Travel Tips

Planning a vacation can be complex when done by yourself. That’s why Traveloni’s destination vacation specialists stand ready to answer and handle all of your questions and concerns. However, we understand that there are many people who like to do as much research as they can when planning their vacation and we have provided a number of research sources and travel tips below to help you with your vacation planning.

Use the travel tips below and then call us at (800) 510-5642 or contact us and let us build on the work you have done in planning your vacation.

Before You Leave

Don’t let the challenges of air travel and airport security scare you away from vacationing in the world’s most spectacular spots. With Traveloni, you’ll have the right guidance to ease your way through airport security lines — often the most time-consuming part of your journey — and on the way to your destination.

This is a simplified guide to airline baggage and airport security regulation will help you pack without fear for your next big trip. Below, you’ll find the airport security regulations that you’ll need to know when checking your luggage and airline carry-on baggage. Also, be sure that you check with us for the most updated information for your airline as well as the Travel Security Administration (TSA).

Know the 3-1-1 for Airline Carry-On Baggage
311 Liquids TSA Requirement

This is the easy formula for airline carry-on baggage established by TSA that mandates that you can only carry liquids, aerosols and gels in three-ounce containers, which should be safely kept inside a one-quart, plastic zip-top bag. This includes common items such as toothpaste, shampoo and food. You should be aware that airline carry-on baggage extends to gift or special items including lotions, creams, scented oils, liquid soaps, perfumes and even snow globes.

The only exception to this carry-on baggage rule is if you have baby food, medications (and associated injectors) or other liquid/gel items that are for health purposes. In order to have these containers permitted, you need to declare them to an airport security officer and have them screened at the checkpoint. It’s highly recommended that you label medications to make this process smoother.

Be Aware of What Not to Bring in Checked Baggage on Airlines and Airline Carry On Baggage

Along with your personal items, you are also permitted to bring corkscrews, cigar cutters, common lighters, nail cutters, safety razors and travel-sized or blunt scissors in your carry on baggage. If you are carrying any types of martial arts weapons or tools — ax, crowbar, hammer, drill pliers, saw, etc — you’ll have to pack them in your checked bags. If you pack any sharp objects in your checked suitcase, wrap them to ensure safety for the baggage handlers and transportation security officers.

To prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires, there is a limit for packing loose lithium batteries, which are commonly used in digital cameras, cell phones, PDAs and laptop computers. For your checked airline baggage, batteries must be installed in the electronic device. You are limited to 8 grams (100-watt hours) of lithium batteries in your carry-on baggage, and they must be properly protected in original packaging or a protective case.

The transportation security officer at the airport may deem certain items too dangerous to permit through the checkpoint. Be aware that the list of permitted and prohibited items will be updated as necessary.

Pack Smart & Spend Less Time in Airport Security Lines

Your travel agent will know the different airline security regulations, but for more airlines, the maximize size of your airline carry on baggage is 45 linear inches. Save yourself from extra hassles by checking anything larger and try to pack your carry on baggage as light as possible. Know that if you have a full bag, your personal items may spill out for everyone to see when the airport security officer unzips it. For both your checked and carry on baggage, try to organize its contents, so that everything is easy to see in a brief glance.

When possible, keep from overstuffing your checked suitcase to avoid additional airline baggage fees. When traveling over the holidays, ship your gifts ahead of time instead of packing them. If you insist on bringing gifts, consider wrapping them after you arrive at your destination. For travelers who still make use of a non-digital camera, don’t pack film in your checked luggage, because the screening equipment will damage it. It’s better if you can keep undeveloped film and cameras in your carry on baggage.

Traveloni is here with helpful advice, destination information and tools to help you prepare for your next vacation. Within a few clicks, you can create and print your own packing list, which is customized to your travel destination, activities, weather and accommodations.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who packed light and those who wish they had. To include everything needed in as little space as possible, follow these helpful packing tips compiled by ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know the techniques of efficient packing and packing tips for all types of travel.

PACKING LIST – MAKE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT!

Like an architect planning a building, so must you plan the contents of your suitcase by creating a packing list. A packing list eliminates the panic of last-second packing, serves as a handy guide for repacking at the end of the trip, and can be beneficial in the unfortunate event of lost or stolen luggage.

When planning your wardrobe, consider the events you will participate in both day and night and write down a possible outfit for each activity. Crosscheck this packing list to determine if one piece can cover multiple occasions. Pick clothes that coordinate well together, based around complimentary colors.

Check the weather forecast of the destination and plan accordingly. Also, be sure to know the local traditions, where a t-shirt for dinner could be a serious blunder, or bare shoulders may bar your entrance into such places as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. For almost all outdoor activities, take pieces that can be layered.

Forget dress clothes for every occasion. The world at large has relaxed its dress code, showing almost universal leniency to tourists. Dark colors – a black dress or blue jacket – will get you through most dinners and plays.

PACKING TIPS : TO PACK OR NOT TO PACK? THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Now that the wardrobe is thoroughly planned, stick with it. When packing, lay out the items you intend to take and reexamine your packing list. If possible, weed out single-use items and extras.
Set aside the pieces you intend to bring and ensure that they are clean and ready to be packed. Contact your travel agent about the hotel’s in-room amenities – such as a hair dryer, an iron and board, soap, shampoo etc. – so you’ll know what to leave behind.

Jewelry – don’t take what you don’t want to lose, and leave behind the flashy pieces that could attract thieves. Keep makeup to a minimum to save space, and leave the perfume behind when scented lotions will work just as well.

When it comes to the question of toiletries, travel kits are always the answer. Having a travel kit perpetually stocked in a waterproof case will save in packing time before the trip and aggravation after arrival. Most personal toiletry items come in inexpensive travel sizes, so purchase these whenever you see them so as not to arrive with a half-empty bottle of your favorite hair gel. And don’t fill bottles up to the very top, for pressure inside the plane may force the contents to expand and overflow.

ALERT:

The US Department of Homeland Security is restricting the amount of liquids passengers can carry on an airplane. Canada, the United Kingdom and European Union have imposed similar restrictions.

With each item you intend to bring, visualize how to make it smaller, like photocopying certain pages and maps from the guidebook instead of bringing the entire book. Streamline your daily habits. Bring only one bottle of all-purpose lotion instead of multiple lotions for hands, face and body. Choose a regular toothbrush or razor over electric models.

