The following is a collection of some great travel secrets
that didn't make it into the other chapters.
Travel Safety Secret
Professional thieves tell us this open secret: they target
expensive luggage for theft. If you want to reduce the odds of
your things being stolen while traveling, don't have the prettiest
most expensive bags around. The uglier the better from the perspective
of reducing the odds of losing your luggage. Good bags don't
have to look expensive to be just as functional, and you can
find other ways to impress fellow travelers.
Motion Sickness Secret
There are two ways to overcome motion sickness that most people
have not heard of. The first is to get outside - if you can.
Many people find that being able to see the horizon and breath
fresh air while on a boat eliminates their nausea.
The second thing you can do is take ginger root. It has been
shown to be more effective than over-the-counter medications
for motion sickness and nausea. There probably won't be enough
ginger in drinks and other products that use it for flavoring,
so you should carry some ginger capsules (buy them at a health
food store), or make tea from a tablespoon of freshly sliced
ginger root (sold at most grocery stores).
Hotel Concierge Secret
Just because the concierge has a hotel uniform on doesn't
mean he works for the hotel. Many hotels outsource their concierge
services. Some concierges are not even allowed to say that they
don't work for the hotel. Does it matter?
These third-party concierges may be steering guests to affiliated
car services, restaurants and even shows. They may be paid commissions
for this. As a result, they are not necessarily looking out for
the best interests of the guests, even though they will still
happily take tips from them. Ask who their paycheck comes from,
and if they hesitate, they are probably not working for the hotel.
Secret Of Safer Hotel Stays
Tip your housekeepers, and say hello. They probably deserve
a tip anyhow, but it also prevents burglary. A dishonest housekeeper
is less likely to steal from someone he or she has met. Also,
if a criminal is in your room pretending to be you, which is
a common pretext when robbing hotel guests, the housekeeper will
know it isn't you since you have met.
Will The Flight Be Canceled?
Information on airport delays and weather for many U.S. airports
is available online at www.weather.com/activities/travel . You
can even search for flight arrival information by airline and
by flight number. This is a good site to find information on
road conditions around the country as well.
Carry Medical Information
It's a good idea to carry a one-page summary of your personal
health information with you when traveling. It should have your
blood type, allergies, medications being taken, preexisting medical
conditions, and perhaps your eyeglass prescription as well.
Find Flight Information Online
You can see if a flight will arrive or leave on time, or even
how late it will be, at www.flightstats.com.
Security wait times can be found for any airport. Go to http://waittime.tsa.dhs.gov
and look up the airport, day of week and departure time to get
Save On Meals Out
Of course you will want to eat out when traveling, but for
most of us it is not important to eat out for every meal. Sandwiches
or cheese and crackers in the hotel room may be fine at times.
But if you are going to skip the restaurants occasionally, be
sure to skip the right meals. Dinner is often priced at twice
what lunch selections cost - even when they are identical. Eat
more lunches out and fewer dinners. You can have the same number
of restaurant meals and save enough money to do something special
Save By Buying Travel Packages
You may not think to search for special travel packages, especially
if you don't need a rental car or accommodations at your destination.
But believe it or not, sometimes a package may be cheaper than
the plane ticket by itself. In other words, there may be a last
minute deal on a flight plus hotel or a flight plus car rental
that costs less than the normal ticket to that destination. You
can check for these special package deals at websites like www.lastminute.com.
Use Your Age To Save
Many hotels in the United States give a discount to older
visitors, and the cut-off age is just 50. The discount is typically
only 10% off, but you may get an even bigger discount than that
if you are over 60 years old. Ask when you call to make reservations,
or check for their rules online.
Southwest airlines is still offering a discount on airfare
to seniors (as of early 2009). You have to be 65 for this one.
Just ask about their Senior Fair program. many foreign airlines
offer a 10% discount to those who are over 60. Ask.
If you are traveling to national parks in the United States
and you are over 61 you can get the "Senior Pass,"
formerly known as the "Golden Age Passport." At the
moment (2010) it is only $10, and it allows you to get into any
of the parks, national monuments and other recreation areas owned
by the federal government. It would be a bargain if it was good
for a year (it's more than $10 for one car to enter many of the
parks), but it is good for life. It is also good for up to three
other people if they are in the same car as the pass holder.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,
and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad,
wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired
by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
- Mark Twain
Continues in Chapter 29: Secrets
Note: This chapter on travel secrets was part of the
e-book Travel Secrets. Now all chapters are free on this
site. See the homepage (the link is at the bottom of this page)
for a list of all chapters and links to them.