Posts Tagged ‘area’

Travel Tips From a Retired Captain

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I just received these tips from retired Captain Ron Hale. He flew international for most of his career. This is so comprehensive, I had to print it all.

1. The Euro is about 1.36 per 1 US dollar. Buy a little bit before you go (airport) and get the rest via ATM’s in Europe. The reason is you get the best exchange rate and you don’t have to carry as much cash around. Watch out for the Euro coins. They have $2 Euro coins, which is easy to mistake how much you’re spending!
2. ATM cards…make sure they work before you go. Try them out at a machine in the US. It is best to have two different ones
3. Credit cards, keep at least one Credit Card, ATM card, and a picture ID, (if possible) separate from the others, just in case you get pick pocketed

1. Cell phones usually need to be activated for use outside the United States. Call your cell phone company. This is usually free, but needs to be done for it to work in Europe. If you don’t know how to text, now is the time. A text is usually much cheaper than voice.
2. Never call long distance from your hotel room. Big surcharges often exist from your hotel.
3. Nice to bring your laptop computer, but beware of the usually large room charge to use in room internet. Most hotels have free “hot spots” in their lobbies for wireless connection.
4. Europe is full of internet cafes. Charge is very reasonable, like 1 Euro for 30-60 minutes.
5. If you are used to using Microsoft Outlook on your home computer, it would be beneficial that you learn to use the web based system for your provider. The first thing you will find is that your address book is missing. Pre-load those important e-mail addresses into your web based address book before you go.
6. Don’t forget that address book. It’s hard to mail postcards to family and friends without it.
7. Practice using humility in your mannerisms, like a smile and eye to eye contact. You may not understand their language, but humble body language speaks for you.
1. Carry valuables, …credit cards, picture ID, cash, in a waist belt or something out of view. For a man, put in front pockets. Carrying a purse, bag, etc is fine, but the real expensive stuff should be protected. I never carry my passport. It stays in the hotel.
2. Passport: Take a picture of the first page and any visa’s that apply, and then keep it separate from the actual passport. This will help should you ever lose the passport.
3. Room safes are fine, but remember to empty them when you check out. An easy mistake to make.
4. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, like most large cities, are prone to pick pockets, or grabbing of purses. When using an ATM, most are exposed to the street. Have you partner “watch your back side” when you are getting your cash. Easiest places for pick pockets are buses and the subways. Keep your guard up.
5. Always re-check airline seat pockets before leaving the airplane. I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve not followed my own advise.

1. If you travel by train, always buy a first class seat, with seat assignment. You can buy all of this at the train station. You might consider buying your trains tickets a day before travel. No security lines at the train station, so you don’t need to be there two hours prior like an airport. You will need to identify the train’s car you are getting onto and then load you own bags. There is a lot of overhead space on these trains and for the big stuff, plenty of slots at the end of each car. You can see your bags. Book the least amount of train connections.
2. When you leave your hotel, take something from the room that has the name of the hotel, its address and phone number. Then when you need to relay instructions for directions or for a taxi, just show them that.
3. Always ask if the taxi is going to use a meter. Most all large cities require this now. If not, always inquire as to the price before you start up.
4. I’ve used taxies in almost every major city in Europe. Cost is usually reasonable and affordable when traveling with more than one person. It is also free of pick pockets.
5. Remember that most major cities have taxi staging areas, like Rome. You’ll have to ask where they are or you will be standing for a very long time waiting for a ride.
6. Write down taxi number and operator name in the event you leave something behind.
7. Exception to all of this about taxies is Istanbul.

1. Look at all your electric toys: Cell phones, Palm pilots, I-pods, hair dryers, hair curlers, shavers, etc. Most all should be capable of 110-220 volts for recharging (hair dryer and curlers may not) which means you can simply plug into the wall. You will need, however, the two prong adapter for Spain. Carry a long extension cord with three connections. That way you only need one- two prong adapter and plug in. Smile! Europe hotels rarely have convenient electrical outlets by the bed. With an extension cord, your phone, clock, etc. can be bedside.
2. Remember to bring a two prong US adapter for your laptop. Most laptop electrical cords are 3 prongs. Most extension cords only accept 2 prong.

