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Travel Tips

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Keep your hands away from your stupid face! Then, how to best deal with the drastic overreactions to this virus, that generally does not make one very sick? Ideas and comprehensive information here from world traveler, Johnny Jet.

Emergency Room list of things to take. If you ever need to go, take the things you need for spending several days away from home, because you never know. We learned the hard way in the Dominican Republic when we almost lost some fingers. (PHOTOS)

Use only known booking sites. UFO sites can steal your money and leave you with no place to stay.
For the best price, book well in advance in advance (3 months) for a room that is refundable (usually 72 within hours before arrival time). Then, a week in advance, check again for lower rates. This may save you over 50%.

Within the US the cheapest fares are generally for flights any time on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and after 2pm on a Saturday (true July, 2016).

Cheapest flights anywhere in the world - various times (this example from PHX).

Your kite gear can be a challenge. However, there are things you can do to make things go smoother when you fly.

BAGGAGE: Know the rules for checked and carry-on luggage for your particular flight and weigh your bags. Do not go by your previous trip, as things can change.
o Maximum size under-seat personal item is generally 9"x10"x17" The Hynes Eagle 44L (below, right) is supposedly the largest backpack that will fit under an airline seat. The bag is reasonably priced, has compression straps, a computer pocket and contains 17 pockets, including 11 zippers.
o Maximum size carry-on for the overhead bin is generally 22"x9"x14" (not allowed with United's Basic Economy)
o United Airlines has battery retrictions: Smart bags that do not have a removable battery cannot travel on any United or United Express® flight.

If you have problems, treat the airline people with respect and courtesy. The people at the podium can be your best friend in a difficult situation. You want to keep them as your friend, realizing that they did not cause your situation.
- If you're stuck in a long line at the airport, phone the airline to resolve the problem. If they put you on indefinite hold, phone one of their out-of U.S. offices, as it will not be so busy.

If your luggage does not arrive with you, NEVER leave the airport without it or filing a claim. Always assume the airlines will lose your stuff. I never lost anything until August, 2017 in Miami, courtesy of American Airlines. It took 10 days to get my kiteboard equipment back and was such a hassle that, in the future, I will always take a video of my bag packing and a picture of my bag.

PACKING: Sun Realty has an excellent packing list for driving and eight other categories.
- Starting in In October, 2019 the airlines have to pay you up to $3,500 for the contents of your lost bag, but you have to PROVE what you had, so video tape as you pack your bag (along with your boarding pass to prove you did the packing for this flight).


We have been pretty lucky, having never lost our luggage. We have only had to pay an overage fee one time for our kite bag, and it was not even one of those imitation golf bags. We will see if our luck holds out with our future flights.

Go to your airline's website for the final word on baggage.

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The following six US cities are the only ones with excellent public transportation so you typically do NOT want to rent a car:
  1. Boston
  2. New York City
  3. Wshington DC
  4. Phillydelphia
  5. Chicago
  6. San Franscisco

Car Rental rates should default to a weekly rate at 5 days. Book something about 45 days out and then re-shop about 5 days out. If you get something cheaper, you should be able to cancel the first booking at no charge.

Deposits for car rentals, lodging, etc.: Make advanced payments by credit card only, for protection, in case the offer is a scam or the provider is unable to provide the promised services. This comes into play more when you are looking for a steal of a deal.

Phone guy Cell phone information about SIMs etc. for just about anywhere in the world, including a list by country.

Memrise Logo Easily and effectively learn a Language with Memrise that makes it a game, with 200 languages; 4 words a day.

Plug type M How will you power your electronics on your trip abroad?
Here is a list of countries, plugs, voltages, frequencies, history, maps, diagrams, pictures and other good information.

Dollar Sign ATMs: NEVER use one in a store or on the street. Only go to one INSIDE a bank, and then always check for a SKIMMER by looking for glue around the card reader and tugging on the card reader to see if it is loose. Always cover your hand when putting in your PIN.

Purchases abroad on visa or MasterCard: ALWAYS select to pay in the local currency to avoid a, typically 10% additional foreign exchange rate. The banks even try to trick you by having payment in US funds as the default.

Etiquette for tipping, gestures, dining and do's & don'ts in 29 of the world's 193 countries. A friendly gesture in one country can be obscene in another. What may be perfectly normal in one country can sometimes be a grave insult in another.  Swiss Otel

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