10 Great Travel Tips

I have been to 80 cities in 30 countries. I’m not a travel expert by any means, but I do have some travel advice for the next guy. The biggest tip I can give is to do your research. Most of the tips I’m going to provide fall in this category and will be explained in greater detail.

Check travel Warnings and Alerts.

Make sure it is safe to travel where you’re heading. Travel Warnings and Alerts are available at any of the regional passport agencies and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The information is also available online at the Department of State homepage. All information about travel warnings and alerts are updated constantly.

Register your trip. It is a free service provided by the State Department.

I don’t want to deter you from traveling, but there is a good number of tourists that disappear each year. By registering your trip, they will at least have a starting place to look if you go missing.

When traveling abroad, make sure you have the address and phone number of your local U.S. Embassy.

In an emergency you want to have this information readily available.

Before traveling, find out if your health insurance company will cover you in an emergency abroad.

In the event of an emergency, cost is not your first concern, I know. It is however, a third or fourth concern. I had a friend who traveled to Thailand and had to have an emergency appendectomy. He spent four days in a hospital in Bangkok and when he got home he had a bill for $20,000 that wasn’t covered by his U.S. provider. A travel insurance policy would have cut that cost to almost nothing.

Notify your credit card companies when traveling to unusual places or for long periods of time. The last thing you want to happen is to have your cards canceled by your credit card company because they believed the card had been stolen.

When checking your backpack at an airport, use a pack cover to prevent pockets opening and straps catching on conveyor belts. Now I can tell you from experience you don’t want to be the person at the airport collecting their pack that is open and ripped to shreds. To add insult to injury, my journal was missing and everyone in baggage claim saw what type of boxers I wear.

Keep 20 bucks in your shoe. In an emergency, $20 can get you a ride, meal, and a phone call. It hasn’t happened to me but I have met people with horror stories about being robbed abroad. With no money and no ID, they had to beg for a few bucks for a cab ride to the U.S. Embassy.

If your unsure about drinking the water where you’re going, use a water bottle with a filter. You can get one at any camping store. When I was in Egypt and I was kicking myself for not having one of these. Remember different countries have different organisms in the water that the locals’ bodies are used to. Forgieners might not have that same luck in drinking the water. When in doubt, drink bottled water with a name that you trust.

Go with the flow. Traveling, especially aboard is one of the best experiences you could possibly have. You’ll meet tons of travelers who just want to see the world and have a good time doing it. Be respectful of others and their beliefs when abroad because they might be different from your own. Be open minded and friendly and I guarantee you’ll have a great time.

Until my next article, cheers!

Women’s Travel Safety Tips

Women are traveling around the world more than ever before and even alone either for business or on a pleasure trip. However, this is also resulting into criminal incidences with women while on travel. It has become necessary to take safety precautions for a successful travel. Use the following  travel  safety  tips  to be as safe and secure as you feel in your town:

o  Travel  safety  tips  while in a culturally conservative country. Please make yourself familiar with the laws and customs of the places where you wish to go. Here are examples of two situations you may encounter with. It is illegal in few countries to invite persons of opposite sex to your hotel room. Police in Saudi Arabia can arrest foreigners for wearing “improper dress”. Avoid any obscene postures while on travel to an unknown place. Few countries have a public code of conduct and police at most tourist places discourage kissing in public.

o Women’s  travel  safety  tips  for clothes. There is no doubt that fashion makes a statement. However not everyone perceives fashion the way you do. People from different cultures consider the clothing, which you consider casual, as provocative or inappropriate. Jeans and t-shirt covering most of your bodies are a better option for travel clothing. Jeans is safer than a skirt or mini if you need to run or defend yourself.

o Blending yourself with public is the best safety measure during travel. Try to purchase a local dress and wear it sometimes to give an impression of being native or being familiar with the place. Always wear one or two local accessories such as hat, chains, and scarves.

o Safety devices  travel   tips  for women. Many safety devices available in market work as good self-defense arms. Pepper spray is a high-pressure extract of pepper. Its spray on assailant’s face would disable him for 5-6 minutes. There is stun gun with electrostatic high voltage charge. It will provide heavy shock to assailant and weaken his muscles.

o Use common sense and be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you are unsure in general about the local situation, feel free to check with the American Citizens Services section of the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the latest security information.

o Show confidence while talking to strangers. Criminals often look for weak women, who submit easily. Do not ignore any instance of eve teasing. If caught in a difficult situation, show bravery and boldness. Scream, fight and run as hard as possible.

