by Phyllis Stoller, Founder, Women's Travel Club
Holiday travel is upon us so give yourself a present and reduce your stress level this season by following a few tips from the Women's Travel Club.
- Arrive at the airport early with a non-complaining attitude. A three-ounce bottle of hand lotion, healthy and splurge snacks (wrapped), light reading, decent earphones, travel pillow and eye gel will help you zone.
- Those with special needs for liquid medicines can find information at www.tsa.gov. Highly unusual needs are also addressed. We suggest you print out the page you need and bring it with you to avoid delays with new TSA staff.
- Drink plenty of water beginning two days before flights.
- Be prepared for bathroom lines and missing toilet paper. Wash hands with soap or hand sanitizer frequently (thus the hand lotion).
- Limit jewelry to what you can wear and what will not set off TSA machines (some heavy gold can!). There is extensive information for special needs at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm.
- Limit carry-ons to light rolling bags with room for clothes you need to shed in hot airports or put on in cold planes. Full overhead racks can force you to check a carry-on at the last minute so be prepared with a smaller bag for essentials.
- Avoid sitting next to sneezers and children who greet you with gooey, dirty hands. Alas, a little Scrooge attitude might help keep you healthier.
- Airport food has improved, but it remains pricey. For better health and lower cost, bring your own food, such as dried and fresh fruit, non-salty crackers and slices of cheese (big hunks can be confiscated) and fiber-laden cookies (to avoid constipation on the road). Other options include veggies, granola bars, cereals that can be mixed with airline milk or hot water and sandwiches such as cheese, roast beef, turkey or chicken. Unwrapped food, except for some fruit, will be tossed by TSA.
- Avoid dehydrating carbonated or caffeinated drinks. Go for plain water and have a water bottle filled on the plane instead of waiting for offerings.
- Crowds mean crime, which means stress. Here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim.
- Keep valuables in a small purse secured on your body. Going through TSA machines, put the small purse into your carry-on for added safety.
- Medicine, eyeglasses, documents, prescriptions, passports and such are also valuables! Scan your passport picture and visa page information and all travel documents and leave those scans in your e-mail as a backup.
- Keep a few dollars and only one credit card handy for quick shopping. Keep the rest of your cash and credit cards tucked away somewhere safe.
- Label suitcases inside and out with a name, e-mail and cell phone number. In case of loss or delay, airlines will ask for an inventory.
- Concentrate— and remember that alcohol will not help your alertness. There is theft at check-in and on planes. If you might fall asleep, tuck your purse away from fellow passengers. Never leave it when you go to the bathroom.