Welcome to the "The Smart Traveler". Your September 2006 newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.


Consider A Cruise


Every day, more and more people are discovering the all-inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. Last year alone approximately seven million people enjoyed a cruise vacation. When you add it all up, it's easy to see why.


The price of your ticket includes all of your meals and in-between snacks on-board; your stateroom, activities, parties and entertainment; plus, an exciting voyage to some of the most enchanting and culturally-enriching places in the world.


You'll find that a cruise ship is a floating resort, with all the things a fine resort has to offer and more! You'll meet new friends who share the same tastes and interests as you.


The hassles of an ordinary vacation are completely eliminated. A cruise is one convenient package. You don't have to worry about making dinner or nightclub reservations, running to make flight connections as you travel from one destination to another, or packing and unpacking.


You can lie back and be completely pampered. Or, go non-stop. Dine like never before. Enjoy one great show after another. Let your cares float away!

It's no wonder that more people are taking cruise vacations than ever before. And once they get a taste of cruising, they come back for more, again and again.

You Haven't Lived Until You've Cruised!

Effective Tuesday, September 26, TSA Is Adjusting The Ban On Liquids, Aerosols And Gels

There are two major changes:
  1. Travelers may now carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag.
  2. After clearing security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.

At the checkpoint travelers will be asked to remove the zip-top bag of liquids and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.


In addition, larger amounts of prescription liquid medications, baby formula and diabetic glucose treatments must be declared at the checkpoint for additional screening.

It is unlikely that additional changes in the liquid, aerosol and gel policy will be made in the near future.

This security regimen applies to all domestic and international flights departing U.S. airports. Travelers should, however, check with transportation security authorities in their country-of-origin for flights originating at non-U.S. airports.

Travel Tips To Make Your Screening a No Hassle Experience

  • The secret to getting through security smoothly is to de-clutter your carry-on bag. This lets our Transportation Security Officers get a clear, uncomplicated X-ray image of your carry-on. 
  • When possible, keep packing liquids in checked baggage. You will get through security faster.
  • Limit quantities to what is needed for the duration of the flight.

Items purchased in the secure boarding are for use on the immediate flight. If you must leave the secure boarding area and re-enter through the screening checkpoint, items exceeding 3 ounces that are not in the zip-top bag will again be prohibited.

The ban on liquids, aerosols and gels was implemented on August 10 after a terrorist plot was foiled.  Since then, experts from around the government, including the FBI and our national labs have analyzed the information we now have and have conducted extensive explosives testing to get a better understanding of this specific threat. These changes are intended to enhance security and balance human needs because we have a better understanding of the threat and security risks associated with liquids, aerosols and gels.

In addition, TSA will be enhancing security measures throughout the airport environment – more random screening of employees, additional canine patrols, stronger air cargo security measures, more rigorous identity verification, deploying more trained security officers in bomb appraisal, and screening by observation technique.

Know What To Expect

Make your screening experience as smooth as possible. Select a video to help you understand the screening process.

Step-By-Step Screening (WMV 3 MB)

Female business traveler (WMV 3 MB)

Male business traveler (WMV 3 MB)

Traveling with a baby or small child (WMV 3 MB)



Beating Jet Lag

Follow these tried-and-true tips to prevent jet lag from ruining your trip.


Even if your watch indicates that it’s midmorning when you arrive, your body clock will still think it’s the middle of the night. Here are a few tips to help you cope with what is perhaps the worst aspect of international travel:

1. Try to exercise the day of your flight. Good circulation and fatigued muscles will make it easier to fall asleep during the flight.

2. Opt for water or juice instead of caffeinated soda or alcohol. Dehydration exacerbates the grogginess that accompanies jet lag.

3. Take melatonin. Many travellers swear by this herbal sleep aid. Of course, consult your physician before using this product.

4. Avoid taking a nap when you arrive at your destination. Instead, take a stroll or do some lazy sight-seeing. Chances are, once you’re out and about and stretching your legs, you will likely forget just how tired you are. If you must take a nap, make it a short one.

5. Turn in early on your first night, but not too early. A long night’s sleep at the beginning of your trip should get you on track for the rest of your vacation.

Go Directly To Your Hotel Room


Hotel chains offering options to traditional front desk check-in


Most hotel stays begin late in the day after a long journey. But before a traveler can head to the sanctuary of the room, they must go through the tedious task of checking in — a process that usually involves waiting in line, signing paperwork and making small talk with a hotel employee when all they really wants to do is get into bed.


In an effort to reduce lines and get travelers to their rooms faster and more happily, the hotel industry is trying to streamline that process. Taking a page from the airlines, several chains are installing self-service check-in kiosks in the lobby. For several months Hilton and Hyatt have been allowing the highest-level members of their loyalty programs to check in remotely via the Internet. Marriott recently announced that it was testing Web check-in from hand-held devices at one location in Redmond, Wash.


Other hotels are emphasizing human touch over high-tech by serving fruity welcome drinks upon guest arrivals or trading the traditional tall check-in desk, which has long dominated hotel lobbies, for  pods that allow employees to mingle with the guests.


The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. started offering chilled towels, beverages and food samples at check-in last year, and some of its properties now allow guests staying on the club level to bypass the entire registration process in the hotel lobby and check-in on the club-level floor instead. The idea is to turn what was once a purely transactional procedure into a more casual, even pleasurable experience.


The changes in check-in come as hotels are trying to one up one another on everything from the number of spa treatments offered to bed-sheet thread counts. With competition so fierce, check-in — often a guest’s first impression of the hotel — has become increasingly important.


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