these two North American national parks. Take the road trip between them for views unmatched most other places. Depending on the time of year…waterfalls to glaciers, lakes to wildlife.

Cleveland, Ohio

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…need I say more? Oh…and the food with its emphasis on Northern and Eastern European favorites.

Louisville, Kentucky

Hit the Urban Bourbon Trail to visit more than 30 of the city’s best whiskey bars and restaurants. Not all in one day…

Quebec City, Canada

Located along the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City showcases a historic, European-like vibe. Corner bistros, narrow streets, museums, and the Chateau Frontenac all add to the experience.

Orlando, Florida

In 2018 Orlando has new flight routes from Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit. It’s now easier to go see all the Disney destinations located here. And, there’s more than just Disney.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Super Bowl 52 on February 4 includes festivals, concerts, an interactive NFL theme park…and more. Come summer and the Summer X Games are here, along with the WNBA All Star Game, and the NCAA Volleyball Championships.

Malta

In the Mediterranean Sea between Europe’s mainland and Africa, this engaging capital of culture will host the year-long celebration in Valletta. Carnival, fashion week, maritime festival Pageant of the Seas, and more make this a destination for 2018.

Netherlands

New in 2018 are US to Amsterdam flights from Delta and KLM. Also new in the direct Eurostar high-speed train from London. Add in more than 45 major international events…what a trip.

South Korea

Winter Olympics…

Caribbean

Just because of all the hurricanes, many aren’t thinking of traveling here. As of now, more than 75 percent of the destinations here are already welcoming tourists. This might be the year to visit.

How about it? Are any of these on your list for 2018?