Travel Tips – Money

By now you know where you’re going, when you’re off and where you’re going to be heading to and maybe even booked your accommodation. But you will still need access to more money while you’re away – there are souvenirs, entrance fees, local transport, meals,  tips , coffee’s, tea and scones, etc., etc. that you will need to pay for as you  travel  to all these incredible places you’re planning to visit.

Ensure you have at least two different sources of funds with you on your travels – it can be very frustrating if you lose your one and only credit card. So make sure you have two cards kept in two different places, backup cash, Travellers Cheques (see comment below re: travellers cheques) or a source of funds that can be sent to you at short notice from back home (we prefer the 2 card approach – mind you we use debit cards with an overdraft option rather than credit cards – travelling on credit means you can’t afford to travel). Make sure your card/s are Cirrus or Maestro affiliated and you will be able to draw out funds in any ATM anywhere in the world.

Always have some emergency cash money with you in US dollars, Japanese Yen or Euros – about US$500 should be sufficient to see you through if necessary.

Forget about Travellers cheques – they are an expensive way to carry and exchange money, many businesses today will NOT redeem them and too often the banks are closed when you need to cash some of them. But they are a very secure way of carrying money but are really not worth it.

ALWAYS use a money belt to secure your money and passport and make sure you wear it under your clothes – or buy a pouch that you can hang around your neck and under your shirt – keep it out of sight. They can be purchased at travel shops. It may be a bit difficult to get at your money but it is well worth the security they offer. DO NOT USE A BUM BAG! They can be taken from you in less than a second.

Some money saving ideas if on a budget Never change one currency for another in a third country. You will be slugged for the exchange fees twice over. Change US dollars for Indian Rupees in Singapore and they first; exchange your US Dollars into Singaporeans Dollars and slug you an exchange fee. Then they take those same Singaporean Dollars and exchange them into Indian Rupees and slug you another exchange fee – it ends up being very expensive for large exchange amounts. It is generally best to change currencies in your destination country (ie change your Australian Dollars into Japanese Yen in Japan).

Alcohol can be very expensive in some countries (like $12 for a glass of beer in some Scandanavian countries – not that cheap in the USofA either). Buy drinks in a supermarket or bottle shop and you can save a lot on money.

Wash clothes in the shower, wash basin or bath at your hotel and hang them up in the bedroom to dry. Using hotel or public laudromats can become expensive – if you can even find them.

Often places worth a visit can be free or have cut price days – check them out and get there when it’s cheapest.

Some restaurants don’t diplay their prices which can lead to gasps of dismay if you’re not careful. Either go and find a place to eat that advertises the price or ask.

Some restaurants will charge you for sitting down (common in Italy and France) so check it out before you sit or be safe and stand and eat/drink at the bar.

Always use phone cards when using phones, especially when phoning overseas. Costs can be cut by upwards of 80% by using these cards. Find the cheapest for the country you will be calling the most – home?

Things are always cheaper in the countryside so don’t hang about citys all the time. There are also wonderful places to go that are not Rome, LA, London, Tokyo or Berlin.

Buy food and clothes in markets as they are cheaper places to buy food than restaurants or even try a supermarket. Make up your own meals – try sitting on the bank of the Seine with a hunk of cheese and a French loaf you just bought at the local food market – blissful and cheap!

