Welcome to the June 2007 issue of "Smart Traveler". The newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.
Ten Commandments of Travel
They may not get you into heaven, but
these can improve your travel and your image.
Travelers the world over have been squawking for a Passenger's Bill
of Rights for many years. However the airlines, cruise lines, car
rental agencies and the hotel industry are not always the devils in
the travel realm. The devils are often the travelers themselves.
1. Thou shalt promise to be a
smart traveler and shalt not succumb to the temptation of phony
"last-minute travel deals." Neither shalt thou fall for the
"become-a-travel-agent-and-travel-for-free" deal. Remember, also,
that if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Thou shalt promise to
ignore all those seemingly friendly people in Cancun who want to
give you a "free ride" to your hotel.
3. Thou shalt promise to
understand (and look up in the dictionary, if necessary) the meaning
of "nonrefundable" as it pertains to your travel bookings.
4. Thou shalt promise to
remember that your safety is not the responsibility of the cruise
line, the FBI, the Aruban government or even your flight attendant.
Your safety may be their priority, but it is your responsibility.
5. Thou shalt understand that
the people in the brochure are not going to be vacationing with you.
If ye seek beachgoers in thongs, ye will likely find overweight,
hirsute seniors in thongs — and they will be equally proportioned
6. Thou shalt understand that
weather happens and that yelling at your travel agent, front desk
clerk or the bus driver will not change it. If a climate-controlled
vacation is what you want, stay in your living room.
7. Thou shalt not complain
about Mexicans speaking Spanish in Mexico, Italians speaking Italian
in Italy, or Japanese speaking Japanese in Japan. Thou shalt further
promise to learn a few phrases in the local language yourself so as
not to come off looking like an ignorant American.
8. Thou shalt exchange your
currency for the local currency and use it. Aside from much of the
Caribbean and some places in Mexico, most of the world does not want
U.S. money — it really isn't worth that much!
9. Thou shalt promise to be
polite to all travel workers you encounter, including hotel staff,
airline staff and cruise staff.
10. Thou shalt promise to keep
your papers in order. Confirmations and vouchers should be kept
handy and not packed in your suitcase.
11. Thou shalt remember that
when something does go wrong, you should complain about it
immediately — not after stewing about it for weeks after you get
12. Thou shalt control thine
offspring. Traveling with your kids is a lot of fun, but please, try
to keep them in check.
OK, so there are Twelve
Commandments, but hey, travel often seems more challenging than
leading a good and moral life.
Citizens with pending passport applications
allowed temporary travel flexibility within western hemisphere.
U.S. Departments of State and
announced June 7,
2007 that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean,
have applied for but not yet received passports
can nevertheless temporarily enter and
depart from the
United States by air with a government issued photo identification
and Department of State official proof of application for a passport
through September 30, 2007.
government is making this accommodation for air travel due to longer
than expected processing times for passport applications in the face
of record-breaking demand.
is available to Americans traveling by air and returning from
Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
U.S. citizens who
take advantage of this accommodation will need to present the
official proof of passport application to air carriers and to
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at air ports of entry.
Such individuals may be subject to secondary inspection.
Adults who have
applied for but not yet received a passport should present
government-issued photo identification and an official proof of
application from the U.S. Department of State. Children under the
age of 16 traveling with their parents or legal guardian will be
permitted to travel with the child’s proof of application.
What will be
acceptable proof of application for a passport?
A print-out of the
online status check accessed at
application has been received by the Department of State.
receipt from the local post office or passport agency will not be
people who haven’t yet applied for a passport?
Travelers who have
not applied for a passport should
expect to be accommodated.
How long will
these relaxed rules be in place?
available at the U.S. Department of State’s Website:
Sane While Traveling
Sooner or later,
just about every frequent traveler begins to tire of life on the
road. No matter how adventurous your spirit, loneliness, airplane
food, and general disorientation have probably made you a little
blue on at least one occasion. While this is normal, the stress of
being away from home doesn't have to overwhelm you. The following
tips can help you stay happier and healthier on your next business
attention to your diet--whether you have a tendency to overeat or
skip meals while traveling, can make you feel a lot healthier and
happier. One healthy hint is to call ahead and order the vegetarian
or low-fat meal on the plane, even if you're a meat-eater. These
meals are often healthier (and tastier) than the standard meals.
If the hustle and bustle of air travel gets you
down, try stopping in at the airport chapel. You don't need to
claim any religious affiliation, and you may find the quiet,
reflective atmosphere soothing.
Remember that attitude is everything. When you're
alone in your hotel room, you may find yourself missing loved ones
at home. If this happens, try to make the best of the fact that
you're alone: Read a novel, take a long bath, indulge your secret
love of Gilligan's Island reruns. Do any of those things
you never seem to find the time for when you're at home.
Make your hotel room as homey as possible. Stave
off homesickness by bringing along photos, candles, or mementos of
One of the best ways to combat stress is to make
sure you get enough sleep. This can be hard on the road,
especially if you have crossed time zones. Bring earplugs and eye
shades. Go easy on the caffeine. Alcohol, too, can disrupt sleep
patterns and should be consumed moderately, if at all. Some
travelers report that the hormone melatonin helps them sleep
Exercise can also combat stress. Many hotels either
have their own exercise rooms, or can provide a temporary
membership to a nearby health club. Be sure to ask if your hotel
has any such arrangement.
Treat your business trip as much like a vacation as
possible. Make time for something you would normally save for
pleasure travel, like a fancy dinner, or an afternoon at a museum.
Or treat yourself to a night in your hotel's best room. Even if
you have to pay for it out of your own pocket, treating yourself
like a king or queen for a night might just give you the lift you
need to get through another night away from home.
Top Ten Tips
For Safe Air Travel With Your Pet
Traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and the four-legged
members of your family. But with thoughtful preparation, you can
ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
The ASPCA urges pet owners to think twice about flying their pets on
commercial airlines, especially if they plan on checking them in as
"Unless your animal is small enough to fit under your seat and you
can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA recommends pet owners
to not fly their animal," says Lisa Weisberg, ASPCA Senior Vice
President of Government Affairs and Public Policy. If pet owners
have already committed to transporting their pets on commercial
airlines, the ASPCA is offering the following top ten tips for safe
air travel with your pet:
1. Make an appointment with your pet's veterinarian for a
check-up, and make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. Obtain a
health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of
2. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and an
identification tag. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar
should also include destination information in case your pet
3. Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease
the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme
weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel.
4. Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large
enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably.
Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and
5. Write the words "Live Animal" in letters at least one inch
tall on top of and at least one side of the crate. Use arrows to
prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. On the top
of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of your
pet's destination point, and whether you will be accompanying him or
if someone else is picking him up. Make sure that the door is
securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open
it in case of an emergency. Line the crate bottom with some type of
bedding—shredded paper or towels— to absorb accidents.
6. Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the
crate for identification purposes. Should your pet escape from the
carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a
photograph of your pet.
7. The night before you leave, make sure you’ve frozen a
small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill
during loading, and will melt by the time he’s thirsty. Tape a small
pouch, preferably cloth, of dried food outside the crate. Airline
personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he gets hungry on
long-distance flights or a layover.
8. Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended, as it
could hamper his breathing. Check with your veterinarian first.
9. Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground
and in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold.
This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or
attention is needed.
10. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns
about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check
the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the
animal from the cargo hold and deplaneing may be warranted.
Remember: Without a travel agent you're on
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