Welcome to the November 2007 issue of "Smart Traveler". The newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.
For Healthy Travel
The Holiday travel season is here, unfortunately so is the cold and
flu season and you will be coming in close contact with people who
may be infected.
Wherever you're headed, you'll want to feel healthy and strong. Here
are some helpful tips for not being under the weather when you're
going above the clouds.
Before Your Trip
Here are just a few precautions you can take ahead of time:
Make sure your immunizations are current.
If possible, delay your trip if you're not feeling well.
If you're prone to air sickness, ask for a window seat over the
If you have any health questions, or if you suffer from a chronic
ailment, motion sickness, or fear of flying, ask for advice from
Stress is bad for you. Reduce stress by allowing plenty of time to
check in and reach your departure gate.
Always carry your medication with you—never pack it in baggage
you're planning to check.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes for your flight.
During Your Trip
Here are a few things you can do to feel good while you're flying:
Eat lightly during your flight.
Stay hydrated while you fly.
Leave room under the seat in front of you so you can stretch out
If conditions permit, try to stand up and walk around the cabin
every once in a while.
At Your Destination
Here are a couple of things to remember once you arrive:
Never purchase local medications unless you're familiar with them.
Wear sun block and sunglasses in the tropics and at high altitudes.
Drink a lot of water to minimize altitude sickness.
Helpful Web sites
These sites offer comprehensive information about healthy travel:
Centers for Disease Control
U.S. Department of State
Get Ready To Wait
Airlines expect 27 million Thanksgiving
Airline passenger traffic around the Thanksgiving holiday is
forecast to rise 4 percent from a year ago.
The Air Transport Association said it expects
roughly 27 million passengers to fly over 12 days beginning November
16, with planes about 90 percent full.
In an attempt to minimize travel hassles, some big airlines will add
as many as 500 seasonal workers -- some of whom had been furloughed
-- to usher fliers through airports, James May, the president of the
association said at a press conference.
The industry anticipates an average of about
2.5 million passengers a day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving,
and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday, according to ATA.
Average daily passenger traffic this year is roughly 2.1 million,
with load factors of about 80 percent. The expected up tick in
holiday air travel comes in spite of historic delays reported by
airlines all year.
More than 24 percent of flights arrived late through September and
the industry's on-time performance through September was the worst
since comparable data began being collected in 1995, according to
the Transportation Department.
Our Advice: Get to the airport early.
With planes 90 percent full, and you miss your flight for any reason
or are bumped from the flight, you may not be able get to get to
your destination until after the holiday.Business Buyer Beware Of
president of a company booked a flight for a sales consultant to
discuss a business opportunity. A full fare ticket was going to cost
$600, versus $138 for a nonrefundable ticket, so he bought the
The consultant cancelled, and the President found out the hard way
that even though his company purchased this ticket, the consultant
can apply the fare towards another trip anytime within a year
without the company's consent.
Picture a situation
where you're bringing someone in for an interview, or perhaps you
book a flight for an employee who quits, then they turn around and
use the fare towards a ski vacation
nontransferable ticket is really the property of the person he
bought the ticket for. When you buy a ticket you enter into a
contract; whoever's name is on the ticket ... it's their ticket to
The only way to
avoid this is to let business associates buy their own travel, then
offer to reimburse them.
Holiday Travel Scams
in the Holiday travel season, and scammers are close behind, it
seemed like a good time to remind everyone about ways to avoid these
Travel scams are becoming much more common, and potential travelers
need to become more wary.
Here are ten things you really need to know to avoid getting taken
by travel scams:
1. If you are offered a travel deal by email, it's almost certainly
a scam. Just about all bulk email travel deals (or free vacations)
are scams. If you are offered the travel deal by phone, be very
skeptical. If you're unfamiliar with the company, get its name,
address, and local telephone number. Check their track record if you
can. (Unless you can find a legitimate local or regional office for
the company, it's probably bogus.)
2. "If it sounds too good to be true..." Wouldn't we all love
to believe that we just won an all-expense-paid trip to Bermuda or a
weekend at Disneyland? Listen for the details -- or read the 'fine
print.' In many travel scams, your airfare may be free, but there
could be a clause in the contract that says you must stay in
particular accommodations -- which turn out to be outrageously
Another type of 'too good to be true' pitch is winning a contest or
lottery. If the agent claims you've won a contest, get more details.
Public contests and lotteries have rules and regulations -- and you
normally have to 'enter' to win.
If you didn't enter, you didn't win anything. You'll just be asked
to pay lots of fees. Don't -- it's a scam. If you've won a
legitimate contest or lottery, it shouldn't cost you anything to get
your winnings or prize.
3. Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you made
the phone call and you know that you're dealing with a reputable
company. And you should never have to disclose any other personal
details, like your checking account or social security number.
4. If you think you are interested in the offer, always ask what's
NOT included: 'service charges,' 'processing fees,' and taxes are
typically added on after the fact -- and you'll be expected to pay
for them. Ask for specific details, too. Many travel scams are based
on really vague information -- for example, they'll use phrases like
'major airline' without naming it.
5. Know that you can only dispute credit card charges within 60 days
of acquiring them. So while it's a good idea to pay with your credit
card (so that you can dispute the charge if it turns out you've been
scammed), be wary of travel deals in which the 'availability' is
more than 60 days away.
6. Never dial a 900 number to reach a travel agency or club. No
legitimate company requires you to pay for a 900 call to phone their
customer service desk. Also, beware of calling numbers with 809,
758, or 664 area codes. Many phone numbers seem ordinary, but are
actually like unregulated 900 numbers located in the Caribbean --
and you could be charged exorbitant per minute rates.
7. Make sure you get copies of everything -- for example, your
receipts, your itinerary, and the company's cancellation and refund
8. Don't give in to high pressure tactics that perpetrators of
travel scams use to push you into making rash decisions. They may
use lines like, "This offer expires at midnight" or "This is the
last day that we'll be making this offer."
This doesn't give you time to check into the background of the
company making the offer, and they know it. If it's such a great
deal, why should they pressure you to decide without checking it
9. Don't ever make a payment before you receive all the information
-- or even worse, some travel scams require you to pay to get the
information. Legitimate travel businesses will make sure you have
all the details before you have to pay for anything.
10. Ask for references -- and contact them. Then be wary of
references who simply seem to be parroting everything the travel
company has told you.
These tips should keep you from being taken by travel scams in the
future. If you think you may have already been scammed in the past,
your state Consumer Dept. or Attorney General may be able to help.
Avoiding three destination travel scams
Remember: Without a travel agent you're on
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