Travel Gems for February 15th- 19th

Each Monday through Friday, a Travel Gem of the Day will be posted at These Travel Gems are tips that will help a traveler travel smarter, safer, handle home issues, be prepared and enjoy their journeys.

Here are last week’s Travel Gems:

Monday Feb. 15 – Still using a generic travel checklist (or not using a travel checklist at all)? It’s too easy to forget needed items even if you do have a standard travel checklist. Instead, create a travel checklist for each season, and for each type of trip. See our Travel Gem from 01/04/2010 for a free download of a sample travel checklist. Create several based on your types of travel.

For example:

  • Winter trip
  • Summer trip
  • Business meetings
  • Business conference (may need more layering of clothes, recording device, extra business cards, for example)

You can also create different travel checklists for:

  • Long flights
  • Shorter flights
  • Car trips

Create one standard travel checklist of items that you always bring on each trip, and then copy it for each unique type of trip. This will save you tons of time when it comes to packing, and lots of money to buy items you intended to bring but forgot.

Tuesday Feb. 16th – Feel like you’re shedding your skin due to too much air travel? Flying can really dry out your skin. What can you do when your hands, arms and legs look all scaly and your loofa is back at home?

A simple and free remedy is to mix in a packet or two of raw sugar to the body lotion provided by your hotel. Rub this on your body just before showering to create a nice body scrub that helps remove flaky skin. Good-bye alligator skin!

Wednesday Feb. 17th – Got an international trip coming up? Remember these key credit card to-do’s:

  • Select two of your credit cards (at least one with cash advance privileges) for your trip.
  • Call your credit card’s customer service department prior to traveling internationally.
  • Ask them:
  • Can I use this card in my destination country?
  • What is my spending limit?
  • What insurance benefits are provided by my credit card (rental car accidents, lost or damaged items, etc.)?
  • How do I contact you if I lose the card? (Note: not all toll-free numbers work internationally, so ask for a local number as well.)
    • Provide the dates of your travel and a telephone number where they can reach you at.
    • For any necessary cash advance on your credit card, be sure you know your PIN number for your card.  If you do not have this PIN number, contact your bank and request a new PIN at least two weeks prior to your travel.

    Thursday Feb. 18th – This handy travel data can help you plan your flights. Go to this Department of Transportation site for lots of great data on airport and airline delays, baggage claims, the number of passengers bumped by airline and more.

    For example: the number of passengers denied boarding for Jan-Sep, 2009 was highest at United and US Air. If you’re looking to get bumped and score a voucher for the next flight, your luck will be better on these airlines.

    Also note the percent of on-time arrivals at major U.S. airports. The percentage is almost always higher in the mornings, so plan your travels early in the day.

    Friday Feb. 19th – Help your kids build a postcard collection of your travels by picking up a few postcards at the airport upon arrival (bring postcard stamps from home). Each day, write a few words about where you’re visiting, what you love about your family, and any other journal-type of writing. Mail one every couple of days, or at least once per trip.

    Have your kids save these postcards in a binder with clear plastic sleeves, so that they can see the picture on the postcard as well as your writings.

    This is a great way for your kids to be excited about your journeys as they build this postcard anthology, and you will have fond memories as you look back on your trips over the years.

    If you would like a favorite travel tip of yours to be included in the Travel Gem of the Day, email your tip, name and website to

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