Jul 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Travel With Less Hassle

I have written a couple of blogs on tips and ideas that can help prevent a great trip from turning into a miserable one.  This listing is not in any order.  Experienced senior travelers, especially those  who are world-wise vacationers, know many of the little tricks that help make a trip a positive and memorable  one. Books have been written on Travel Tips and Barnes & Noble is a good place to start looking if you are interested in an organized listing.  Fodors has one called 1,000 Smart Travel Tips. I am hoping that even if you discover only two or three below to add to your own, this blog will be worth my time of putting it together.

Most of these tips have to do with international travel and focus on seniors who are preparing to leave the country for the first time.

  • First, draw up a rough itinerary on how you will be spending your days and what you want to see and do.  Don’t plan on doing this once you arrive overseas.
  • Then…anticipate the weather.  For instance if you are going to London be prepared for rainy days and pack accordingly.  A mental list is never as efficient as a written one. Think about everything you’ll need to have with you from travel kits to chargers for your camera and/or iPhone.
  • Be sure you know the currency of the country you are going to visit.
  • Have an electrical converter that will work with your charger.  NOT an adapter, but a Converter.
  • Packing: Never pack valuables and don’t take anything with you that you can not afford to lose.  Don’t wear expensive jewelry as it will draw attention to thieves. Know the local fashion taboos. You don’t wear shorts into the Vatican or a hat into Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Forget that electric shaver or toothbrush and use the “old fashion” kind. Don’t pack prescription medicines, keep them close by. You can have a vegetarian or kosher meal on the plane if you contact the airline ahead of time.
  • Luggage: Consider borrowing luggage instead of buying new. Are you going to travel with a carry-on and not check larger bags?  It is so much easier and faster to go with just a carry-on, but packing becomes extremely important with what you put into that bag. I can not stress enough the importance of a sturdy name tag on your bag(s).  Be sure that this information is also inside your bag(s). Tear off the old airline tags. If you check bags, know the destination three letter code and DO check it to make sure your bag is going where you are headed.  Tie something colorful around the handle like a red hanky. Carry a couple small plastic bags inside for wet clothing, for food items or for carrying purchases.  Zipper bags are great. You already know about the 3 ounce limit on any toiletry, right? They will confiscate it if it is larger. And don’t carry a pocket knife, even in your carry-on. It’ll be gone too. In Japan they measured my blade, took it away and gave it back to me upon arrival at another airport. Not here.
  • Don’t carry containers that are completely full to the top.  They’ll surely leak at high altitudes.  Put them into a plastic bag too, maybe even wrap them with a paper towel.  Carry a small sewing kit in case of a small tear or a loose button. My wife would be the one to show you how to pack your bag efficiently as she is the world expert and the folding technique is extremely important (go online). Louis Vuitton has some great ideas that he wants  to share. There is a real art of packing well.
  • Hand carry important documents in your neck pouch (passport, airline tickets, vouchers, hotel confirmations, traveler’s checks, etc.). Ladies, don’t sling your purse over your shoulder.  Keep it close to your body under your arm and elbow. Start out with some local currency.  Your local bank will help you with that. ATM machines work well once abroad. Let your bank know that will be making charges overseas;  otherwise they might just put a hold on your credit card account(s).  Carry your billfold in your left front pocket, better yet wear slacks that have a secret zipper on that pocket that secures your money.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, an extra pair of contact lenses and a written list of the hotels address and phone numbers where you will be staying. Leave a copy of this information with friends back home along with a copy of your passport… just in case.  Carry an extra copy yourself in your pouch and/or carry-on. Two pair of shoes…NO MORE. Switch often for the benefit of your feet.
  • Your jacket should be both a wind-breaker and water proof shell in case of rain, with a hood. Carry a can opener and a couple of plastic spoons to enjoy a snack in a park. That’s enough for now.  I’ll focus more on getting there and passing through the airport, in the plane and what to do “IF” scenarios later.  My travel website might be of help to you as it is loaded with lots of ideas.  Alors, Bon Voyage! jeb

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