- Check your standard checked baggage allowance directly with your airline. Travelers usually may bring one carry-on and one personal item (such as a purse or briefcase) on all flights.
- Include your name and contact details clearly on tags outside and inside all of your baggage, including your carry-on. Use a business card on your labels, not your home address. If you donít have a business card, use your travel agentís business address. Tuck a business card in the pocket of your overcoat and jacket. This will help in case you leave them in a restaurant or on a train.
- Avoid packing your carry-on bags tightly so that it is easier for security personnel to check them.
- When traveling to and from North America, the Transportation Safety Administration recommends you do not lock your checked baggage, as the TSA may need to open your luggage to complete security checks. (Some travelers use tape to secure their bags, which can be removed if necessary.) Locks that have a long retractable wire cable are good for train and bus travel. You can lock your suitcase to the overhead luggage rack and feel secure when you visit the restroom or walk around the train. It is a good practice to secure the strap of your luggage around the leg of your chair or your leg while waiting in terminals and stations to prevent it from being grabbed.
- Donít put valuables in your purse. Hide those that you must carry with you in a neck pouch or waist wallet. If you are sleeping in quarters shared with people you donít know well (such as the sleeping compartment of a train), wear your security wallet when you are sleeping. Keep coins in your pocket for subways, buses and tipping so you donít have to open your purse or wallet.
Your purse and security wallet should each contain your name and who to contact in case of a medical emergency. Also include a list any allergies you have (such as ďallergic to penicillinĒ) and write this phrase in English and in the languages of the countries in which you will be traveling.
Pack any regular medication in your hand luggage and make sure that you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
- Pay attention to what youíre bringing with you. Certain items should not be carried on an aircraft because of the danger they represent. Many of these items are commonly used at work or home, but may become a hazard in flight due to changes in temperature and pressure. For a full list of prohibited items, visit www.tsa.dot.gov.
- Stay alert in busy environments. When you are at the airport, train station or other travel hub, you are at your most vulnerable to pickpockets. You will be tired, disoriented and handling cash, tickets and passport. Remind yourself to take extra care and to not rush.
- When going through passport, custom or security checks, be on your best, most serious behavior. Even when you are in a hurry and in a long line, be polite, quiet and follow all instructions carefully. Answer all questions clearly and briefly and never make humorous comments. Officials can send you to a holding and questioning area for the slightest reason. It is their job to take all comments and jokes seriously to ensure your safety.
- Keep your ticket, boarding pass and ID within easy reach. You may need to show these several times before boarding the airplane.
- All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, will be subjected to additional screening and may be x-rayed separately outside of their cases.
- Wear shoes that can be taken off and put back on relatively easily. Wearing soft low-heeled shoes may prevent the need to have them taken off.
- Limit the amount of jewelry or other metal objects that you wear and remove all metal objects prior to passing through the metal detectors in order to facilitate the screening process. Donít take anything of great sentimental or monetary value.
- Be ready for emergencies such as hotel fires: In case a quick evacuation is needed during the night, ensure that you know the quickest and safest exit from your room. Pack your valuables in your purse and keep it near the bed with a flashlight and also keep shoes and overcoat handy for going outside.
- When wearing evening clothes, safely pin your hotel and/or safe key inside your coat pocket if it causes an unattractive bulge in your clothes.
- Beware of shoulder surfers. When you are keying in your numbers for your ATM, credit card or telephone card, someone may be looking over your shoulder to get the numbers. Be wary, even if no one is near you as some thieves use binoculars! Tuck your card away as soon as you are through with it.
International Travel Tip - Before You Fly: Be Prepared
- Be sure to have a valid passport and any required visas. You may be asked to provide your passport and boarding card at subsequent points, such as at the gate or in the terminal.
- When using e-tickets, make sure that you carry all ticket-related paperwork.
- Be sure to provide your airline with the name and current details of an emergency contact.
- If possible, ensure your overseas contact details are listed in your airlineís reservation system. They may need to reach you directly outside of regular business hours in the event of a service disruption.
- Make copies of your passport, travelerís cheques, credit cards, airline tickets and itinerary. Carry one copy with you and leave one copy and your overseas contact details with a person you designate as your emergency contact.
- Bring with you the address and phone number of your countryís embassy or consulate for each country you plan to visit and local airline phone numbers.
- You should be knowledgeable about your destination. A number of web sites offer travel information that you may find useful and provide travel advisories, consular information and public announcements, including: US Dept. at www.travel.state.gov.
- We suggest you arrive at the airport two hours before your flightís scheduled departure and earlier if you are traveling with young children, infants or persons with disabilities. Keep a low profile and do not attract attention while traveling. Do not display wealth and dress to blend in.