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Mind Your Travel Manners

Follow these eight pre-travel tips to enjoy more pleasant and satisfying international trips. By: [Sharon Schweitzer]


if there is one thing I have

learned from clocking more than two million miles of business travel and visiting all seven world continents, it is this: International travel is neither glamorous nor for the faint of heart. Many things, like unexpected flight delays, fighting your way through crowds of people at airports and train terminals and finding that the weather at your destination isn’t at all what you were led to expect can leave us feeling out of control. But with a little advance planning, you can reduce, or even avoid, such unpleasant surprises. Here are eight pre-travel tips that I have shared with many friends and colleagues to help them experience more pleasant and satisfying global trips.


Travel clinic: Allow plenty of time to schedule an appointment with a travel clinic doctor or nurse to assess your need for inoculations (see also the advisories issued on the U.S. State Department and World Health Organization websites). Travel to certain areas of the globe requires knowledge, precautions and immunization. In Austin, the ADC Travel Clinic is an excellent resource.


Global entry: Consider applying to the Global Entry Program. Approved travelers may use automated kiosks in most major international U.S. airports to speed up the arrival process. Check the Global Entry website to see if you are eligible.


Luggage: Invest in the best luggage that you can afford. Check the wheels to ensure


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Travel and other documents: Make copies and laminate the photo and visa pages of your passport. Place a copy in your suitcase in the event you misplace your passport. It is wise to keep a second copy with you – separate it from where you keep the passport itself. Pack three times as many business cards as you think you will need. Take copies of all travel confirmations. I have organized and typed all of my frequent traveler numbers and memberships (air, hotel, car) on a small, cheerful colored card and laminated it, and I keep it in my wallet for easy access. So much slimmer and less bulky than all those cards!


Hydrate: Don’t just focus on drinking water during your flight. Begin your hydration by increasing your fluid intake at least a day before. Remember that alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee dehydrate you. To have more control over the quantity of water you are able to consume during your flight, purchase a bottle of water after you pass through the security checkpoint and ask the flight attendants to fill it as required.


Jet lag preparation: Prepare in advance to acclimate to your destination by setting your watch to your anticipated time zone in advance. Upon arrival, plan to spend time exercising or sitting in sunlight. Download soothing music or “white noise” to your

iPod to facilitate sleep in your hotel. Pack melatonin or natural sleep aids, if helpful. If possible, schedule a massage to ease those stiff joints.


What to wear: When traveling by plane, train or automobile, consider wearing dark, comfortable, stretchable clothing for sleeping in transit, and to avoid arriving crumpled. Wear booties inside slip-on shoes or ballet slippers to avoid having to walk barefoot through security. Remember that tie-up-shoes, hard-to-remove boots and lots of jewelry, sunglasses and headwear slow down the security process. There is a reason that trusted travelers and frequent flyers have a priority lane.


Returning home: Be cautious with duty-free fragrance and liquor on return flights. When arriving in the United States, once you pass through Immigration and Customs, you must claim your bags and then re-check them for domestic connections. Carry-on bags must be cleared again through security for connecting flights, so dutyfree liquor must be placed in checked bags and cannot be carried through security.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a global etiquette consultant and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide LLC. For more information, visit www. protocolww.com or www.facebook. com/protocolww, email sharon@protocolww.com or look for her on Twitter (@austinprotocol).

man looking up at world-shaped clouds image Sergey Peterman/shutterstock.com, head shot photo by Korey Howell Photography

they rotate 360 degrees and roll quietly over hard flooring, not just soft carpeting. Read consumer reports and check online reviews written by pilots and flight attendants for recommendations. Once you have purchased your new luggage, place a current business card inside each bag and complete an external luggage tag with your contact information.

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