Film and other accessories can be purchased globally and often easily, so save packing room by leaving them behind. Create an in-trip adventure and discover more about the area by shopping for a local brand of deodorant or lotion.

When it comes to incidentals, a few items will go a long way. Important items to bring include a first-aid kit, a tin of aspirin, sunscreen and a small bottle of Woolite for emergency, in-room laundering if needed. Also, a Swiss army knife will amaze you with its handiness, whether peeling fruit or uncorking a wine bottle. Remember – it’s not allowed on the plane, so pack it in your checked luggage.

Once your travel kit is complete, be sure to pack it in your carry-on bag to avoid a mess in your checked luggage and have on hand during the flight.

THE ART OF PACKING

Now you know what to bring, so let the packing begin. Iron everything before placing it in the suitcase. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favor of coming out the same. Button all buttons and zip all zippers.

Learn to fold. Practice folding like they do in clothing stores – they use that method for a reason. The better the fold, the fewer the creases. All garments can be folded in many different ways – T-shirts, jeans, skirts and sports coats can be rolled up and strategically positioned (i.e. stuffed) in a duffel bag or travel pack.

The interlocking method of folding clothes is ideal for suitcases. Overlap two pieces of clothing flat and then fold them into each other so that each piece cushions the other to aid in defying wrinkles. Placing a piece of tissue paper between each layer of clothing will also help prevent wrinkling.

If using the fold and stack method, try to think chronologically, placing the items to be worn first on the top. This will prevent rooting around the suitcase for a specific item while disrupting the rest.

Always pack tightly. Packing loosely wastes precious space and causes clothes to wrinkle. Eliminate wasted space, such as the insides of shoes, which are perfect for socks or underwear.

Always carry travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler’s checks, keys and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Items such as these should never be packed in checked luggage.

Label each piece of luggage, both inside and out, with your name and telephone number, but not your home address. If an address is needed, then put your office’s. And remove old claim checks to avoid confusion.

Unpack as completely as possible as soon as you get to the hotel to prevent further wrinkles. When repacking, remember that balled-up, dirty laundry takes more space than carefully folded clothes, so repack your used clothing identically to your original packing method.

ZIPPING UP

The main message: be in control of your luggage and not at its mercy. With a little coomon sense, a few packing guidelines and some helpful packing tips, traveling light will be an easy plan to follow.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, airlines have imposed strict regulations on the size and the amount of luggage passengers may check. Travelers who fail to check size requirements before their flights may be charged with extra fees in order to bring the bag on board the aircraft. To avoid such issues, ASTA advises you consult with the individual airlines’ Web sites or Customer Service lines.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Airlines have seen it all. They have seen passengers transport every type of item – from tubas to scuba gear, parachutes to perishables – and they have rules in place for each and every piece. Following those rules is critical if you want to board smoothly and arrive at your destination on time.

To help you travel better with the possessions you simply must have at your destination, here are some helpful guidelines from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for transporting special items by airlines.

Please note that some airlines and other countries may have additional rules and restrictions on these particular items, so before you travel, check with your travel agent to obtain the most up-to-date information. Your travel agent can verify your airline’s policies before you arrive at the airport, so you don’t waste time trying to track down the info yourself.

Alcoholic Beverages

Travelers may now carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag. With the exception of medications, any amount of liquid including alcohol greater than three ounces must be packed in your checked baggage. However, you cannot take alcoholic beverages with more than 70 percent alcohol content (140 proof), which includes grain alcohol and high-proof rums like Bacardi 151, in your checked luggage.

As for alcohol between 24 percent and 70 percent, you may take up to five liters per person in your checked luggage if it’s packaged in a sealable bottle or flask. Alcoholic beverages with less than 24-percent alcohol content are not subject to hazardous materials regulations.

Liquids, including alcohol purchased after clearing the security checkpoint are permitted aboard aircraft.

Camping Equipment

Camp Stoves – You can bring these as carry-on or checked luggage only if they are empty of all fuel and cleaned so that there are no vapors or residue left – simply emptying the fuel container will leave flammable vapors, so cleaning is essential. Safest bet: ship the fuel containers to your destination ahead of time – passengers frequently have to leave them at the checkpoint because of fuel vapors.

Can of GasolineGasoline – You cannot bring any flammable liquids, including gasoline, in either your carry-on or checked luggage.

Aerosol insecticides – Hazardous aerosols, such as insecticides, cannot be transported in either your carry-on or checked luggage. Personal items like hair sprays and deodorants are allowed only in limited quantities.

Flare Guns – You may pack flare guns in checked baggage, but they must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared at check-in. You cannot take these items in your carry-on bag.

Flares – You may not bring flare guns in either your carry-on or checked luggage.

Knives and Tools – Pack knives and tools in your checked luggage. Sheath or securely wrap any sharp edges so that they do not injure baggage handlers and security officers.

Animal Repellants – You can bring chemical repellants in your checked luggage if the volume is less than four ounces and its active ingredient is less than two percent (most bear repellants exceed these limitations). Safest bet: buy these items at your destination and leave them behind when your trip is over.

Compressed Gas Cylinders – Compressed gas cylinders are allowed in checked baggage or as a carry-on only if the regulator valve is completely disconnected and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e. the cylinder has an open end). The cylinder must have an opening to allow for an internal visual inspection, and security personnel will not remove the seal or regulator at the checkpoint.

If the cylinder is sealed (i.e. the regulator valve is still attached), the cylinder is prohibited and not permitted through the security checkpoint, regardless of the reading on the pressure gauge indicator.

Crematory Containers and Deceased Remains

You are allowed to carry-on a crematory container, but it must pass through the x-ray machine. If the container is made of a material that prevents the screener from clearly viewing what is inside, then the container will not be allowed through.

Crematory containers are made from many different types of materials, so it’s difficult to state for certain whether your particular crematory container can successfully pass through an x-ray machine. Just in case, purchase a temporary or permanent crematory container made of a lighter weight material such as wood or plastic that can be successfully x-rayed.

You may transport the urn as checked baggage provided that it is successfully screened. TSA will screen the urn for explosive materials/devices using a variety of techniques; if cleared, it will be permitted as checked baggage only. Out of respect for the deceased, the screener may not open the container under any circumstance.

Some airlines do not allow cremated remains as checked baggage so please check with your travel agent before attempting to transport a crematory container in checked baggage.