1. For clothing, plan on layers. You will get a chill after sunset, rained on somewhere, and hot and humid the rest of the time. Remember, neither bare shoulders nor shorts when entering St. Peter’s Basilica. (Men & Women) It is strictly enforced!
2. I always pack an extra set of glasses and sunglasses.
3. Comfortable shoes. You can’t imagine how much you are going to walk.
1. Eating in Italy. Remember, Trattorias, Osterias, and Ristorantes. Go for the Trattorias first. Here is some info about all of this. Any tour book you buy will have a section on this as well. They will also have a section about the names of food for that country’s language.
2. Understand what you order and how much. Ordering fondue for four might turn out to be four times more than you expected. Been there.

1. Always pack an extra set of glasses and sunglasses.
2. Bring your actual prescriptions or copies of them.
3. Don’t over pack. Leave room to bring things home you have bought.
4. Check on baggage weight restrictions for your airline. You might leave with a 45 pound suitcase only to find that Alitalia allows only 40 pounds.
5. Put a nametag in each suitcase.
6. Only put TSA approved locks on your suitcases.
7. Roll your cloths as opposed to folding them. A lot less wrinkled.

General Information
1. Get a good travel book with maps. Many times you will find yourself simply reading about what you’re seeing. Some are better than others. Reference Barnes & Noble. Look them over before you buy. The more info, the better, particularly the history. Trust me, you may not read it all, but you will read more than you think. You are spending a lot of money to go to Europe, the more you learn about what you are eating and seeing, the better.

How To Get a Hotel in a Snowstorm

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

If this last snowstorm taught me anything, it would be the vulnerability of the computer reservation system of Hotel Chains. When Atlanta was hit by its last snowstorm, I decided to leave a day early. Cancelling half the flights, which were all the mainline flights, made the decision easy. I called the hotel directly at 3 PM guarantying the room with a credit card. This was to be the best thing I did that night.
When I finally made it to the hotel after an hour waiting for a gate to park the jet, the line was 40 people long. It seems that so many flights were disrupted, the airline started calling the automated systems to find room for the passengers. Unfortunately, the automated systems had crashed and the fail-safe in the computer program was to make a reservation weather there was room or not. There wasn’t any more room, but people were still booking rooms over the phone.

When the people at the hotel waiting in line about the computer glitch, well lets just say it got interesting. The receptionists at the desk were trying to take care of the people and call headquarters to tell them to stop booking people. After waiting for an hour, it was my turn to check in. The person behind the counter had a long face anticipating she was going to have to tell me there was no more room. Her long face turned into one of surprise. She then said I had a room because I call the hotel directly and talked to a human being.
I love technology, but I love it better when it screws up royally and bites the behind of the geniuses that decided to outsource the human jobs. The lesson here is it is better to talk to a human then to trust automation when things are going South, link snowstorms. The second lesson is I say to talk to a human. That person in line with me who shouted “GIRLFRIEND, I know customer service and you are on the loosing end of this deal’ didn’t really understand who was on the loosing end. I hope he enjoyed his sleep outside in the snow.

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7 Steps to $ave Hundreds on Hotels

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

With the dollar getting weaker, it is important to squeeze every bit of value you can when finding a hotel. This is how you do it.

Step 1) Checked this site ,Hotwire.  Fill out this dynamic link with the name of city closest to the airport. This is the highest price you should pay for a hotel.

Step 2) Check that price using this Search Engine we designed with Google, and don’t forget to put in the word Hotel COUPONS! It searches this web as well as the rest of the internet to make sure we haven’t missed the lowest price for the second you look.

Step 3) Check the categories HERE to see if there may be another title that is related which could give a better deal in a way you have not thought of. These categories are “smart” in the sense they look at the cookies from all the sites you have been and find the common thread.

Step 4) Check the links from Step 2 in the “NonRev Deals Updated Daily by Google on” box really want you business and will do what ever it takes.

Step 5) Next, call the Hotel with the Hotel List below to see if you can negotiate a lower deal

Step 6) Go to other travel bid sites, like and put your bid in at least 3 days prior.

Step 7) If your bid doesn’t materialize or if you want a specific hotel in a specific area, go back to Hotwire and select city closest to airport and reserve your room. Its that easy!

GoToob to Get Through Security

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Next Month my schedule takes me to the UK which means extreme adherence to the 3 once liquid policy for security. To make my life a little easier, my friends at Crew Outfitters Suggested I try to GoToob. These container is perfect for getting through security, soft sided for ease of use, and food safe.

