Travel Gems for June 21st – 25th

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 – Mileage calculator site – here’s an easy-to-use site that calculates the mileage you’ll receive for your flights. It includes calculations for elite bonuses, class of service bonuses or ticket price, if these factor into your total mileage.

Simply enter your originating airport and where you’re flying to. You can add up to three more airports if you have multiple connections to arrive at the total miles. The miles are estimated and may differ from the actual mileage awarded by your airline, but it’s a great aid when you’re comparing flights connecting in different cities or wondering if you’re going to hit an award milestone with your airline.

Tuesday – As a travel gypsy, diver, Yoga teacher & author, I keep stretching through my days. When traveling it’s easy to just sink into your seat and wait it out. Once you start moving you wonder why your head feels heavy and your joints ache. There are many little stretches in Flytime Yoga but my favorite is a simple

Spinal Twist, sometimes it’s better than a cuppa coffee (good at your desk too).

Spinal Twist: Not recommended if you’re pregnant or have had recent abdominal surgery

  • Sit up a little taller and let your breath drop deep and full.
  • Keep your hips facing forward
  • Contract your abs slightly
  • Place your right hand on the seat rest
  • Bring your left hand across to your right knee
  • Begin twisting your upper body to the right, lead with your ribs
  • Bring your shoulders around and twist your head to the right
  • Hold and breath – smile at whoever’s in the seat behind you!
  • Release slowly, do a few shoulder rolls and twist to the other side

These can be done in the car too – at stoplights or when you arrive. There are more suggestions to relieve travel anxiety, road rage, avoid DVT, etc. in the Drivetime Yoga book and award-winning CD’s as well as the Flytime Yoga booklet and Passport Wallet. All available at:

Happy trails & contrails!

Elaine Masters, RYT

Speaker, award-winning author & founder of Drivetime and Flytime Yoga
Back pain relief, calm & energy for travelers and the desk bound.


Wednesday – With summer travel in full-force, weather delays and overbooked flights can cause a traveler to get heated. Become a more informed traveler with the data available at Get info on on airport and airline delays, baggage claims and the number of passengers bumped off their flights. For pet travel, there are details on the number of animal airline incidents as well.

Here’s an example of the data provided: The number of passengers denied boarding for Jan-Sep, 2009 was highest at United and US Air. So 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 percentage 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.

Thursday – Business travel can be a strain on any relationship when one spouse (or both) are on the road. This video on Better Home & Garden’s shares my tips on how to keep the relationships strong across the miles.

Friday – Know thy Bag! If you travel a lot, the chance that you’ll find yourself in a baggage claim office is high. Lost, delayed or damaged bags do not discriminate against luggage-checkers only. Even travelers who try never to check a bag end up gate-checking on smaller flights.

One of the primary questions asked at the baggage claim office is “What does your bag look like?” Answering with ‘a black rollaboard’ is like answering ‘white’ as to what color your hotel towels are. Details, details, details, please!

Note the brand name, size, color and style of each piece, along with any distinguishing characteristics. For example, my bag is an 18-in Samsonite light blue bag with bright green handle covers that have ‘Smart Women Travelers’ name and logo along with my laminated business card as the ID. Think that’ll make the bag easier to find? You bet!

Inside each bag you check, have an easy-to-find sheet of paper that has your name, your home telephone number, your mobile-phone number, along with the names, addresses and phone numbers of where you’ll be staying while on your trip. If your outside name tag is lost, the airline can get your details from the contact information you wisely stashed on the inside. If you are traveling internationally, you can also use Google Translate to translate your information into the language of the country you are visiting or the countries of the airports that your bag may be connecting through.

And speaking of international … finding yourself in a baggage claim office in a foreign-speaking airport can be daunting. Have a photo of your bag (use your mobile phone to snap this photo) will help the agent understand what the bag looks like. Have a copy of your translated travel information handy as this will be much easier for them to understand.

If you bag is delayed and will be arriving the next day or later, ask the baggage claim office for an overnight kit. They used to be automatically given out with lost or delayed luggage but lately my experience (and the experience of others) has shown that the overnight kit isn’t given out unless you know to ask for it. It isn’t the greatest kit in the world to substitute for your personal items in your luggage, but you will usually get a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and maybe a t-shirt.


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