TIP: Due to security concerns, TSA recently issued a new rule that bans ALL lighters from your carry-on luggage, including lighters that don’t use fuel such as electric lighters with a battery and nichrome element.

TSA screeners will begin to enforce this new rule at security checkpoints on April 14, 2005, when lighters will no longer be allowed in carry-on luggage or on the person.  Until that time, you can still bring up to two lighters onto the plane as long as they are fueled with liquefied gas or with absorbed liquid (for instance, Bic or Zippo lighters).  As always, ALL lighters are banned from checked baggage for safety reasons.

TSA strongly recommends that you double-check your baggage and pockets for lighters before arriving at the airport.  Some people carry sentimental or collectable lighters, and TSA would rather that you keep these items than collect them at the checkpoint.  Because of federal laws and operational considerations, TSA cannot return any prohibited items voluntarily abandoned at the checkpoint.

MATCHES

No matches are permitted in your checked baggage, and up to four books of matches are allowed in your carry-on baggage or on your person.  For safety reasons, strike anywhere matches are prohibited at all times from carry-on and checked baggage.



Online Hotel Check-In
Airlines are doing it. So why not hotels? We’re talking about online check-in.

Several hotel chains now allow travelers to check in through the hotel’s Web site. Guests can check in over the Internet, anywhere from seven days to several hours before their scheduled arrival. Users can indicate preferences, such as room location and high-speed Internet access.

Some hotels also allow guests to access, view and print account information (such as itemized descriptions of hotel charges) online.

This new technology can save time and help travelers with record-keeping and expense-reporting. If your next trip includes a hotel offering these services, we’ll be sure to let you know.



Congratulations, Grad!
Pen sets. Luggage. Briefcases. What do these items have in common? They are frequently given as graduation presents. And not very exciting ones!

If you have a loved one graduating from high school or college this semester, consider giving something a little more thrilling: the gift of travel.

Many tour operators feature itineraries tailored to an 18- to 35-year-old’s perspective and interests. The trips often focus on adventure travel, require few early morning departures and offer lots of independence.

These trips make highly personalized and memorable gifts. Chip in with other family members to treat your favorite student to a post-graduation trip. We can help you sort through the options and pick the perfect destination and itinerary.



Luggage 101
Luggage has to be able to take a beating—especially for frequent fliers who often check their bags. To help you make the best bag selection, here are some features to consider.

  • Price. Although you don’t need the most expensive bag, you do need a high-quality one made from strong materials. A bargain bag is more likely to fail after a few trips.
  • Fabric. Leather is strong and long lasting but shows scratches and wear. It also makes your bag look more expensive and, thus, more attractive to thieves. A woven nylon or polyester bag may be more practical.
  • Wheels. Look for wheels made out of a durable material with strong axles and ones that can be replaced.
  • Handle. The handle shouldn’t wiggle. Choose one that extends far enough that you can comfortably pull the bag and one that easily retracts with one hand.

Once you find a great bag, use it! We can help you find a great trip to break in your new suitcase … just give us a call!



Anyone for Sushi?
From the energy of capital city Tokyo to the quiet beauty of temple-filled Kyoto, Japan has something for everyone. Spring is one of the most popular seasons to visit because clear skies and cherry blossoms abound. But Japan is truly a great destination year ’round for people who love inventive cuisine, fresh seafood and artful food presentation.

Adventurous diners will be able to find an incredible range of cuisine in Japan that goes far beyond sushi. Why not whet your appetite with a trip to Japan this spring? We can help you make all the arrangements.

Hotel Phone Charges
Hotel chains are listening to their guests. Some of the same chains that eliminated charges for high-speed Internet access are now drastically reducing in-room telephone charges.

Why? To lure back travelers who use their cell phones to avoid hotel up-charges for calls. This most recent move by the hotel industry shows the effect travelers can have when making their voices heard. Great job!

Please let us know your amenity preferences—such as free Internet access or more calling options—so that we can find the right room at the right property for you. Our goal is to offer you the service and attention to detail only skilled travel counselors can provide.

Rental Car Security
Some rental car firms have installed technology that enables them to track vehicle location, speed and condition.

The car companies say the technology helps them monitor safety and inventory and locate vehicles when customers have problems, such as running out of gas, locking the keys in the car or getting in an accident.

Some travelers consider this tracking an invasion of privacy and worry the firms will use the technology to monitor speeding or when drivers take vehicles out of the approved travel area.

The bottom line? Most car companies don’t routinely track where their customers go and are increasingly disclosing when they use this technology. If you are concerned, let us know. Your safety and peace of mind are our top priority.

 

Remember: Without a travel agent, you're on your own