Welcome to the February 2007 issue of "Smart Traveler". The newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.
Healthy While Flying
seasoned traveler knows all too well how daunting air travel can
be. Airplanes are like germ incubators, and their dry, cramped
conditions make the flying experience far from comfortable. Here
are some tips on how to sustain wellness in the air.
Oftentimes passengers will
experience flu-like symptoms shortly after they’ve boarded the
plane. These headaches, sluggishness, light-headedness, sore
throats, coughing, dry lips, and dry or watery eyes are in fact due
to the elbow-to-elbow seating and lack of fresh air that only an air
cabin could so effectively create. The culprit here is an increased
level of carbon dioxide--brought about by those very conditions of
limited air and too many people sharing it. To make matters worse,
the air at soaring altitude is drier than the atmosphere above the
Sahara. Dehydration can easily exacerbate any of the above symptoms.
Some tricks to prevent these
plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during, and after your
flight. Not only will you feel better, but keeping up your fluid
reserves also helps your body ward off a whole other host of
maladies. Staving off dehydration will also decrease your risk of
getting jet lag.
- If need be,
slap on some moisturizer and lip balm to combat the dry air in the
- If you wear
glasses, don’t fly with contacts--don your specs instead. Contacts
will only dry out and further irritate itchy or burning eyes.
- If your
budget allows, fly in first or business class, where fewer people
share air space and seating is much more spacious. If you’re
flying coach, request a seat in an emergency exit row--the
roomiest of all rows.
- Don’t leave
home without your inhaler if you have asthma.
- If you’re
on a connecting flight and have sufficient time, try to get as
much fresh air as you can between connections.
- Clear your
head with a hot, steamy shower after you land.
- Avoid smoky
bars when you reach your destination or while you wait for a
Dehydration also weakens the immune
system. Cramped conditions breed the contraction of germs. Cabin air
pressure can wreak havoc on your ears. As a result, colds, as well
as sinus and ear infections, often inflict passengers. To minimize
the discomfort of pressure building in your ears, here’s how to make
them pop: Pinch your nostrils closed and inhale deeply. Then exhale
through your nose, blowing out in short, firm bursts until you feel
your ears pop. Yawning, drinking liquids, and chewing gum also help.
It’s generally not a good idea to
fly while you’re suffering from a cold. Passengers sitting in close
proximity to those with colds are clearly at risk for catching bugs.
If you must fly, pop a decongestant tablet or use a nasal spray (not
one containing an antihistamine, which would induce drowsiness)
before and after your flight.
Precautions for Kids
Kids are especially susceptible to
germs, and it’s more difficult for them to make their ears pop
during takeoff and landing. This can make ascent and descent
painful--even dangerous--for a child with congested sinuses. If your
child is suffering from a cold or the flu, keep her on the ground
until she gets better (if that’s an option). If you must travel with
your little one as scheduled, give him an oral child’s decongestant
an hour before ascent and descent or administer a spray decongestant
before and during takeoff and landing.
Fast Pass Through Airport Security
The long awaited
Registered Traveler program
, which allows screened
participants to go through a special, faster security
line officially opened for business at 5 Airports
Travelers who join the Clear® Registered
Traveler program are pre-screened for
security and provided with a biometric
card which will allow them to pass
through security faster, with more
predictability and less hassle.
Clear lanes at security checkpoints are
open every day. For more information on
hours, locations and enrollment at each
airport, click any airport below.
Clear lanes are coming soon to:
Clears first year price is $99.95
(includes a $28.00 TSA vetting fee). You
can lock-in this rate by purchasing a
two year membership for $199.90 or three
years for $299.85.
For the frequent flyer, this could be
terrific and as the program grows it
will mean shorter security lines for the
rest of us.
We will monitor the Registered
Traveler program and let you know when
"Clear" comes to an airport near you.
with a Laptop
These days, being
a business traveler means lugging around a lot of expensive
equipment, including cell phones, electronic datebooks, laptop
computers, and more. Here's a few suggestions on how to keep one of
your most valuable business-related items safe and secure.
help keep thieves at bay, it's always smart to keep your laptop in a
case that doesn't immediately identify it as a computer. The same
advice holds true for cameras, VCRs, and other expensive equipment
you might take on your business travels.
When entering a metal detector at the airport, do
not put your laptop on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed. Rather,
ask the security guard to conduct a manual search of the computer
and any other electronic equipment you may have with you.
Once on the airplane, keep your laptop nearby.
Don't store computers in overhead bins because they can get thrown
around during the flight. So when you're not furiously typing away
on a business proposal--or playing solitaire--keep your computer
underneath the seat in front of you.
Always travel with extra batteries and call the
hotel ahead of time to make sure it has modems and data ports
available in guest rooms or in the hotel business center. Also, if
you plan on doing a lot of work in your room, pack an extension
cord so you can use the laptop from your preferred spot,
regardless of where the outlet is located. In a pinch, move the
furniture to suit your needs.
Keep in mind that outside of North America, you may
encounter phone jacks that are incompatible with your modem. Be
sure to check out what kinds of adapters you may need before
you go. And read up on more information about modem
Bumped off the ship
You may have heard of being bumped off an airline
flight, but did you know you could be bumped off a cruise ship?
Indeed, you can.
The most publicized case of cruise bumping occurred
when Carnival Cruise Lines canceled sailings for three ships over a
six-month period so the vessels could house New Orleans residents
displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Carnival offered its bumped
customers full refunds and the opportunity to rebook their cruises
on any Carnival ship. Guests who rebooked received a $100-per-person
shipboard credit. Carnival notes that the majority of guests
understood the extraordinary circumstances and booked other Carnival
But most bumps don’t go so gently, especially when
some passengers get bumped and others don’t. So who gets bumped —
The usual reason is overbooking, sometimes it’s when
a charter group turns up. Other reasons include itinerary changes on
multi-segment cruises and changes in vessel availability. The
luckless “bumpee” can be just about anyone. The decision can depend
to how a passenger booked his cruise, what cabin category he’s in,
and even how he booked his airline tickets.
The law is on the side of the ship owner
There are no federal or state laws prohibiting a
cruise line from bumping passengers because of overbooking. Each
cruise line has its own bumping policies, which are stated in the
terms and conditions of it passenger contract.
So what is the poor bumped traveler to do?
Travelers find ways to get what they want
First, dig in your heels. You don’t have to go down
without a fight.
We advises all clients to either refuse to be bumped
or to negotiate for upgrades, refunds, shipboard credits, pre-cruise
lodging — or whatever compensation would make the client happy.
“It’s just like an airline bump, but much more is involved and it is
a bigger investment,”.
There is no travel insurance policy that covers
getting bumped off a cruise.
Travel Guard, one of the largest travel insurers, specifically
excludes from its cruise coverage any travel arrangements changed or
canceled by the cruise line.
The best defense against an unwanted bump is a good
travel agent — one who will advocate for you and throw the weight of
the agency’s future business behind you. After all, cruise lines
worry about getting the heave-ho, too.
Remember: Without a travel agent you're on
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