In poor countries it is safe to eat the local food! But make sure that it is either peelable fruit that YOU peal, fresh fruit (non-peelable) and vegetables that you have washed with bottled water or that the food is streaming hot – make sure you see it steaming as the heat will kill the germs that will cause you the most problems.

Travel Tips For the Business Traveler

Most business travelers already know the basics. You pack fairly light so you only have carry-on baggage. Not only does this save time, it can save dollars as well since most airlines are charging for luggage now. Another given is to eliminate airport lay-overs where possible. This eliminates much of the possibility of being stranded or missing a connection. If you do need to connect a flight, most business people schedule the departing flight as closely as possible to arrival in order to save time. Lastly, you can participate in the new ‘frequent travelers’ pre-cleared security program and avoid long security lines. Unfortunately, the world of travel today means you must make additional decisions beyond these basics.

With the airlines reduced scheduling making connections and layovers more necessary now, it means you may not want or be able to try to schedule that 1 hour layover any more. Especially if you are traveling in the winter from any Eastern airport or overseas where a missed connection may mean you cannot travel for a couple more days. So what is a good strategy for travel today?

Firstly, join an airline club or lounge program where it includes free WI-FI access. This enables you to safely build in time in your itinerary so you can relax and still work if you have a 3 hour layover. The added benefit is if your inbound flight is late, you still have a 2 hour cushion to catch your connecting flight. Again, booking non-stop is preferable but sometimes meetings require a quick stop somewhere and a non-stop flight is not possible. The double advantage of the reserved lounge is that you can spread out your work and conduct business from your laptop and cell phone.

Never use the airlines baggage system. Just one time that they lose (even temporarily) your bags and your trip is ruined. And if you have to run from one concourse to another, there is nothing worse that waiting for your checked bag to appear. But, if you MUST check a bag, use the curbside check in wherever possible. This will speed you through check in and allow you to go straight to security. Ideally, you have an e-ticket and will check in at the gate, so carry ons are preferable to checked bags here too.

If you have to go through security, plan ahead. Put your phone, change, comb and any small items in your carry on. Don’t waste time scooping up 38 cents in change plus paper clips, keys, notes, candy, medicines etc from the conveyor belt. Wear pants that don’t fall to your feet when you have to take your belt off and wear slip on shoes instead of laced ones.

Make sure you mobile phone and laptop are fully charged. If you have a layover, use this time to re-charge them while you eat. These simple  tips  followed each time you  travel  will result in HOURS or saved time for you and as a businessperson, you know time is money!

Travel – Family Air Travel Tips

Air travel with young children could be a source of stress for travelling parents. The following tips are aimed at helping parents and children have an easier travel. Arriving at the airport two or one hours before the scheduled time is very important. Your kids will have enough time to familiarize with the area and you will have all the time to buy snacks. You should always remember to carry passports for your travel, including Identification Cards for adults. Remember to pack all the important documents for your family members such as emergency telephone numbers and medical records.

Carry non-perishable snacks for the kids since most airlines have no snacks. Most airline recommend snacks like; dried fruits, puffed wheat and sliced cheese. Carry powdered milk and treated water for mixing, avoid using tap water from the plane since you are not sure if the water is treated. In order to allow good comfort for your child, carry a light blanket, jacket or a sweater which is easy to wear or remove depending on the temperature on the plane. Small kids get bored quickly therefore, pack a small bag with favorite toys and story books within your bag. If you have an entertaining book or magazine for you and the kids, this will be very interesting especially if you assist them in answering some of the questions in the magazines.

While passing through various check points, one parent can queue the line while the other looks after the children on the open spaces of the lounge. All the members of the family should however stay close in case the travel agents need to see all the passengers. Parents travelling with their baby in a carrier car seat should keep the car seat with them till they reach their destination. Make sure your trolley has a tag will all the necessary information such as address, name and your contacts and if possible, pack the trolley in your bag.

