Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Smarter Travel: Avoid Airport Delays

Remember to pack your patience along with your holiday plans. These packing rules for smarter travel this holiday season will save time and reduce stress.

Never put valuables like medicines into checked luggage. Ditto your house keys, cameras, itinerary with all the addresses and phone numbers you'll need when you arrive. It will save inconvenience, even a life-threatening emergency if your luggage is delayed.

Remember your Passport. You won't be allowed on an international flight without it. Even if you are boarding a cruise ship in the USA, a passport alwo is required if that ship is making international port visits.

Only two carry-ons allowed. It isn't an airline rule -- it is an FAA rule. The policy is one piece of luggage and one personal item such as a purse or briefcase per person. And the rules can be different internationally -- London's Heathrow airport limits you to one item, not two. That means you can fly into Heahtrow with two carry-ons, but you can leave carrying only one.

Dress comfortably. Wear clothing that is soft and breathable, and wear shoes that can slip on and off easily at security check points. And wear socks, so you aren't barefoot in the airport. Wear a zip-up or button-front jacket or sweater to speed the screening process -- these layers will come in handy as a makeshift pillow or blanket in flight.

Carry on snacks and reading material. That is especially important when travelling with children. Pack healthy snacks -- I never leave home without a bag of dried fruits and nuts, a granola bar, or both. It has saved me and my family from starvation on more than one delayed flight.

Expect delays. You probably don't need to be reminded that this is the busiest travel season of the year.