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Airlines  Amusement parks  Cars  Crossing streets  Driving  Hotels  House-Leaving  Travel  Vehicles  Visiting others 
AIRLINES
Also see: AIRCRAFT, LUGGAGE, PACKING, PETS (Transporting a pet), TRAVEL

WELL BEFORE FLYING:
____ Make reservations from late May to early June, in late August, or, between Thanksgiving and Christmas - to save money
Travelocity.com Homepage
Before making reservations:
____ Check the safety and reliability records of the airlines you're considering flying on

Determine which airlines:
____ Offer discounts for seats for young children
____ Carry heart defibrillators

When deciding whether to use a travel agent and, if so, which travel agent:
____ Ask the travel agent if they deal with consolidators and if they have a good one they deal with (watch out for consolidators who are not honest and/or reliable) - to save money

When deciding when to fly:
____ Fly as early in the day as feasible - to reduce chances of flight delays

If considering using a charter airline:
____ Be aware that charter airlines tend to be less reliable (more likely than major airlines to be late or cancelled)

When selecting an airline and a type of aircraft:
____ Ensure the aircraft will have adequate medical equipment on board - many U.S. airlines don't carry adequate first aid equipment on the planes

When selecting specific flights:
____ Avoid flights which originate or stop at airports with poor security - to reduce chances of a terrorist attack
____ Avoid flights which have a short turnaround - to reduce chances of a terrorist attack - reduces time available to ensure security procedures are followed
____ Avoid stops at airports which might experience bad weather, e.g., choose warmer locations - to reduce chances of flight delays
____ Minimize the number of airlines and flights you fly on - to reduce risk of losing luggage

If you can't find a cheap fare to your desired destination airport:
____Consider flying to another airport near your desired destination, then driving or riding public transportation to your destination

Paying for your tickets:
____ Use a credit card - makes it much easier to get your money back if there's a problem with your reservations

When getting your seat assignments:
____ Request seats over the wing or towards the front - for a more comfortable ride
____ Request aisle seats or seats right behind a bulkhead - to get more leg room to help prevent potentially fatal blood clot resulting from sitting in seat for long period
____ Request seats which recline fully - seats at very rear and seats in front of an emergency exit usually don't recline
____ Request seats which aren't close to the galley (kitchen) and lavatories (usually in the rear) - for a quieter ride
____ Request a seat near the front - away from the engines - for a quieter ride

After making reservations:
____ Consider obtaining travel insurance which protects you in the event the flights are cancelled or delayed excessively (read the policy very carefully for exclusions, etc.)

If you see the same flight advertised for less than you paid:
____ Ask to be re-ticketed at the lower fare

After getting your ticket(s)/itinerary:
____ Check them carefully to ensure they are for the flight, time and airport you ordered
____ Safeguard the ticket(s) - they are highly pilferable and should be treated as if they were cash
____ Write/type and make copies of your itinerary
____ Provide itinerary to neighbors, friends and/or family
____ Make plans to leave for the airport in plenty of time (anticipate unexpected delays, e.g., traffic, long check-in lines, security checks) - your flight may be overbooked and you could lose your seat if you show up later than approx. 15 minutes before departure time
____ Arrange for transportation to airport, e.g.:
          - Ask someone to drive you
          - Taxi/shuttle
          - Drive your own vehicle (ensure adequate parking available for reasonable price)

If you are not satisfied with your travel arrangements (e.g., flights cancelled):
____ Complain to the airline or charter company

If you're still not satisfied:
____ Call the Department of Transportation: (202) 366-2220

DAY BEFORE FLYING:
____ Check the weather forecast for the origination, intermediate and destination airports for your flight
If weather is not forecast to be good for flying:
____ Change your reservations

____ Plan to wear loose clothing (e.g., no girdle-type articles, tight elastic) for the flight(s) - to help prevent potentially-fatal blood clot from sitting in seat for long period
____ Pack (see Packing)
____ Place your name, addresses (home and/or destination), phone numbers (home and/or destination) and itinerary inside your luggage
____ Lock your luggage
____ Take (swallow) an aspirin - to help prevent potentially fatal blood clot from sitting in seat for long period

Once you've packed your bags:
____ Don't let any strangers have access to your bags - a terrorist could place a bomb in your bags

