Welcome to the June 2007 issue of "Smart Traveler". The newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.

The 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 between genders.

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 home.

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.

(Source Tripso)

U.S. Citizens with pending passport applications allowed temporary travel flexibility within western hemisphere.

The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced June 7, 2007 that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who 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.

The federal 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.

Who is affected?

This accommodation 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 http://travel.state.gov/passport showing an application has been received by the Department of State.

NOTE: A passport receipt from the local post office or passport agency will not be accepted.

What about people who haven’t yet applied for a passport?

Travelers who have not applied for a passport should NOT expect to be accommodated.

How long will these relaxed rules be in place? Through September 30, 2007.k via

More FAQs available at the U.S. Department of State’s Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_3254.html

Staying 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 trip.

       Paying 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 home.
  • 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 better.
  • 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 cargo.

"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 departure.

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 escapes.

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 airlines.

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 your own

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