If your flight has delayed after boarding, ask the flight staff whether the kids can play on the plane to avoid boredom and try to engage them on a quiet play. To reduce the ear pressure when the plane is taking off, give chewing gum to big children and milk to small babies. You can also tell stories, sing quietly or sooth them to sleep. Give the children toys only when they ask for them. Give them one item at a time to keep them busy.

Travel Tips: Travel Safety

Travel Safety

When you travel the odds are you will have a safe and incident-free trip. However, if you are not aware of basic travel safety you can become a victim of crime or violence. If you exercise discretion, aren’t overly trusting, and don’t put yourself into risky situations, your travels should be safe and worry free. Don’t travel afraid – travel carefully.

Following are some of my suggestions to help you travel safely.

1. Luggage tags – never put your home address and phone number as this advertises the fact that you will be out of the country. I put my business address and phone number and I use a tag that has a cover.

2. Never leave your luggage unattended.

3. Travel light. Limit your luggage to 1 checked bag and a small carry.I find this allows me to move quickly, to have a free hand and avoid injury due to heavy lifting.

4. Dress down. Don’t wear expensive jewelry as this only attracts attention. I leave my valuables at home and take costume jewelry.

5. Never wear name tags in public.

6. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. Beware of unmarked cabs.

7. If taking a taxi, sit behind the driver so that you can see him, but he can’t see you.

8. If driving, park in well-lit and well-traveled areas

9. Don’t use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.

10. Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.

11. Do not give your room number or any other personal information in public. When giving my room number to travel companions I say it quietly away from others or write it on a piece of paper and hand it to them privately.

12. If staying alone in a hotel room, request a lower floor, near the elevator. If my room is at the far end of the hallway I insist on having it moved closer to the elevator for personal safety.

13. Keep door locked at all times and use safety chains. I place an item in front of the door at night as the noise of it being moved will arouse me if someone tries to enter my room.

14. Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room. Know how to report a fire, and be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located.Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit; this could be a lifesaver if you have to crawl through a smoke-filled corridor.

15. If you are alone, do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious-looking person inside.

16. Take note of the hotel name, address and telephone number. If you become disoriented you can go into a shop or ask a local authority for directions back to your hotel. I pick up a card from the front desk or have the hotel clerk write the information on a piece of paper for me.

17. Never flash your money in public, when paying for items remove it discreetly from your wallet or purse.. I always wear a fanny pack and keep a small amount of cash in here to pay for incidentals.

18. Wear a money belt to keep your valuables safe. I keep my passport, credit cards, insurance information and cash in my money belt and use my fanny pack for small bits of cash.

19. Let the bag go. If some grabs your bag let it go. If you fight back you risk being injured.

20. Don’t carry a purse over your shoulder or hang it over the back of a chair. If I am carrying a purse I keep it in the front of my body and turn the zippered part inwards, when dining I keep it on my lap.

21. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and watch for pick pockets. They usually work in pairs and distract you. They will ask directions or play the bump and grab routine, one person bumps you while the other grabs your purse or picks you pocket.

22. Never accept food or drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.

23. Learn the local laws and customs. When traveling you’re subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to visit.

24. Leave all unnecessary pieces of identification at home. I only take my passport, insurance information and 1 credit card and 1 debit card. Leave your driver’s license (if not renting a car), social insurance, health card and credit cards not being used at home.

25. Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and hotel contact information with a family member or close friend.If anything should they know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you.

26. Copy your passport, insurance information, credit and debit card numbers and emergency contact numbers.Take one copy with you and keep it separate from the originals.Leave a copy with a family member or close friend. If you lose any of these items this makes it much easier to cancel the cards or have your passport replaced.

27. In case of an accident, make sure you have completed the information page on the inside of your passport. Include the name, address and telephone number of someone to be contacted in an emergency.