SHORTLY BEFORE FLYING:
____ Avoid drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages, and, avoid drinks with caffeine (can cause dehydration), until after the flight(s) - to help prevent potentially-fatal blood clot from sitting in seat for long period
____ Drink lots of water and/or fruit juices - to help prevent potentially-fatal blood clot resulting from sitting in seat for long period

UPON ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT:
____ Don't accept anything from a stranger to carry onto the airplane - a terrorist could have placed a bomb, etc. in the item
____ Request a seat next to an empty seat (avoid the seats directly in front of emergency exit rows - the seat backs usually do not recline fully)

If you would like more legroom and are physically able to open the emergency exit:
____Ask for a seat in an emergency exit row

If you are bumped because the airline oversold the flight:
____ Understand what you are entitled to - in most cases, approx. $400 in denied boarding compensation plus a seat on the next available flight
____ Consider negotiating for more than just what you are entitled to

AFTER BOARDING THE AIRCRAFT:
____ Avoid putting a lot of stuff under the seat in front of you - so you will have room to move your feet and keep blood circulating in your legs to avoid possible blood clot
____ Take off your shoes - to help avoid blood clots

If you have children with you:
____ Consider giving them a small dose of an antihistamine to help them sleep during the flight - it's probably best for them to be awake for the landing - so they will notice ear discomfort during descent and can drink from a bottle, cry, chew, etc. to relieve the discomfort

INFLIGHT:
____ Spend as much of the flight as feasible in your seat with your seat belt securely fastened - sudden turbulence can cause serious injury
____ Get out of seat and walk around occasionally (but be prepared for turbulence) - to help prevent potentially fatal blood clot from sitting in seat for long period

Regularly:
____ Move and flex your ankles and toes - to help avoid blood clots
At least every hour:
____ Get up, walk around and stretch - to help avoid blood clots

If you lose feeling in a leg:
____ Be aware that you might have a blood clot in your leg which could travel to your lung, heart, etc. - people with heart disease, cancer and/or varicose veins, and, smokers are especially at risk of developing a blood clot

BEFORE DESCENT:
____ Be prepared to chew gum, yawn, etc. to relieve ear discomfort
If you're travelling with an infant:
____ Give him/her a bottle to suck on - to help relieve ear discomfort

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CROSSING STREETS
Also see: DRIVING

WELL BEFORE CROSSING:
____ Be aware that getting hit by a vehicle, even one going slowly, can kill or seriously hurt you
____ Be aware that people/kids just like you have been killed and almost certainly will be killed while crossing streets
____ Ask an older person to help you
____ Determine the safest place to cross, usually a crosswalk which (safest listed first):
          - Has a safety patrol and an adult to control vehicles and pedestrians
          - Is at a traffic light, preferably with a safety patrol, etc.
          - Is at a "STOP" sign, preferably with a safety patrol, etc.
          - Has a flashing yellow light in both directions
          - Is well marked as a school crosswalk
          - Allows clear visibility in all directions (e.g., no sharp curves), so you can see vehicles coming and drivers can see you
____ Remember that painted lines can't stop a vehicle
If you can't find a crosswalk:
____ Don't cross street near parked vehicles
____ Look for a corner
If it is rainy and/or foggy:
____ Be especially careful

RIGHT BEFORE CROSSING:
____ Stay well back from the curb until you're ready to cross - so vehicles will know when they should stop to let you cross
If there is no safety patrol or adult controlling vehicles and pedestrians at the crosswalk:
____ Go to the curb
____ Stop at the curb
If there is a traffic light and/or "WALK/DON'T WALK" signs:
____ Start to cross only when the "WALK" light first comes on and/or approaching vehicles first get a red light

____ Look to your left
When looking for vehicles approaching the crosswalk:
____ Look at the drivers of vehicles to ensure they see you and to see if they indicate with a wave that they'll wait for you to cross
____ Look for vehicles which could be turning towards you

After vehicles coming from the left have stopped or if there are no vehicles approaching from the left:
____ Look to your right
After vehicles coming from the right have stopped or if there are no vehicles approaching from the right:
____ Look to your left again
____ Listen for approaching vehicles
After vehicles from both directions have stopped or if there are no vehicles approaching and if you don't hear any vehicles approaching:
____ Walk (don't run!) a few feet into the crosswalk
____ Look in both directions again, especially for vehicles which could go around vehicles which are stopped because the drivers can't see you
If it is still safe:
____ Walk (don't run!) almost halfway across the street
____ Stop
____ Look to your right again, especially for vehicles which might go around vehicles which are stopped because the drivers can't see you
If it is still safe:
____ Continue across the street while continuing to look both ways for vehicles
____ Consider waving to drivers who stopped to thank them