Bag of MoneyCurrency, Coins, Precious Metals, or Valuable Jewelry

If you are carrying valuable items such as large amounts of currency, coins or jewelry, ask the security officer to screen you and your carry-on luggage in private. This will maintain your security and avoid public scrutiny. Ask to speak with a screening supervisor before you reach the metal detectors and tell them you would prefer to be screened in a private location.

Firearms & Ammunition

You may only transport firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in your checked baggage; these items are prohibited from carry-on baggage. When transporting firearms, firearm parts or ammunition in checked baggage, you must declare them to airline personnel during the ticket counter check-in process. The firearm must be unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided container.

You should remain present during the screening and provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. If you are not present, and the security officer must open the container, the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you; if they cannot, the container will not be placed on the plane.

You must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. You cannot use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).

You may carry ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as you pack it as described above. Finally, you cannot bring black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder type firearms in either your carry-on or checked baggage.

Hunting & Fishing Equipment

Hunting Knives, Spear Guns, Bow and Arrows – All are prohibited from carry-on luggage and should be packed in checked luggage. All sharp objects should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and security screeners.

Fishing Rods/Poles – Fishing rods are permitted as carry-on and checked baggage. But before you travel, check with your air carrier to confirm that it fits within its size limitations for carry-on items.

Tackle Equipment – Fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage, for some tackle can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle (such as flies) can be packed in your carry-on baggage.

Knitting Needles, Needlepoint & Sewing

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, security officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow these items to pass through security. To avoid this from happening, bring circular knitting needles made of bamboo or plastic and blunt scissors. In any event, be sure to carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at the checkpoint

Most of the items needed to pursue a needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside. These items must go in your checked baggage.

Lighters, Matches and Zippos

In an effort to concentrate resources on detecting explosive threats, TSA will no longer ban common lighters in carry-on luggage. Torch lighters remain banned in carry-ons. You may not bring matches in your checked baggage because of safety regulations. You may, however, bring one book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches in your carry-on baggage or on your person.

For safety reasons, you may not bring “strike anywhere” matches at all.

If you are uncertain as to whether your lighter is prohibited, please refrain from bringing it to the airport.

Musical InstrumentsMusical Instruments

You may bring musical instruments as carry-on or as checked baggage, but first check with your airline prior to your flight to ensure your instrument meets the size requirements for their aircraft. Security officers must x-ray or physically screen your instrument before it can be transported on an aircraft.

As for specific instruments, pack brass instruments in your checked baggage and stringed instruments as carry-on items, if they are within carrier size limitations.

If you have an instrument in your checked baggage, include short instructions (very clear and understandable to someone with no musical background) for handling and repacking your instrument. Make sure these instructions are easy to find on or near your instrument.

Per TSA Screening Policy, you may carry one musical instrument in addition to your one carry-on and one personal item through the screening checkpoint. Individual airlines may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their aircraft, so check before you arrive at the airport.

Parachutes

You may bring skydiving rigs with and without Automatic Activation Devices (AAD) as carry-on or checked luggage. Typically, a rig will move through the checked luggage or carry-on security screening process without needing physical inspection. However, security officers have a duty to thoroughly inspect any item that raises suspicion. If security officers determine that they need to open a rig to inspect it, you must be present and will be allowed to assist. For this reason, skydivers should add at least 30 minutes to the airline’s recommended arrival window when they are traveling with their parachutes.

When checking the parachute in as luggage, pack the rig separately without any other items in the bag. Additional items, if suspicious, could trigger an inspection of the entire bag. Parachute owners may help security officers unpack and repack the rig.

Scuba Equipment

You may bring regulators, buoyancy compensators and masks, snorkels and fins as carry-on or checked baggage

Knives and spear guns are prohibited from carry-on luggage and should be packed in checked luggage. Sheath or securely wrap any sharp objects you pack in your checked luggage to prevent them from injuring baggage handlers and security officers.

Sporting Equipment

Certain sporting equipment cannot be brought on-board an aircraft, but they may be transported to your destination in your checked baggage. These items include baseball bats, cricket bats, hockey sticks, martial arts devices, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles and spear guns. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and security officers.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

General Travel Tips

With a business volume surpassing those of oil exports, food products and automobiles, the travel industry sends more than one billion tourists around the world every year. The soaring growth of tourism also has brought the advancement of ecotourism, showing that consumers are becoming more concerned with the negative impact their travel choices have on the environment.

There are numerous destinations we’ve come to appreciate and love for their extraordinary natural and historical wonders, including the unspoiled, serene beaches of the Galapagos, Mayan ruins found on the Yucatan Peninsula and chronicles of Rome’s legendary Empire. By continuing to preserve such fragile places, we can offer future travelers the authentic experiences of the world’s most priceless treasures.

There are many ways you can become a green traveler – far beyond hiking into the depths of the rainforest or camping in the Himalayas. In fact, it’s gotten so much easier to travel on a clean conscience. You don’t need to give up the comforts and conveniences you relish during any other vacation. Think of a paradise with sandy white beaches and calm, turquoise waters. Visualize a vacation of self-indulgence in massages, savory culinary treats and boutique shopping.

Whether you desire a peaceful getaway in the countryside, seek an exotic paradise by ship or long for the big, bustling city, a green vacation can easily become your dream vacation. With so many options for every traveler, it’s not hard to find something that’s affordable and has everything you value in a vacation – plus a few added benefits that make the trip worth taking.

Traveling Green Can Enrich Your Enjoyment

There’s no need to trade off the exciting experiences that make a vacation in order to protect the destinations you value. You may find that you’ll be able to enjoy more of the beautiful sceneries, friendly faces and unique activities as a result.

Across all seven continents, from the dazzling city nightlife to secluded villages tucked away in quaint valleys and mountains, there are hundreds of ways you can spend your green vacation. See how changing the way you encounter new places can take your vacation memories beyond the ordinary.

Travel by train instead of plane. Not only will you gain more scenic views along the way, but you’ll also escape the headaches of long security lines and lost luggage. Destinations throughout Europe and Asia, for example, offer superior rail travel that allows you to save money and conveniently explore multiple countries and cities in one trip.

Opt for bus, rail and/or ferry transportation. Save money and gain convenience in getting from place to place. In your travels, you’ll find several city buses built for tourists, which make frequent stops at many popular shopping and dining districts, museums and theaters.

In the recent years, more transportation systems are actively pursuing alternative resources in an effort to preserve the earth. Numerous bus systems fueled by natural gas, hydrogen or biodiesel are rapidly becoming a part of everyday life. Europe recently revealed plans for the very first hybrid high-speed train, which was originally engineered in Japan and claimed to cut emission levels by 50 percent.