28. Register with your government. The Canadian Government offers this services that they can contact and assist you in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home. Click on the following link to register.

https://www.voyage2.gc.ca/Registration_inscription/Register_Inscrire/Login_ouvrir-une-session-eng.aspx?LanguageCode=4105r

Travel Tips

When you  travel  a lot like I do, you come to depend on habits and  tips  to keep everything going smoothly. Recently while I was at 30,000 feet I started thinking about my very best practices that make the biggest difference in my travel experiences.

1. Ritualize your travel – While going to new places can be one of life’s biggest joys, it is also filled with the unfamiliar, which can create stress. Rituals and routines provide a sense of comfort and control that can be very helpful. The fewer decisions you have to make, the more energy you have. That’s why I have all sorts of travel rituals. I always park in the same general area at the airport. I try to fly on the same airline and I purchase the same snacks at the same airport shops. I even try to fly through the same connector cities with airports I prefer. Once in my hotel room I immediately unpack my things before heading out. And even though I never order from room service, I always read the menu. Cumulatively, these rituals help to offset the stress of travel and put me in the right frame of mind to explore. They’re an important part of my process.

2. Bond with people over places – As a visitor you have instant intrigue. You are the novelty. By letting it be known you’re “not from around here,” you open doors to conversations that allow you to meet others, connect and uncover hidden gems about your destination. When you travel, people always want to know where you’re from, which can lead to all sorts of interesting conversations, including where they’re originally from and all the things you might have in common. Geography is something we all share and it’s a great way to break the ice in any new situation.

3. Numerate your pleasure – The ultimate gift of travel is that it expands you as a person and leads to greater self-awareness. I’ve noticed that sometimes the amount of fun I expected to have is different from the reality, so I started using a simple numbered approach to help me learn what I most enjoy. How? I simply pick a number between one and 10 that reflects how much I expect to enjoy an activity, and then, after it’s done, I pick a number between one and 10 to reflect how much I truly did enjoy it. This simple habit has helped me learn that I derive a lot of joy from wandering around cities solo, something I had no idea I even liked. I also discovered that I love sitting in cafes or restaurants for hours people-watching and writing. Before I picked up the numeration habit I never scheduled time for that. But now I always do.

4. Talk to everyone – As a travel writer, I couldn’t write a good story without getting the inside scoop from those in the know. And quite often those in the know are your waiter, your concierge, the person who checks you into your hotel or the guy driving your cab. You don’t have to be a travel writer to take a moment to chat them up about their towns. Ask what is new and cool, what people are talking about, what experiences are not-to-be-missed. People generally welcome a genuine interest in their area of expertise and you gain so much by reaching out.

5. Keep some open time – Once you find out about the fantastic new restaurant you’ll want to make sure to visit. But that can’t happen if you’re already committed to other restaurants every night of your stay. By leaving yourself some free time you can take advantage of sudden opportunities. Even if you spend your free time napping in your room, you’ll be more refreshed and cenetered for when you do venture out.

Air Travel Tips For Children – Tips For Traveling With Kids

Dress the kids in comfortable clothes. Even if you are going to visit grandma and you want to impress her with your very best outfits, just carry these in your carry-on luggage and change after you arrive. It makes for a much less stressful trip if everyone is comfortable.

Don’t forget to bring along an extra sweater or jacket as airplanes and airports can be cold. You may encounter an unexpected delay, better to be prepared. If you get stuck in an airport without a jacket and it is unusually cold, just purchase a sweatshirt in the gift shop. As you board the plane, grab pillows and blankets. They sometimes run short. Better yet, bring a travel blanket and pillow along if you have some space in your carry-on.

Make sure your kids realize that the “bumps” they will feel in the air are normal and nothing to get upset over. For more air  travel   tips , children find the prospect of flying very exciting, so you can add some fun to the week before by counting down to the day of the trip using a calendar.

Bring a few toys and/or books to keep your child occupied during the flight. If you have an iPod you can download audio books at places like audible.com and let them listen to a story during the flight. If you buy the unabridged versions these can be long enough to last the entire trip!