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HOTELS

MAKING RESERVATIONS:
____ Ask:
          - Do doors open to an interior hallway vice to an outdoor balcony - criminals would probably be less likely to try to enter your room from an interior hallway
          - Type of locks for the room doors:
              - Self-locking?
              - Dead bolt?
              - Security bar and/or chain?
          - Type of keys they use (stay away from metal keys with room #'s on them) - card keys are best e.g., with magnetic strip - they change the code after each guest
          - Phone in room - which you could use if someone was trying to enter your room
          - 24-hour front desk staffing
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself

BEFORE ARRIVING AT HOTEL:
____ Have dollar bills available for tipping door person, bell hop, etc.

UPON ARRIVAL AT HOTEL:
____ Tip the door person and/or bell hop approx. $1 to $1.50 per bag, more if they provide extra services
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself
____ Ask for a room which is not above the reach of local fire department ladders, e.g., ladder trucks
____ Ask what kind of identification the staff carries
____ Determine fire excape routes/procedures

WHILE STAYING AT HOTEL:
If someone comes to room saying they're hotel staff:
Before you let them in:

____ Call front desk to confirm that they're supposed to be there

If you expect to make more than a few phone calls:
____ Keep a log(list) of calls you make including day, time, number called, whether call was answered, lenght of call

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RESIDENCE - Leaving (e.g., for brief absence)
Also see: TRAVEL

Well before leaving:
____ Ensure your name and phone number are on all items which are susceptible to being lost or stolen
____ Listen to radio and/or watch TV for:
          - Traffic conditions
          - Weather forecast - so you can wear appropriate clothing and take appropriate gear, e.g., umbrella

If you intend to drive:
____ Obtain maps (e.g., mapquest.com)
____ Consider whether you need to allow time to get gas before reaching your destination
____ Plan to get gas at a time and place which is safe (e.g., not at night - higher risk of crime), convenient and economical

Shortly before leaving:
____ Apply sunscreen approx. 30 minutes before going out in the sun
____ Don't take anything you won't need and don't want to lose, e.g., some items in your wallet
____ Set VCR
____ Let someone (living with you or near you) know where you're going and when you expect to be back
____ Set lights to make residence appear occupied - to help prevent burglaries
____ Close and lock windows - to keep rain, burglars, etc. out
____ Close and lock doors - to keep burglars, etc. out

If you have a message for someone who you think might visit while you're gone:
____ Leave a note on your front door (be discreet if you're concerned about burglars)

If you would like to let someone know where you're going:
____ Leave a message on someone's answering machine

Right before leaving:
____ Take/check list(s) of things to buy, get, do
____ Take:
          - Sunscreen/sunblock - approx. 7,000 people die in U.S. each year from skin cancer
          - Hat (e.g., one with cloth flap(s) and/or a wide brim - to protect your head and neck from sun exposure
          - Indicator of sun intensity (some can be stuck onto your skin)
          - Identification - in case you become sick or injured
          - Medical information - in case you become sick or injured
____ Set security system(s)/ measures

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TRAVEL
Also see: AIRLINES, BUSES, PETS, RESIDENCE (Leaving), TAXI'S, VACATIONS
Travelocity.com Homepage

Well before travelling:
____ Review your schedule to determine:
          - Events you want to attend before, during and/or after your trip

If you'll be leaving your children behind:
____ Try to keep your trip as short as feasible - most parents report worrying a lot about their children while they're gone

____ Be aware that most business travellers find returning home to be the most stressful part of their trip
____ Be aware that the stress of travelling apparently results in a high number of heart attacks at airports and on airlines
____ Be prepared to deal with complaints (regarding your absence) from family members you leave behind
____ Make reservations for transportation, lodging, tours, events, etc.:
          - Be wary of great deals

If you're considering using a travel company:
____ Be very wary of travel clubs
____ Don't sign up on the spot, without thinking about it for a couple of days
____ Check the company's record with the Better Business Bureau
____ Have contract reviewed by lawyer
____ Read the fine print
____ Ask detailed questions
____ If you have doubts, say "no"

