Blog, Travel Tips, & News

Traveler Responsibilities and Best Practices, Part 2

Traveler Responsibilities and Best Practices, Part 2 Featured Image-PP

Traveler Responsibilities and Best Practices, Part 2

Last week I talked about some of the areas of personal responsibility as a traveler – those actions that are necessary to ensure that you don’t lose out on an aspect of your trip in a way that would cause you to miss out and to forfeit your right to refund or compensation.

Best Practices to Make Your Travel Better 

Beyond those basic actions that are part of your responsibility as a traveler, there are some other habits and routines that help create a better travel experience, and many of those are learned through trial and error.

Some of my best tips come from my own travel mishaps, or those experiences by friends and colleagues.

Monitor Your Stuff

ALWAYS keep medications, CPAP machines, wallets, and passports in your control throughout travel. Put them in a carry-on bag, not in checked luggage.

We suggest that you hand-carry the essentials, air and cruise documents, passports, visas, medications, eyewear, electronic devices, credit cards, cash, jewelry, and cameras. All carry-on bags must fit either under the seat (best choice) or in an overhead storage compartment on the airplane.

Make sure you’re keeping up with your important items as you go through the security line. Don’t get lackadaisical about this. It’s easy when you’ve been through the security line frequently to not pay attention.

I watch my laptop bag like a hawk when I’m going through security. You need to do the same with any valuables or bags holding important medication or medical devices.

No matter how many other bags you need to keep up with, the medicine/money bag is the most important – when you go through security, put the medicine/money bag on last, and pick it up first after you complete security.

Don’t put the bag carrying these items or valuables in the upper bin of the airplane where another passenger could steal items (I know someone that happened to). Put the bag under the seat in front of you.

Never put your wallet or medications in the seat pouch on the plane. Always keep it in your bag. See more tips about routines when flying.

Get Ahead of Issues 

Read your travel documents at least one week prior to departure so that if there’s any confusion, any errors, any problems, there’s time to deal with them and you can call your travel professional and get clarity before there’s a potential issue.

Make sure you only use the most current version of your paperwork. During the course of planning your trip, you may have numerous versions of paperwork and arrangements will likely change many times during planning. Keep two folders – one red for older documentation, and one green for the newest version of arrangements. Then leave the red folder at home when you travel.

A corollary to that is to check for last minute time changes for your tour, your flight, whatever. If you get a new tour voucher or modify arrangements, ensure you are checking the time and location of the latest info.

Take Shore Excursions with the Right Companies

Let’s talk about shore excursions for cruises.

Being back in time is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to only doing the shore excursions with the cruise line to be protected from the situation previously mentioned.

But there are some best practices here.

Number one is you do have to be very aware of the all-board time and you have to plan that you’re going to be back onboard way, way ahead of the required time if you’re on some type of excursion that’s going to leave the port area. I generally plan to be back on board 1-2 hours prior to all-aboard time, with the longer window of time if I am traveling farther from the port, and shorter timeframe if I’m going to be near the ship.

Part of this is logical. If the ship is in port for six hours, don’t think that you can take a 5 ½ hour tour. That’s too tight. You don’t have that kind of time. You’ve got to have time to get off the ship, to get started on the tour, to get back, to get back on board, and you have to plan that there could be something that goes wrong or gets delayed.

There are private tours or shared tours that you can take with recommended and legitimate companies that provide a guarantee to get you back to the ship on time. Part of that is these companies don’t plan excursions that are too long based on the port stay, and that they have a network to handle issues and breakdowns.

So, you can book private excursions or alternate excursions, as long as you do it with the right companies that can ensure that you’re going to get back to the ship on time.

If you’re at a port and tendering to a ship, you’ve got to add even more buffer time to make sure that you can get back to the tendering location in plenty of time. I advise that you do not really want to be on that very last tender. You should plan that you’re going to be back with plenty of time, but at least in time to take the second to the last tender.

Other Miscellaneous Tips

Take a couple of business cards from the hotel before you leave. That way if you decide you’re going to take a taxi home, you can hand the taxi driver the address, or if you’re using Uber (or Bolt, the Uber equivalent in Europe), you can enter the hotel name, but also verify the address – there are many hotels that have similar names, and if you just accept the first one that pops up in the app, that may be the wrong hotel.

Another good practice is to actually use the concierge in the hotel. They can offer a lot of good insights and restaurant recommendations. and such and they’re right there and they’re a ready resource for you while you’re traveling.

Make sure that you put a luggage tag on every single bag including any of your carry bags. That way if a bag gets accidentally left in a taxi or on a bus or at the airport, they can easily contact you.

Another precautionary idea is for any of the electronics that you may have to take out for security screening, such as your computer or your iPad or something – tape a business card to the back of it or put a name and a and phone number label on it so that if it gets left at security they can easily contact you.

It’s important that you know how to dial an international number on your phone. It’s something you can easily Google or look at on YouTube, but make sure you’re familiar with that.

Make sure that everyone in your party has their own copy of the travel insurance documentation and keeps it with them. If an individual from a couple decides to go for a walk, and they collapse, not having proper documentation of proof of medical coverage through travel insurance can delay their medical treatment.

These best practices can help keep a trip moving in a positive direction, so plan to review them before your next trip.