Chewing some gum can help with the pressure build-up in the ears. Try to arrange nonstop flights if possible. Things can get hectic trying to get yourself and your kids off one plane and onto another. And a long layover will create boredom. Air  travel  with children doesn’t have to be stressful, just follow these  tips  and plan ahead, and you can have a safe and easy trip.

Travel Expertly – Tips on How to Avoid Jet Lag

Avoiding jet lag when you’re flying coast-to-coast or around the world is definitely possible if you know how to do it. A survey by Conde Naste said that 93% of travelers get jet lag and even 96% of flight attendants get it as well. Jet lag is no fun as it can affect your ability to enjoy your vacation if you get sidelined by the extreme tiredness that often accompanies adjusting to long flights across many time zones.

My first true experience with jet lag occurred on my first trip overseas to London and after that experience, I vowed to learn the secrets of avoiding jet lag. I had a red eye flight from JFK to Heathrow and arrived at my hotel around mid-day. I was so extremely tired when I checked in to my hotel that I proceeded to take a very long nap. This was exactly the wrong thing for me to do as it took several days before I eased into the rhythm and flow of London’s time zone. I’ve since learned a lot of tips for avoiding jet lag and no longer have my trips sidelined by it.

First, you need to know that traveling across different time zones is the number one cause of jet lag. It happens most frequently by going from the west to the east, but you can get jet lag by traveling east to west also. Second, I have learned that a huge reason for experiencing jet lag, at least for me, is purely psychological but that does not mean there are not physiological reasons impacting the feeling of jet lag as well.

Here are some tips that I’ve collected and applied over the years that seem to work very well. I used these tips for avoiding jet lag when I traveled from Los Angeles to Finland and back in four days for a video shoot with Travel Editor Peter Greenberg. I produced a “Search for Santa” segment at the Arctic Circle featuring Peter for ABC-TV’s Home Show.

1. Get little or no sleep the night before you travel. Believe it or not, this is a great tip for avoiding jet lag. I usually have so much to do the night before I take a long flight, that I stay up very late the night before my trip taking care of last minute details such as packing my suitcases and taking care of lots of odds and ends. This activity has actually served me very well as I then find it very easy to fall asleep on the plane and arrive at my destination ready to take in the sights. By sleeping on the plane, it helps me to quickly adjust to the new time zone that I’m traveling to and it’s very helpful for avoiding jet lag.

2. Take a Tylenol PM or Melatonin to help you sleep on the plane. I find that if I have a little help with a sleep aid to induce a nice relaxing sleep, I get the rest and sleep I need while I’m on a flight and this is very helpful for avoiding jet lag. For me, that means just ONE Tylenol P.M. or about 15mg of Melatonin (with one-to-two 5HTPs) but you should use it responsibly. I get Schiff’s Melatonin at Costco and it’s very inexpensive and I will sometimes take Melatonin throughout my vacation to help reduce the effects of jet lag as it helps me adjust my sleep pattern for the new time zone.

Before you rely on Tylenol PM or Melatonin for a trip, you really need to take them for a “test spin” before your flight to determine if they are effective for you or not. I initially tried these sleep aids on a Friday night when I knew I could sleep in or relax on a Saturday if they made me too tired after taking them. This is VERY important to do this. The recommended dosage on a Tylenol P.M. is TWO tablets. I have NEVER taken two tablets because one tablet is more than enough to induce sleep for me. I only want to get a good night’s sleep. I do not want to feel groggy for an entire day so that’s why you personally have to determine how your body will respond to this suggestion. I’m also personally not a fan of the prescription sleep medications so I can’t comment on using them for this purpose.

3. Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeine when you fly. Drinking alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas during your flight will dehydrate you and contribute to your feeling of jet lag – so just don’t drink these beverages on your travel day. I know that sounds harsh but you certainly don’t want to drink alcohol (including wine and beer) if you’re taking Tylenol P.M. Now, if you must have a cup of coffee, then wait and have your brew in the morning right before you’re arriving at your destination when the flight attendants are serving breakfast. Save the drinking for fun spots, swim up bars, pubs and dining out when you get to your vacation destination. If you don’t follow this travel tip for avoiding jet lag, then you will really pay for it on your vacation.