____ Determine your health insurance coverage for the trip
____ Obtain additional health insurance as needed
____ Buy items to take (see TAKE section below)
____ Buy travellers checks
____ Review your finances:
          - Pay bills which will be due while you're gone
          - Note balance in your accounts
          - Determine credit available on your credit cards, lines of credit
          - Be aware that ATM cards with six digits might be useless in foreign countries
____ Consider taking the herb echinacea - to possibly prevent catching a cold, etc. from the people, especially children, you're visiting
____ Consider taking the herb goldenseal - to boost immune system
____ Ask a neighbor to check your residence daily for:
          - Leaflets on door
          - Newspapers, etc. in front
          - Flooding
          - Indications of burglarly, intruders, etc.
____ Obtain maps (e.g., mapquest.com)

If travelling to a foreign country:
____ Determine what immunizations, etc. are required and/or advised - you may have to take them well in advance of travelling and may not be able to get all of them at the same time
____ Determine if you need to have an AIDS/HIV test done
____ Research differences in culture, e.g.:
          - Will you be expected to give gifts to certain people for certain ocassions?
          - Is tipping encouraged?
          - How do people greet each other, e.g., a handshake, bowing

To help avoid food-borne and water-borne illnesses:
____ Swim only in chlorinated pools
____ Drink only bottled water
____ Don't use ice cubes
____ Brush your teeth with bottled water
____ Avoid eating undercooked food and vegetables
____ Eat fruit only if you can peel it
____ Avoid roadside stands and street vendors

DESTINATIONS:
____ Research your destination(s), e.g.: cnn.com/airport

If you'll be travelling to an area where malaria is a problem (primarily Africa):

____ Wear long sleeves and pants
____ Use an insect repellent
____ Sleep under a mosquito net soaked in insecticide

PACKING:
Before packing:

____ Determine forecast weather for places you'll be visiting ... click on the rainbow graphic to get the forecast for your destination(s)
Click for San Diego, California Forecast
____ Determine type events (e.g., parties) you'll be attending and attire which will be appropriate
____ Don't take anything you won't need and don't want to lose, e.g., some items in your wallet

While packing:
____ Make a list of the significant contents of each suitcase, etc.

Items to consider packing:
____ Toiletries:
          - Razor
          - Extra blades
          - Shaving cream
          - Shampoo (small container)
          - Soap
          - Other toiletries
____ Prescribed medications (ensure you take an adequate quantity) in the original containers
____ Anti-diarrhea medication
____ Pain relievers
____ Anti-bacterial ointment
____ Bandages
____ Pictures to show
____ Cameras:
          - Still
          - Film
          - Video
          - Tape(s)
          - Charged battery(ies)
____ Addresses
____ Phone numbers
____ Backpack
____ Computer and associated equipment
____ Maps
____ Pillow(s)
____ Blanket(s)
____ Smoke hood - to help you escape from an airplane, hotel room, etc. in the event of a fire
____ Plastic bags for:
          - Trash
          - Dirty clothes
          - Carrying purchases
          - Putting items you use or obtain during the trip and then won't need until trip is over
____ Instructions for getting messages from your answering machine remotely
____ Cash and coins
____ Blank checks
____ Credit and ATM cards
____ Traveller's checks

If you're taking kids:
____ Favorite stuffed animals
____ Toys
____ Coloring books
____ Travel games

After packing your bags:
____ Place your name, addresses (home and/or destination), phone numbers (home and/or destination) and itinerary inside your luggage
____ Lock your luggage
____ Don't let any strangers have access to your bags - a terrorist could place a bomb in your bags

Right before travelling:
____ Take out of your wallet anything you won't need and don't want to lose
____ Set your answering machine to the toll saver mode (so it answers after additional rings if it has no new messages)

Back to Top
VISITING OTHERS

Well before visiting:
____ Contact those you will be visiting to determine:
          - Most convenient time for you to visit
          - Whether you can bring anything
          - Whether you can help with anything while you're visiting
____ Consider taking a gift
____ Consider taking the herb echinacea - to possibly prevent catching a cold, etc. from the people, especially children, you're visiting

Right before visiting:
____ Call those you will be visiting to let them know you're on your way
____ Take items you need to return to those you will be visiting
If your child will be visiting someone:
____ Remind your child:
          - To clean up any messes he/she makes

While visiting:
____ Look for indications that those you are visiting would like for you to leave

After visiting:
____ Send a thank you note

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