If you are like me, you are tired of cleaning out and filling those small plastic containers that make it possible for you to make it through security. These containers are not so easy to find. I have had to use the small shampoo containers to guarantee security won’t be a hassle. And then they were not the best for use and refilling.

The GoToob is soft sided which makes it much easier to dispense shampoo in a slippery dark shower when you are trying to get ready for pick-up and have had not slept well. Instead of doing the ‘get the little bit out that is left,’ you can squeeze the last of the contence out.

The other great feature is the big opening at the top. It is wide enough to get the thickest liquid to the bottom without clogging to top. Another nice feature on the top is an indicator for shampoo, conditioner, and others removes the guessing of the contence.

Finally it is food safe which means you can guarantee your hot sauce won’t be taken out of your flight kit. The money you save on getting the economy size of shampoo, shaving cream, even hot sauce instead of those tiny expensive containers will pay for the GoToob in no time.

So next monthwhen I have those 4 trips to the UK, I won’t have to worry about the 3 once security rule. I also won’t have to struggle in the bathroom as much when my body is on the back side of the clock. One last thing, want some hotsauce to go with that bland meal?

At 15% off at Crew Outfitters, they are lower then any other place I have found on the web. If you would like to purchase a pair, go to Crew Outfitters and use the promo code LW15.

But don’t take my word this is the best deal on the web, search the web for yourself. Just put in Gotoob in my custom search engine, programmed to find deals, and see what you get.

How to Get More Stuff In Your Suitcase

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I had the opportunity to try out the Eagle Creek Clothes Pack-it Folder  on my trip to Moscow. It says it holds up to 7 shirts. I put in 3 shirts, a sweater, and a pair of pants with room to spair. It fit well into my Pretty Neat Domestic bag. ( I have yet to get an International bag.) The first thing I noticed is how it saved space in my bag because it compressed the clothes I put in. This left me with more to put the great deals I found in my suitcase.

When I got to Moscow, my clothes were wrinkle free. It looked like I ironed them before I went out to see the sights. My clothes are usually wrinkled but I don’t care because I am usually to tired to iron them anyway.

When I was done with my trip and I had to commute home, then benefits of the Pack-it System realy hit home. I caught an earlier flight home then the jumpseat I had reserved so I wanted to change out of my uniform so as not to get asked the usual questions like “ have you ever been scared flying?’ I also wanted to have an adult beverage. I simply pulled out the Pack-it System , went into the bathroom, and changed. Then when I came back to my seat on a full flight, I slipped the Pack-it System into the overhead bin instead of pulling out my suitcase. The crew would not have appreciated that.

I think this is the prefect device for the professional traveler who wants to keep their clothes looking like they just came from the cleaners. It is also great for increasing the room in your bag. All in all I would recommend this for the traveler who wants to look professional, stay organized, and travel as compact as possible.

At 15% off at Crew Outfitters, they are lower then any other place I have found on the web. If you would like to purchase a pair, go to Crew Outfitters and use the promo code LW15.

But don’t take my word this is the best deal on the web, search the web for yourself. Just put in Eagle Creek Clothes Pack-it Folder  in my custom search engine, programmed to find deals, and see what you get.

Screw Your Buddy Pass

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

I was in the pilot lounge today when I heard a conversation about someone trying to get a friend from Seattle to Atlanta. He jumped through the hoops in the pass bureau to find it would cost $320 round trip. His friend Said thanks but no thanks because on line he could get a one way ticket for $139… for everything including Tax! You do the math. The pilot called the pass bureau again because he thought there was a mistake made with the buddy pass.

The person at the pass bureau said that that was correct fare. He asked why it was so high. The answer was ‘you have to understand that YOU have to pay for the taxes. The pilot said, if that is true, the fare on the internet has less tax than our buddy passes, right? There was silence. Not to let this fact go he added ..’Or is the company making money off us?’

So I went to my company’s pass webpage and got the price. Then I went to the Internet and used my search engine at NONREWEBSITE.  And put in the city pair. The prices at the top and right side were more than enough proof of this story. But as I always say, don’t take my word for it, go to my search engine with the city pair, look at the results, especially at the top and right and click on the to see what the total price is. Then, try the same with Google to be sure. The results will surprise you.