Discover new places by foot. Several of the world’s most enchanting sights are set off from main roads, hidden in remote valleys, at the base of a glorious waterfall or in other places only accessible by foot. Take advantage of many unforgettable ways you can capture amazing panoramic views and up-close experiences through hiking, bikingor canoeing to unique attractions.

Consider renting an eco-friendly car. If you need a vehicle for taking day excursions far from your hotel, think about using a car-sharing program like Flexcar or Zipcar, which offers eco-friendly cars with low fees and convenient pick-up and drop-off options. You can also reduce car emissions by renting a hybrid car or the smallest car that can comfortably accommodate you.

It Pays to Be an Educated Consumer

It goes without saying that the best kind of traveler is a prepared one. Just in the past decade, there have been many more travel options made available for responsible tourists, offering bigger ways for individuals to make an impact for the good for the environment.

Use environmentally responsible services. Hundreds of hotels have a linen reuse program, recycling bins for guest use, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers and alternative energy sources. Restaurants, tour operators, car rentals and other travel service providers are also finding new ways to keep up with travelers going green.

In addition to the U.S. Green Building Council, organizations like AAA, GreenSeal and Sustainable Travel International have launched green certification programs. States have followed suit in creating rating systems or minimum standards designed to help move businesses towards greener practices. Certified businesses frequently display their green stickers (the Green Building Council’s LEED certification is the most widely recognized), making it easy for responsible tourists to spot them.

Get the facts on reducing carbone missions

Many major airlines are taking action to reduce their impact on the environment. You may notice that some have switched over to electronic ticketing, cutting down on paper consumption and waste. Now leisure and business travelers are investing in “carbon offsetting”programs. This option allows you to calculate how much Co2 your vacation will produce and purchase credits from emission reduction projects (such as solar andwind). Plan to research the airline or nonprofit organization and its alternate energy projects before you invest any money.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

As travelers reach the far corners of the world, they are faced with the responsibility to preserve the fragile environments they visit. This idea of traveling responsibly is called ecotourism, conscientious travel to protect the environment and nourish its many cultures.

In the spirit of exaggeration, the neglect of eco-conscious travel is akin to filling in the Grand Canyon to build a coffee shop. While we all love a good no-whip, extra-hot mocha, our priorities should be aimed at the preservation of this planet’s natural and cultural treasures.

By focusing on the impact of our actions and using a little common sense, travelers can make the right decisions to positively affect the world around them. To start eco-traveling, please follow these guidelines compiled by ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know how special our planet is, and why we must take good care of it. Traveloni is a proud member of ASTA.

(1) RESPECT OUR FRAGILE PLANET

Sure the planet feels solid beneath our feet, and it can hold its own against the big boys in the solar system. Yet the Earth’s ecosystem – the scenic surface features which we stand next to in pictures – is a fragile infrastructure dependent on balanced and cyclical nurturing.

Think of it as the Earth’s hair. It looks great now, but the more we tread on it, the messier it becomes, until one day the planet wakes up completely bald. Unless we combine our efforts to help in its preservation, the unique and beautiful destinations we buy expensive cameras to photograph may not be here for future generations to enjoy.

(2) LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

Take only photographs, leave only footprints. These two simple phrases sum up the heart of eco-tourism. Do not leave litter of any kind, and do not take any souvenirs from historical sites and natural areas. In some instances, like taking a piece of the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a crime.

In the wilderness never disturb anything that you can avoid disturbing. Leave all the pretty rocks where they are; your desk will survive without another paperweight. The “it’s only one rock” attitude goes out the window when a million people each take one rock from one forest.

(3) THE ROAD MOST TRAVELED

Following the basic rules of ecotourism can be as easy as following a well-marked trail, because on the well-marked trail is where you should be. Always follow designated trails and resist the urge to explore the forest.

Do not disturb animals, plants or their natural habitats, and hopefully they will not disturb you in return. You were told a thousand times as a child to not tap the aquarium’s glass, so consider each ecological wonder a special aquarium.

(4) EDUCATION IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE

Increase the size of your brain and educate yourself about the geography, customs and manners of the region you plan to visit. The invasion of foreign values can damage a culture more than a bulldozer in some regards. Get to know the culture before you arrive and know which of your actions or standards may not be accepted smoothly.

Tourism provides a positive boost to local people. Attending local events encourages indigenous pride and cultural heritage, enabling many traditions to be preserved. These traditions present a more lasting, honest perspective of the destination than any postcard ever could.

(5) R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect the privacy of others and always ask before photographing people. Some Australian aborigines believe that photographs steal their souls. Why you may not believe this to be true, respect their beliefs slide the camera back into backpack.

Also be respectful of local people’s land by asking permission before entering buildings, shrines or sacred lands. Showing respect will gain you the most treasured of souvenirs—trust.

(6) ECO-SOUVENIRS

Souvenirs are a vital part of every trip, special for their uniqueness and direct mental link to a fabulous vacation memory. As a concerned eco-tourist, do not buy products made from endangered plants or animals, such as ivory, tortoise shell, animal skins and feathers. Purchase souvenirs from local artists to keep cultural traditions alive.

Extend this idea and dine in locally owned restaurants – exploring the gastronomic scenery is just as important as visiting the main attractions of a destination. Choose locally owned and operated lodges, hotels, tour guides, and take advantage of local taxis, buses and car rental agencies.

(7) ECO-FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS

The easiest ecologically saving action to undertake is to support conservation-oriented organizations already working to preserve the environment. Select responsible tour operators and guides whose practices are based on sound eco-conscious beliefs.

Maintain an eco-friendly attitude when choosing destinations to visit. Encourage organizations to subscribe to environmental guidelines. ASTA urges organizations to adopt their own environmental codes to cover special sites and ecosystems.

(8) IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

Globetrotting with the world in mind provides a more satisfying way to travel; challenging you to learn about the places and people you visit and help sustain their fragile environments, economies and cultures.

Through increased awareness and an earnest desire to help protect natural and cultural resources for the good of the planet and for the generations yet to explore, you can trek to the four corners with a positive impact.

Travel with purpose.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

There is no doubt that travel feeds the soul. Travelers return from trips often refreshed and a smidgen wiser for experiencing a new part of the world and a new culture vastly different than their own. The effect is reciprocated by those countries and cultures that thrive from the inward flow of money tourism brings.

