Here are some tips for staying safe, healthy and stress free while traveling.
At the airport
Airports, worldwide, have prohibited many carry-on items because of recent terrorist activity.
Here are some tips to increase the chance of keeping your checked-in baggage safe and sound.
Photograph your luggage before you leave home. You'll find having a photo of your lost luggage will be much easier than describing what your bag looks like at the claims desk should your luggage be lost.
Pack a day's worth of clothes in your carry on, especially undergarments, so if your bags should become lost you're not running around an unknown city looking for the essentials.
Avoid short layovers. If you must connect through a second airport, be sure to leave enough time for you and your bags to make the next flight. A good rule of thumb is to try and leave at least an hour in between flights.
Some airports are worse than others. With winter upon us, travelers need to be aware that flights may be delayed or canceled at any time. Therefore, pack your patience as well as your other needs.
If your luggage is lost or even damaged, it's important that you file a report with the airline within 24 hours of your arrival, or else your claim could be dismissed.
Also, if your bag is lost for good, you'll have to list all the items inside to get reimbursed, so it's important to write down what's in your bag before you fly.
Airlines pay a maximum of $2,800 per passenger for lost luggage on domestic flights, although each carrier's policy is different.
For example, many exclude coverage of jewelry, camera equipment and medications. Always make sure that you carry any jewelry, camera equipment and medications with you, since these items may not be covered by airlines or cruise lines.
When delays occur, airlines usually advance passengers cash, or reimburse you for necessary items such as toiletries and a change of clothes, so it's important to save your receipts.
Also, make sure to carry the address of the hotel or hotels you'll be staying at. Once the airline locates your bags, most will ship them to you free of charge, so it's important that you know where they should send them.
When leaving and traveling alone, make sure the people on the arrival end of your trip know your flight numbers and arrival times. This way they can check your flights and if there is a delay, they will not worry about were you are. Also, you will not be left stranded with no one to meet and greet you.
Plan everything carefully before leaving.
With this being the cold and flu season, traveling can take a toll on your health. If you are going on a cruise, there are precautions you can take to help keep you healthy.
Always wash your hands in the restroom when using it. Try not to get onto crowded elevators and be aware of the other passengers around you. Remember that when using the buffet, others have touched utensils before you. Therefore, it is best if you use the dining room or carry a waterless soap with you and use it often. When entering a cabin for the first time, clean the door handles, TV remote, safe handle and telephone receiver with Clorox or Lysol wipes. These are things that are sometimes forgotten when cleaning.
On a cruise
Although most seniors (travel age for senior citizen rates are now 55 and older) lead very active and healthy lifestyles, many have concerns over the recent health scares aboard cruises.
If you or a family member has a concern over health risks you may want to consider speaking with your medical professional before making such reservations. Make sure you are up for the voyage and choose the right cruise for you.
Your travel consultant can help you make the right choice (i.e., you may choose not to travel during a school vacation when the ship is full of young people and children).
Seniors traveling without a spouse or family member should have a vacation buddy. You can keep separate quarters (more expensive) but at least you have someone looking out for you and you for them.
In the case of an emergency, you have someone who knows you and can tell those tending to you the pertinent information they may need in a hurry.
For help with travel arrangements or questions regarding important travel information you can contact your travel consultant.
It is important to prepare for a stress-free vacation.
Rose Mascarenhas, is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel in Sebastian. Call her at (772) 589-0633.
Call Gadabout's Melbourne office at (321) 253-3674.