Travel Tips

Packing for your trip
  • If you are short on space, you can roll-up your socks and stuff them in your shoes.
  • Use zip-lock bags for your toiletries in case they spill during flight.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothing so that you don't have to pack it.
  • Pack anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel in your carry-on bag so that you can avoid picking up the viruses that are common in airports.
  • Bring your own headphones for listening to movies and music on the plane.  They will be more sanitary and you can often avoid paying the entertainment fee.
  • Pack a pair of earplugs in your carry-on bag in case you are seated near a crying baby.
  • Tie a distinctive, bright-colored luggage strap or ribbon to your bag so that it will be easier to spot when you arrive at baggage claim.
  • In addition to your luggage tag, place identification inside your bag in case the tag falls off.
  • Leave your unneeded credit cards at home for added security.
 
The airport
  • If you haven't already been assigned a seat, call the airline for an advanced seat assignment and reduce the risk of getting 'bumped' on overbooked flights.
  • When you are running late, use curb-side check-in to save time and hassle.
  • When you first arrive at the check-in counter, request that your bags be deemed "fragile."  This will keep them at the top of the pile and they will be among the first to come out in the baggage claim.
  • When asked if you want a window or aisle seat, ask for an exit seat.  You will get extra leg room without having to worry about the passenger in front of you reclining.
  • When checking-in, be sure to ask if there are any discounted first-class seats available.  Airlines will often drop the price of first-class seats at the last minute if they haven't been filled.
 
The airplane
  • Buy snacks and reading material before leaving for the airport.  They will cost less and you will have more variety to choose from.
  • Bring gum to chew during the flight altitude changes so that your ears have less trouble adjusting.
  • Place your frozen butter on top of the hot entree's aluminum foil to melt it before peeling off the foil. That way, you can spread it on your bread easily.
  • If you are going to consume alcoholic beverages, consume them in moderation. The lack of oxygen while flying greatly intensifies the effect of alcohol in your blood stream.
  • If you are on an overnight flight, and the plane is not too full, you can usually move around to a seat that has vacant seats on both sides and stretch out for a nice sleep. But note that you are required to keep a seatbelt on and visible.
 
Rental cars
  • Check with your auto insurance agent before your trip to determine if your insurance policy provides coverage for your rental car.
  • Some upper-level credit cards such as MasterCard Gold may be a source for excess or secondary insurance for a car rental, but only if you use the same credit card to rent the vehicle. Call your credit card company before leaving to find out their policies for car rentals.
  • Remember to fill up the gas tank of your rental car before returning it, or sign up for the prepurchase-of-gas option at the rental counter.
  • To get the best rate when applicable, reserve your car at a weekly rate instead of at a daily rate if possible, and reserve in advance.
  • If the rental car company is out of the class car you reserved you might be able to upgrade at no additional charge depending on what is available.  Remember, you reserved a rate in which the car company is obligated to.
  • Many car companies will provide you with an extra key if you ask for one.  This can come in handy if you have more than one driver.
 
The hotel
  • Make sure that your hotel is situated in a location that is easily accessible from the places you will be visiting/working.  The benefits of finding a cheaper hotel will be lost if a long taxi ride is required to get to your destination.
  • If you are traveling with your pet, check www.dogfriendly.com in advance to find a hotel that allows pets.
  • Call the hotel in advance to make sure there won't be any large conventions scheduled at the same time you will be arriving.
  • If you are traveling to celebrate a special event (like a birthday or anniversary), be sure to mention it to the reservationist.  A lot of times they will go the extra mile for customers with special circumstances.
  • Arrive early because the sooner you check-in, the better your chances will be of getting a room or suite that matches your preferences.
  • Apon check-in, ask the front desk if they have any room specials.  Hotels will often offer bargain upgrades at the last minute if they have extra rooms.
  • Always walk to your room under a fully lighted walkway and use the peephole in your door to identify visitors.
  • Carry the hotel's business card or pack of matches just in case you need help telling a taxi driver the name and location of the hotel.
 
Cancun trips
  • The sooner you check in at DIA (2 plus hours) the better your seats will be.
    If you have one of those delightful early morning flights, LaQuinta and Days Inn at DIA have park and fly rooms. For $69 a night you can get a room, hotel shuttle to DIA and park in the hotel’s parking lot for up to a week at no additional charge.
  • If you are not using a passport, make sure your driver’s license matches your state issued birth certificates. If it does not, provide a marriage license to cross-reference.
  • Request an exit row if possible for more legroom. Seating is tight on charters.
  • Upon arriving at the Cancun airport and getting your baggage, you will proceed to customs and immigration. There is a “traffic light” system for randomly choosing passengers who will be searched. If you get a green light you are good to go – if red you will be asked to open all of your carefully packed luggage.
  • Resist stopping at any of the booths on the way out – they are selling timeshares.
  • Proceed to the front door of the terminal and once outside look for people with tour signs (Apple Vacations, MLT WorryFree Vacations, Suntrips). You will give them your documents and they will take out the correct voucher.
  • The tour company will then take your luggage and load it onto the motor coach for your transfers to the hotel.
  • En route, the tour representative will give you an overview of the different activities that will be available. There is usually a Welcome Briefing and Orientation the same day or the next day letting you know your excursion options. This is a very valuable meeting to attend. At least one person from your party should go so that they can report back.
  • As soon as you get to your room, call the concierge to make reservations at the specialty restaurants. When dining a la carte, men are required to wear long pants (no jeans), collar shirts and shoes. There are usually 3 or 4 specialty restaurants that require reservations.
  • If you are not completely satisfied with the location of your room, you may request a different one and the hotel will do their best to accommodate you.
  • If there are more that 2 of you, it might be more economical to take a taxi or rent a car for a day to see the sites. As you will see, off property excursions can run between $35 and $200 per person. There are always local guides at the entrance to the parks and ruins that will show you around for a minimal fee.
  • You will have reciprocal (stay at one, play at all) privileges to visit properties associated with your hotel chain. If there are properties available on the island of Cozumel (Iberostar, Reef Club, and Occidental hotel chains) you can purchase ferry tickets for approx $10 per person and take the beautiful 30 minute ferry boat trip from Play del Carmen. You will take a taxi to the hotel and will be able to use their facilities for the day with your wristband. Cozumel is a great place to snorkel and/ or shop.
  • Swimming with the dolphins will require you to make reservations before going on your trip. I can help you make the arrangements. You can view a list of all excursions in your brochure, www.worryfreevacations.com, www.applevacations.com or www.suntrips.com and click on Optional Tours.
  • If you plan on snorkeling, take your own mask, snorkel and fins. It will save you the hassle of checking the equipment out and returning on a daily basis. The water is warm so you will not need a wetsuit.
 

Above all else - purchase travel insurance to avoid the unforeseen problems!

 

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