But oftentimes those cultures need more than money. They need help building schools and shelters. They need help learning skills and languages. They need help preserving the fragile environments and historic sites that draw tourists to their small part of the world. That is where voluntourism steps in.

Voluntourism involves people from all age and social classes traveling globally to give aid to communities in need and intimately experience the culture. This combination of exploration and inspiration is growing in popularity, mostly due to an increase in the number and variety of opportunities now available. No longer do travelers need to stay enmeshed in a foreign land for months to make a difference – they can now impact an entire community over the course of a week or two, or even during their honeymoon.

Regardless of how these travelers choose to contribute their time and energy into such a globally beneficial cause, they always return satiated, their souls well fed after making a lasting difference in the lives of their international neighbors.

Do You Have What it Takes to Volunteer Abroad?

Many of us have a strong urge to help others around the world, especially after witnessing such high-profile devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or the 2004 tsunami off the coast of Thailand. Voluntourism is the perfect way for everyday people to make a difference; however, they should first know what they’re getting themselves into.

As a voluntourist, you must be realistic – you are not going to single-handedly save a village or build a new school. During a week-long stay in Tanzania, you may only build a few desks and paint a classroom, which will not seem like much at the time. But the schoolchildren who later sit in those desks and enjoy that classroom will appreciate your efforts for a lifetime. Every improvement – no matter how miniscule it initially seems – helps form an essential foundation for further social and economic improvements.

Voluntourism is more than an alternative to a standard vacation. It’s about offering your skills and time while being part of a team and interacting with diverse cultures. Anyone considering this line of travel should be flexible, take direction well and have both a sense of adventure and humor. No special skills are needed – you only need an intense desire to make a difference and experience a destination in a way few tourists ever will.

What to Expect on Your Trip

While each voluntour trip is unique, they generally share a few similarities when it comes to the services and amenities provided. Your fee will usually include meals, which will feature delicious and adventurous local cuisine; accommodations, where you’ll stay in a hotel, guest house, community center or private home; and ground transportation from the airport to the community site.

The program fees do not typically cover airfare, visas or medical and trip cancellation insurance. For those crucial components, many wise travelers turn to a travel agent. Travel agents also offer good advice when you’re considering various options during your free time. While the purpose of these trips is to serve the host community and learn from the local people, most programs include free time for their volunteers to venture outside the community and experience more of the host country.

The trips usually last one to three weeks, depending on the location, but travelers who wish to stay longer may sign up for additional programs, which are often offered in succession. As for the other people on your trip, you can expect a wide and diverse range of allies. People of all ages are traveling abroad, including families, grandparents and grandchildren, to experience this life-changing vacation together. Regardless of who else is on your tour, you all will automatically have several important traits in common: an innate desire to help others and a passion to experience the world.

Types of Voluntourism

The variety of programs is matched only by the variety of emotions each volunteer experiences during their stay.

You can teach English to Hungarian children, helping them fulfill their education requirements. You can nurture children in Ecuador, working at an orphanage. You can restore villages in the fabled Blue Mountains of Jamaica, restoring dignity to villagers. You can help care for disabled children in China and experience life through their eyes. You can repair Aboriginal homes in Australia, helping these proud indigenous people in their struggle for equality. You can help save lives by providing basic health-care screenings, such as diabetes tests, well-baby checks and prenatal exams, in Northern Greece.

Within the United States you can tutor the children of immigrants in Minnesota, construct playgrounds for Blackfeet Indians in Montana, help deprived Appalachian families start fresh in West Virginia, work with senior citizens on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, restore community buildings in Mississippi and more.

If you’re a budget-conscious college student who wants to see the world, a volunteer abroad program overseas is ideal. Set your sights on the unforgettable scenery of Yorkshire, England, while taking part in a conservation program. Soak in the gorgeous South African sunset and learn how to protect dolphins, whales, seals and seabirds. Or venture to Costa Rica and get your hands dirty rebuilding homes. These trips are often less expensive than normal vacations, and you get more out of the travel experience than just a few souvenirs.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

America’s National Parks are not just the great outdoors, they’re the greatest outdoors. They are the wide open spaces and the wild places, where generations of Americans escape to marvel amid the Earth’s most wonderful playground of caves, caverns and canyons; of dry desert hills that stretch as far as the eye can see and geysers and waterfalls that conquer the air with water; of mountains, volcanoes and glaciers that make men look like ants and historic sites that remind us that some men become giants.

With 388 national park sites to choose from, picking one should be easy. At the tip of your travel tongue may be Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but dig a little deeper and you will find many surprises. America’s National Parks are more than just hiking trails into mountain valleys, campsites overlooking sweeping vistas and unparalleled chances to watch moose and elk run wild. Many are famous historical sites, battlefields and small parks with big-time scenery.

Whether you want a wild adventure or an historical quest, follow these helpful tips compiled by ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know which parks to visit when, and they’ll gladly show you how to keep your “pic-a-nic” basket away from the pesky bears.

Follow Your Sense of Adventure

Choosing the park that’s right for you is as simple as choosing how you want to play, for the parks offer a nearly endless range of activities to explore and indulge.

In America’s National Parks, you can scale an active volcano in Hawaii; raft over class V rapids through magnificent gorges and valleys at Gauley River NationalGlacier NP Recreation Area; cap off a day on Alcatraz Island back at your hotel with a spa treatment before hitting the streets of San Francisco; embrace history by tracing footprints at Antietam National Battlefield or watching oil droplets bubble to the surface of Pearl Harbor above the USS Arizona Memorial; shine a solitary beacon of light into the dark depths of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave; snorkel off the coast of Padre Island National Seashore; experience a mystifying sense of neighborly warmth around the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site; or conquer the ice age by hiking along Glacier National.

No matter which park you choose, you will find many options and many delights, so keep your mind open to the possibilities and your soul open to the experiences.

Redefining “Crowds”

Picking the park for you may depend on how well you like crowds, according to travel agents. Some National Parks reel in millions of visitors a year, though a crowded park is not like a crowded bus. There is plenty of room for everyone, and even the most crowded parks, like the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, have plenty of areas where your footprints will be the first ones of the day.

Nez Perce National Historical Park (Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana)

These 38 sites in the valleys, prairies, mountains and plateaus of the inland northwest honor the history of the Nez Perce people as they mixed with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, settlers, soldiers, gold miners and farmers. Several sites feature interpretive trails, and visitors will often see golden eagles, marmots, black bears and mule deer.