4. Do drink plenty of water. It is very important that you drink plenty of water when you fly as dehydration will contribute to your physical feelings of jet lag. Some airlines try to keep passengers hydrated on long flights by coming around with water, but they don’t usually do a very good job of coming around enough and that’s why I always make sure I have at least one-to-two liters of water with me. I also ask for extra water when the flight attendants come around offering drinks. Drinking plenty of water while I’m on a coast-to-coast or international flight greatly contributes to avoiding jet lag.

5. As you travel, slowly start setting your watch ahead to the correct time zone at your vacation destination. This is the single most important tip to avoiding jet lag. You should slowly start setting your watch ahead an hour or two during your flight to the correct time at your destination. Make sure that you have your watch set for your destination’s time zone several hours before you actually arrive as you will be psychologically set to jump right into the new time zone. I’ve used this tip for avoiding jet lag for over twenty years and it works wonders at alleviating jet lag for me whether I’m traveling coast-to-coast or flying half-way around the world. In my opinion, most jet lag is purely psychological and getting your mind fixed on the new time zone is one of the easiest things to do to avoid jet lag.

6. If you arrive at your vacation destination in the morning or afternoon, do NOT go bed when you arrive at your hotel. I made this mistake only once and learned my lesson quickly. Drop your suitcases at your hotel and then go out and explore your destination for the day. Take a double-decker bus tour and get a quick orientation to your city or lay on the beach for the day. Have an early dinner and then go to bed early your first night at your vacation destination. You’ll sleep a very good sleep and be quickly adjusted to the new time zone by morning.

Finally, make sure that you get up and move around while on a long flight because sitting in a cramped position for hours at a time only adds to the misery of getting jet lag and could also have some very serious (even deadly) implications. Get some exercise while you are on your flight. You can twist and stretch out to keep your muscles relaxed or walk up and down the cabin if possible every once in a while. This can keep your feet from swelling up.

Now I don’t know if these tips will work for you, but I can tell you that they’ve worked for me for years and I have yet to experience jet lag at my vacation destination since implementing these tips for avoiding jet lag. Just remember, you don’t need to let jet lag ruin your business trip or vacation. If you use these tips suggested here for avoiding jet lag, you will enjoy your trip!

Air Travel Tips For Your Dog

Traveling by air with a pet can be a challenge. If you have a dog small enough to fit comfortably in an airline approved carrier that slides under the seat in front of you, it’s much easier. If your dog is not a service animal or small enough to travel in-cabin, you’re almost better off to drive to the destination. Placing an animal in cargo has a mountain of risks associated with it.

There are actual horror stories about the trauma animals have suffered during air travel by cargo. There was a period of time where it seemed these stories where prevalent in news headlines. Most airlines have since attempted to improve their service to animals in cargo but there are still many factors they cannot control. To begin with the stress from simply being separated from you can be devastating to a dog. Add to that the air temp which will usually be extreme to one end of the thermostat or the other and the noise of it all is a definite recipe for disaster. God forbid you should hit turbulence while flying with a pet in cargo! I can’t even imagine what goes through their minds being isolated, cold (or hot) and dealing with the deafening sounds of the jet engines accompanied by the banging and rattling of other cargo items! By the time you land, you have an animal who is a nervous wreck at best. Personally I would never recommend flying with an animal who has to be taken to cargo.

If you have a small dog, it can still be challenging, especially if the dog has never flown before and is an adult. But if he or she knows you are right there with them, it helps. The first thing you need to do is find out the airlines policy on traveling with pets. Each airline is different. They have restrictions on the types of pet, size of the pet and the number of pets allowed per carrier as well as carrier requirements. But all airlines have one common rule; the animal is NOT to be removed from the carrier while in flight. Now granted, while I was traveling with my 3 month old Chihuahua, I would stick him inside my jacket and hold him during the flight on the first 3 or 4 trips he took to help ease his nervousness. But this was all done on the down low; added attention was not what I needed! I avoided letting the person sitting next to me be aware of what I was doing, let alone any flight attendants!

