Tuesday Tip: Avoid Hassles When You Travel This Summer
By Yehudit Garmaise
Few things in life are more exciting than packing up to visit new locales, but overweight luggage charges, grumpy TSA agents, and canceled flights can threaten to steal our enthusiasm.
To get the best rates: Always book as far in advance as possible. Also, consider leaving on Mondays or Tuesdays, when plane fares are the cheapest. For travel-related discounts, check AAA, and if you are older, AARP.
Swap apartments or houses with friends or relatives: to save money that would be spent on hotels or Airbnb.
Save enough money in advance for your trip: so you don’t spend the next many months paying off your credit card with added interest.
Take photos on your phone of your passport (that you checked was not yet expired), driver’s license, and other identification, unless you lose them. Also, make copies to leave with loved ones at home: just in case.
Apply for TSA pre-check to breeze right through security in no time: if standing in long, slow lines at security makes you crazy and you have an extra $85.
Leave for the airport two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours in advance for international flights. Nothing is worse than trying to fight crowds as you rush to try to make a flight. Also, write down or type your flight’s confirmation number into your phone, so you can easily print out your tickets at the airport.
Bring along: an extra day’s worth of food and clothing in your carry-on: in case of delays or cancellations.
Travel as lightly as possible. Usually, we need less than we think we are going to need, but what we bring should only be things that bring us joy and comfort, and offer us koach when we are away from home..
Leave anything heavy at home: Remember that whatever we bring, we will need to shlep through airports, subway station stairways, and bumpy sidewalks.
Don’t forget essentials: such as phone charger, small umbrella, light raincoat, Dramamine, Melatonin to help fall asleep, Advil, sunscreen, eye covers, ear plugs/noise-canceling headphones, an extra layer of clothing for the plane, Tefillin/Tallis, Tehillim, and siddur.
Stay aware of your wallet, pocketbook, and phone, all of which can easily be stolen if they are not carefully hidden in travel wallets that go under clothing or carefully hidden in bags.
When traveling with kids: Surprise them with extra-special treats, healthy snacks, and a few, new travel-friendly toys, such as small sets of new markers and coloring books, small action figures or dolls, or fresh notebooks in which they can take notes, draw pictures, or write stories as you travel.
Pack a plastic bag filled with your kids’ pjs, toiletries, and change of clothing and lay it on top of their suitcases, so when you arrive late at night, you can easily grab what you need without fishing around suitcases when everyone is exhausted.
Buy yourself a notebook and bring a camera: to record what you see, your impressions, and interesting things you heard and experienced.
Buy a small, portable electric hot water boiler, available on Amazon for approximately $33, and bring or buy hot cups with lids, a few sugar packets, and individual packets of instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate, instant oatmeal, and instant soup cups.
Read up on the area before or while you travel. Keep a running list on your phone of things, places, and activities that interest you and your family at your destination so you don’t have to start researching and planning when you arrive.
Also, keep a running list on your phone of destinations that interest you for future trips.
Keep your sense of humor: When things go wrong, just shrug your shoulders and remember that Inconveniences are just part of traveling. On the road, we can cultivate our patience, our tolerance for others, and our simcha, while expanding our horizons.
“We can’t control our lives,” the Ba’al Shem Tov says, “but we can control our attitudes."