Isle Royale (Michigan, Minnesota)

You’ll escape crowds of people in these wild woods of the North, but encountering crowds of wolves, otters and moose is another thing. Roadless Isle Royale is a 45-mile long wilderness archipelago in the heart of Lake Superior, gloriously threaded with 165 miles of scenic hiking trails connecting historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.

Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland)

You will not see the President on Catoctin Mountain, for his nearby, well-known retreat, Camp David, is closed to the public. But you will see plenty of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and woodpeckers among the beauty of this rolling forest. Camping and hiking dominate the minds of visitors here, with relaxation in resplendent nature the ultimate goal for presidents and common folk alike.

When to Go

Even though parks are open year round, travel agents suggest you check with each individual park to confirm that it will be open to the public. The summer and winter months are generally the most popular times, depending upon when the scenery excels. To avoid the crowds, gain better access to the viewing areas and enjoy more time in leisure pursuits, travel during the spring and fall, as the rising and falling foliage will add to the splendor of the landscape.

Peak periods also follow school schedules, so avoid winter break, spring break and the summer holidays. Visiting during the week will garner you much more open spaces than weekends. That said, traveling during peak times, like most of us are forced to do, should never deter you from visiting, for the parks are well worth the trip 365 days a year.

Where to Stay

Deciding how you will spend your nights in America’s National Parks depends mostly on your individual needs and desires. Camping is the most popular option, whether in a tent, RV or in the backcountry. Most parks have cottages, cabins, lake houses or houseboats to rent. There are even hotels often located inside the park for those whose idea of roughing it is being forced to drink instant coffee instead of their usual blend from Starbucks.

Each park will have a different mix of options, so talk to your travel agent to see what’s available. And as with any trip, book your accommodations as far in advance as possible. More people want to sleep in National Parks than the parks can accommodate, forcing park officials to ration campground sites and backcountry permits. The National Park Service has a reservation system that rewards those who know the rules and know when to call—a system travel agents know well.

Fun for the Whole Family? Children, Yes. Pets, No

National Parks are perfect for kids. Most of the larger parks run Junior Ranger Programs, allowing kids to participate in fun activities while learning about the area’s natural habitat and historic significance. Other parks offer nature walks and wildlife talks specifically geared towards children, to show them that nature has more to offer than video games.

While kids thrive in the wide-open expanse of National Parks, pets do not. Simply put, the wilderness is not pet-friendly. Some hiking trails prohibit all pets, while others demand that they remained leashed. Bears, wolves and mountain lions prey on small animals and will be attracted to your trail or tent if you bring little Fifi along.

General Tips

The first thing you should always do upon arriving is stop in at the Visitors Centers. Inside, the friendly park rangers will have the latest information about safety hazards, closures, weather and wildlife notices.

Always stay on the trails when walking and hiking to protect both you from the wilderness and the wilderness from you.

Clean up after yourself. We all must do our part to preserve the parks, so that everyone can experience the wonders they have to offer for years to come

Get out of your car. Too many people drive through the parks, stepping out here and there for a quick view. To truly experience the park, get out and find a hiking trail.

Save on park fees by getting a pass. A National Park Pass costs $50 and is good at all parks for one year. This will allow you to pass through the entrance gates more quickly and motivate you to visit more parks throughout the year.

388 Ways to Say, “Wow”

The United States goes to great lengths to preserve the best of its natural and manmade heritage. With 388 National Parks to choose from, millions of Americans enjoy this privilege, while millions more are welcomed to explore.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Accessible travel — travel by people with disabilities — is an adventure enjoyed on a global scale. Yet too often this adventure is sidelined or delayed by inadequate facilities, higher prices and general hassles other travelers do not face. In spite of this, travelers with disabilities are boarding cruise ships and planes in record numbers to explore the four corners of the Earth.

There are as many disabilities as there are disabled people, so each traveler’s needs are different. Thankfully, the travel community is generating more and more solutions to these needs, creating a growing network of travel options for disabled people worldwide and broadening the access of accessible travel.

To travel around the world without barriers, check out these tips from the American Society of Travel Agents. Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know travelers with disabilities do not ask for charity or discounts – only an equal opportunity to see the world.

Choosing a Destination – Play it Smart Before You Depart

Many countries accommodate disabled citizens and travelers competently, from creating the proper infrastructure for wheelchair and scooter access to having a wide selection of hotels and restaurants that allow service dogs. Unfortunately some countries do not support disabled travelers to the same extent.

The lesson here is simple – thoroughly study the country you’re traveling to before boarding the plane or ship. World of mouth from other disabled travelers is a great resource, and the Internet can provide some details, but no source is more valuable than a travel agent, especially one who specializes in disabled travel.

Ask a travel agent detailed questions about the customs of the country and the services provided at each destination you plan to visit. Your travel agent should also provide you with information on transfers while advising you of types of terrain you can expect to encounter, for cobblestone streets, while very picturesque, do not mix well with wheelchairs.

Preparation – Not Laughter – is the Best Medicine

Your health should be the number one priority wherever you travel. Talk to your physician about the trip you have planned and immunizations you’ll need. Be specific when describing the trip to your doctor, including all ports your cruise ship will stop in and all means of transportation you’ll encounter. Your doctor can provide tips and medicines for coping with long flights, along with advice on medical facilities at your destination and how you can obtain prescription drugs in case of an emergency.

Be sure to take enough prescribed medication to last the duration of the trip, including extra medicine and a copy of your prescription just in case. accessible travelPack all medication in your carry-on bag, for checked baggage occasionally travels east while you’re heading west. Also, carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers, for many countries have strict drug-trafficking laws and might be suspicious of pills in unlabeled bottles. In fact, it’s wise to travel with a signed letter from your doctor detailing your condition, medications, potential complications and, if you’re diabetic, your requirement to carry needles.

Puppy Love – Keeping Service Dogs Happy

Some countries have restrictions on service dogs arriving or simply traveling through their countries, so check with your travel agent first. If service dogs are permitted, discover if any quarantine or vaccination requirements will apply. Be sure to have your dog’s rabies shots and other vaccinations up-to-date, and bring all paperwork to prove it.

Ask your travel agent if your hotels will allow your service dog entrance, if there will be an adequate area for the dog to relieve itself and if the airline you plan to use has any animal restrictions. Some airlines, such as United and Northwest, impose summer restrictions when the temperatures soar higher than the planes.