Once you know the airline rules, research the airports you will be in. Pay close attention to the airports where you will have long layovers. Many airports are pet friendly enough to provide pet relief stations. You typically need someone’s assistance to reach these areas, but if the dog needs a potty break he can get one. I actually trained my dog to use puppy pads so if a pet area was not available I could take him to the rest room and put him on a puppy pad. Or while sitting at the gate I could lay down a puppy pad under my seat to help avoid unwanted accidents. Some airports tag themselves as pet friendly and will allow you to put your dog on a leash while in the terminal. Restaurants can be another challenge, but most will allow a pet in as long as it remains in the carrier and on the floor. Others are friendlier and may even be willing to provide a bowl of water. If you travel with your pet regularly you will learn where your best pet friendly options are.

If this is the first flight or first trip for your pet, do not go buy a carrier the night before and then stuff the dog in it the next day for the first time and expect to have a good trip. Buy a carrier well enough in advance that you can let the dog get used to it beforehand. Leave it in the house with the door open so he or she can explore it. Place a familiar blanket or t-shirt in it along with a toy and chew stick. Chew toys can be useful in allowing the dog a way to release nervousness. Since they will be spending multiple hours in the carrier, being comfortable and feeling secure will help the trip.

One of the best things you can do is limited what your dog eats and when; especially on the first trip or if your dog is a nervous traveler. We have one Chihuahua, my husbands, who does not travel as much as my little guy does. My husband took him on his first trip and it was a horrible experience for both of them. Not quite realizing how nervous he would be, my husband allowed him to have breakfast just before leaving. Well let’s just say there was a very stinky and messy incident which thankfully took place prior to boarding. Had the incident happened while on the plane, it would NOT have been a good scene! Limit what you give your dog to eat if he or she is not experienced with air travel. If your trip will take most of the day and you want to feed him something, feed him at least 3 hours prior to leaving for the airport. The best solution is to avoid feeding him or her until you get to your destination. If nerves do become a problem he or she won’t get hungry anyway.

Withholding food is easy enough, but withholding water is another story. You will want to be able to offer your dog a drink at least once during the trip. Nerves can cause them to get thirsty which if not satisfied leads to more stress. You can find collapsible bowls or measuring cups that work excellent for traveling. When not in use they collapse flat for easy storage. Allow enough water to keep him hydrated.

Another good trick is to actually allow for time to stop by a park before you get to the airport. Let your dog out to run off some energy and take care of business before getting to the airport. This will at the very least give him or her the opportunity to empty the bladder! Releasing some energy is good as well since it might help him or her calm down a bit once you get to the airport. If you anticipate your pet being nervous you can also check with your veterinarian about a mild sedative to help calm the nerves. Although I personally have never had any luck with this option. Your presence, along with being attentive and reassuring them that everything is okay, can often times be enough to help with the nervousness. If you are familiar with essential oils, you may be able to provide some relaxing and calming aromatherapy during the trip also.

Don’t be afraid to let people know if the pet is nervous and should be left alone. In my experience most flyers are aware of this fact and cautious about petting unfamiliar animals. Children are the biggest problem I have; not all of them have been raised to understand the boundaries of approaching unfamiliar pets. If the parent is not keeping an eye on them, they can get very excited about seeing a dog in the airport and try to pet him. If your pet is nervous, even if you do not believe they would bite someone, play it safe, politely ask people to leave him alone. The last thing you need during your trip is a stranger who has been bitten by your otherwise friendly and loving companion! Stress can have an enormous impact on their normal behavior.

With consideration to these primary concerns, some patience and understanding, you can help reduce the stress both you and your pet may experience during your first air travel trip.