Travel Gems for March 29th – April 2nd

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 March 29th – Know which world-wide airports have free wi-fi? Wi-Fi Free Spot is the place to check before you fly. This site is updated often as more airports offer free wi-fi.

Tuesday March 30th – To smooth rough heels when you’re away from your home products, sprinkle coarse salt (such as sea salt) into a palmful of hotel lotion and use it as a scrub. Pack a couple of tablespoons of this coarse salt into your luggage using a small pill bag or snack-size plastic bag.

Wednesday March 31st – Top tips for booking an award ticket:

Book early (330 or 331 days in advance depending on the airline, when the airline first makes seats available through their computer reservations systems), or book late (within two weeks of travel, when airlines may release unsold seats for mileage redemption).

Be open to traveling at off-peak times for where you want to travel.  Trying to book Orlando or Hawaii at during the Christmas busy season will be tough.

If you are using American Airlines’ award points, monitor their list of recommended award destinations (such as American’s AAdvantage HotSpots These are routes with lower demand and more unsold seats, and therefore your odds of  successfully redeeming miles is greater.  United Airlines’ website has a list of destinations where they have additional space available for award travel.

Look at airline partners for opportunities to book award tickets (for example, American Airlines partners with British Airways, Mexicana and more, Delta partners with Air France and more). Trying to find 3 or more award seats on the same flights (for family travel) is next to impossible.  Either split the family up to take two different flights or book award tickets for one or two tickets and pay for the other seats.

Thursday April 1st – “What’s your room number?” asked the restaurant host in a loud voice and when I was still 10 feet or more away from her. This was in a hotel where breakfast in included in the rate and the host compared each name and room number against a printed checklist.

Instead of yelling out my room number so the entire restaurant could hear, I waited until I walked up to the host. In a quiet voice, I said that I preferred my room number not be broadcast for safety reasons.  She apologized and said that she had never considered this.

While it has become more common practice by front desk clerks to no longer announce our room numbers upon check-in, the other departments within a hotel may not be aware of this sensitivity.

If you ever feel that your safety has been compromised by a public announcement of your room number, ask for a new room. And if it’s the hotel staff who made the public announcement, ask the manager to have someone help you move your items into your new room (and let the manager be aware of this safety breach).

Friday April 2nd – Looking for great ideas for annual family vacations? Check out Make a Memory a Year with a wonderful tip by Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

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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