Several cruise ships have designated areas—such as individual boxes filled with wood chips or crumpled newspaper – designed for your dog. Check with your travel agent to ensure your cruise ship supplies these, and if so, practice with your dog in a similar container before you go. And since some ports do not allow dogs to enter without proper quarantine time, be sure to have a back-up plan or a friend handy in order to disembark and enjoy.

Wherever your plan to explore with your guide dog, be sure to research where the closest vet and emergency pet hospitals are located. Hopefully you will not need to use this information, but having it close may be vital.

Wheelchairs and Scooters

Some large planes have a space to put a manual wheelchair in the cabin, though most wheelchairs and scooters are placed in cargo. They are the last items loaded and the first to come out. Have your travel agent try to book a non-stop flight if possible to alleviate the hassle of getting your chair out of cargo. Use gel-cell batteries if traveling in a power-driven wheelchair, for many airlines refuse to carry wet-cell batteries for security reasons.

No matter what type of wheelchair or scooter your ride, have it serviced before a trip. It may be difficult to find a repair shop while on safari in Botswana. Be sure to bring spare parts and tools, and you or someone you’re traveling with should know how to dismantle your scooter or wheelchair just in case something goes wrong.

The Art of Travel

With so many factors to organize at once, planning a trip can be wonderfully chaotic. So all travelers – disabled or otherwise – benefit from advanced planning, which can save you a lot of time and effort. It’s far easier to make reservations and deal with problems from home than from a castle in Germany where you may have to deal with language barriers. Yet no matter how much you plan your next vacation, unexpected problems still arise.

When a problem arises, especially when you’re in another country, a travel agent is a good thing to have on your side. Before, during and after your trip, you can ask your travel agent about what special assistance you can expect from the hotel, tour group or transportation company; whether your special dietary needs will be met at certain hotels; or where the nearest accessible hotel is in Amsterdam if your reservation is accidentally lost. Also, some travel agents specialize in different types of accessible travel, from hearing-impaired to wheelchair tour groups. In short, travel agents from Traveloni make the world more accessible.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

We all come from somewhere. Whether our parents bravely crossed borders for a better life before we were born, or generations ago our families were deeply entrenched in the southern hemisphere, our bloodlines race with the trade winds across the oceans to connect to another land and another time.

Nowadays, more and more travelers are discovering the roots of these bloodlines through heritage travel, which combines the excitement, relaxation and bonding of a vacation with the education of a history lesson. But this is not your regular history lesson, when you slept on your desk in the back of the room during fourth period. When the subject of the lesson is your family, you’ll enjoy sitting at the head of this class.

Discovering your roots through heritage travel is especially poignant if your cultural background is dissimilar from your partner’s. Sharing their heritage with a new spouse or with children is driving more and more people to bypass the amusement parks of the world and head for the homelands of their forefathers.

To discover more about heritage travel and how it can enhance your next vacation, talk to a member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know how to connect the glories of your past with a glorious vacation of your present.

The Many Faces of Heritage Tourism

Heritage tourism is traveling to experience the places, monuments, museums and relics that tell the story of a people, culture or race. This story often represents eons, tracing the arduous journey of a national consciousness from its primordial beginnings to its present day state. During this story, travelers discover ancestral points of view, symbolic artifacts and all the small pieces that create their cultural identity.

Yet heritage travel is not just limited to the discovery of deep ancestral roots. Often it’s a journey to the recent past to experience the events that shaped our current surroundings. This form of heritage travel is popular in America, where travelers seek out tangible history icons – battlefields, civil rights protest sites – that were instrumental in the development of the nation.

Outrigger on Hawaiian SeaStates are catching on to heritage travel’s growing popularity. Many have formed cultural heritage tourism programs designed to promote significant sites and monuments within its borders. One crucial step in this promotion is to officially list these sites with the National Register of Historic Places, where currently more than 74,000 historic areas, national parks and landmarks are identified for preservation and celebration.

Not to be left behind, countries around the world are making their heritage sites a priority. Since heritage tourism uses national assets – historic, cultural, and natural resources – that already exist, countries realize the benefit of developing their tourism potential as opposed to creating new attractions. This arrangement works well for the assets themselves, for the prestige associated with national designation elevates these properties as valuable cultural resources, ensuring the restoration and preservation needed for them to be enjoyed for generations to come.

The Many Destinations of Heritage Travel

With 192 countries in the world, each with a distinct and unique history, there are a vast number of heritage sites for all travelers interested in uncovering their roots. Visiting the country of your lineage is the most common form of heritage travel, where you can see firsthand the customs and settings of your forefathers by visiting museums, castles, battlegrounds and villages.

In the United States, many minority travelers prefer to stay within the borders to investigate the recent past. African-Americans are rediscovering the scenes – of both triumph and anguish – of their southern heritage by visiting historic sites detailing slave life and civil rights struggles.

Aiding these endeavors, many southern states are endorsing African-American heritage sites. Tennessee actively promotes the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, while Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia recently opened the Great Hopes Plantation – a realistic replica of an 18th-century plantation complete with black field slaves and their tiny slave dwellings.

Hispanic travelers are also discovering the enormous impact of their forefathers. From the Spanish Colonial era up to the mid-20th century, the Unites States witnessed an influx of Hispanic immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean and Spain. Nowadays travelers are flocking to Hispanic cultural sites, including the San Antonio Missions, De Soto National Memorial Park near Tampa Bay and St. Augustine, America’s oldest city.

Travel Agents Connect You to Your Past

Transforming the annual family vacation into a cultural history lesson can be a rewarding experience that adds an unforgettable and personal touch to your travels. However, travel agents want you to remember that half of a heritage vacation is the vacation – always plan a little R&R time between sites.

To begin the R&R time early, rest easy and get a travel agent to plan your heritage trip. Armed with a world of knowledge, travel agents know the best ways to get you and your family to the places you want to go, connecting multiple cultural sites into one, wondrous journey, all at a fair price that will make your ancestors proud.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

The permission slips are signed, your bags are packed and you’re, like, so ready to ditch the classroom and head out on your class trip. Travel is an exciting opportunity to experience different places and wondrous cultures, so the key is not to blow it by doing something that will ruin the trip for yourself and others.

While it’s tempting to forget about all the rules as soon as your chaperones turn their backs, you should keep in mind these tips from ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know that studying for your upcoming trip is a homework assignment you’ll actually enjoy.

Before You Go

Before you go, learn about the local laws and customs of the countries you’re visiting, especially those concerning drinking age, drugs and curfews. You are not immune to a country’s laws just because you’re a visitor, and you can be arrested.

Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. It’s hard to enjoy the sights when you can’t see them.

Pack a simple first aid kit with bandages, antibiotic cream and pain relievers. It’s a good thing to have “just in case.” And tell your trip leaders about any medications you’re taking.

Give your parents the phone and fax number of your hotel, the cell phone numbers of the chaperones and a full itinerary of your trip. If anything changes during the trip, e-mail your parents immediately with the new info.

Pack all valuables, medications, travel documents and passport in your carry-on bag. Occasionally checked luggage gets lost at airports, so you want to have your important items on you.

While You’re There

Do not carry all your cash at once, especially if all you need is enough to buy lunch and a few sodas. And keep your wallet in a zippered pocket, preferably inside your jacket. If you need to exchange money in a foreign country, only use authorized vendors like banks.

Don’t be flashy. Wear an old, inexpensive watch and leave the bling at home. You don’t want to be a walking target for thieves. If you bring a fancy digital camera or an MP3 player, don’t flaunt them.

When you check in at your hotel, grab a card from the counter with the hotel’s name, address and phone number on it. Keep this card on you at all times.

Look both ways before crossing the streets. Yes, you’ve heard that a billion times, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to step into oncoming traffic in foreign countries, especially the ones where they drive on the other side of the road.

Travel with a buddy at all times and never wander off alone from the group.

Be respectful around, and ask permission before taking photographs of, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other religious sites. Also, ask permission before taking photographs of government buildings and military installations. In some countries you can be detained for taking a picture of the wrong building.

Talk to your trip leader or to a travel agent about types of food or beverages to avoid, and don’t buy food from street vendors.

Class Dismissed

Going on an extended class trip may be the most fun you’ll ever have while actually learning something. If you follow the rules above and stay out of trouble, the only memories you’ll bring back are good ones.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Now more than ever, women are traveling by themselves for business or pleasure. And although their reasons for traveling are similar to their male counterparts, women traveling alone have very different concerns. From safety issues to cultural variations, women travelers encounter a variety of difficulties that can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken.

To learn how you can travel safer, read these tips from ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members understand that while it pays for both men and women to be educated travelers, it is imperative for women to plan every step of their trip – from packing a suitcase to choosing a hotel room – to ensure a safe return.

Know Before You Go

Learn as much about the destination as possible, especially when traveling to a foreign country. An area’s religious or cultural beliefs can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and demeanor to comply with local customs. Also, what is regarded as sexual harassment in one country is part of the social fabric of another, so avoid form-fitting or revealing clothing to prevent unwanted attention.

Welcome to Hotel Safety

Get to know the staff, who will be familiar with guests and are able to more effectively monitor who enters and exits the building. Ask beforehand if a member of the staff will be available to escort you to your room if you arrive late at night. Ask for a room on a higher floor near the elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells, and any renovation work. Never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out your name and room number.

While at the front desk, grab a card from the counter with the hotel’s name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. Once inside your room, make sure the door has a peephole and a deadbolt. If it doesn’t, make sure you don’t open the door to someone you don’t know.

Travel Documents

Make two copies of important travel documents – one set for the trip, and one for friends or family to keep at home.

Packing Smart

Pack light so you won’t be weighed down and look weighed down, both of which would make you an ideal target for pickpockets. Avoid expensive looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage tags with your office address written on it rather than your home. Carry only one credit card, and don’t keep all your money in one place.

Transportation

Explore transportation options available at your destination ahead of time, especially if you will be arriving late in the evening. Travel agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary arrangements. If renting a car, carefully examine maps, write out directions in advance and bring along a cellular phone.

Know Your Surroundings

Study a map of the area you will be visiting. Learn as much as possible about getting around the streets to avoid looking like a lost tourist. Ask the concierge about where – and, more importantly, where not – to go.

The Best Vacation Memories are Good Vacation Memories – There may be safety in numbers, but there is also safety in knowledge. With some advance planning and the advice of a professional travel agent, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle free and memorable.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Business or pleasure? That’s the first question people generally ask about an upcoming trip. Your answer gives them a reasonable range of responses, for they understand the parameters associated with both business trips and pleasurable vacations. On the other hand, an answer of adoption travel carries no definite impressions, for it intricately combines business and pleasure along with international bureaucracy and domestic devotion.

Adoption travel – traveling internationally to adopt a child – is a growing route for travelers. According to the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, the availability of newborns in the United States is diminishing, prompting more than 20,000 Americans to adopt internationally. Of those adoptions, more than 75 percent of the children came from China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea and the Ukraine – five countries that represent a broad range of conditions, for both travel and adoption.

Traveling to a foreign land while worrying about the adoption procedures provides a double-whammy of stress on potential parents. To alleviate the anxiety from the travel side of the equation, turn to a member of the American Society of Travel Agents. Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know how to prepare practically and mentally for such a life-altering journey.

The Travel Side of Adoption Travel

Adoption travel is an umbrella term for three separate journeys: the pre-adoption trip, where parents travel to another country to learn about the culture of the child they are to receive; the actual adoption trip, where parents meet and take home a child they’ve grown to love through pictures; and heritage trips, where the family re-visits the child’s homeland, allowing the child to understand his or her cultural roots.

Pre-Adoption Trip: To give an adopted child a sense of their cultural identity as they grow up, it’s essential for parents to form a relationship with their child’s birth country. Reading travel books is a good start, but experiencing the country firsthand through a pre-adoption visit creates a superior connection.

Understanding a foreign culture imparts invaluable insight to parents as they raise their child, for a day will come when a child asks about his or her homeland. To completely appreciate a country’s uniqueness, pre-adoption trips should be taken when a parent can focus on the culture and the people without being preoccupied with the actual adoption.

Adoption Trip: Some parents who adopt internationally are provided the choice of having their child escorted to the United States or traveling to the country to bring the child home. Travel agents agree: traveling to the country is best, especially if the parent was unable to previously explore the country through a pre-adoption tour.

When making plans for the adoption trip, parents often get swamped in all the details of coordinating an international visit while simultaneously filling out countless adoption papers. This is where a travel agent can truly help out.

Some countries require parents to stay for long periods of time to complete an adoption. Some travel agents who specialize in adoption travel know of hotels or furnished apartments in safe areas that offer discounts to adoptive families. Travel agents who specialize in countries like China and Russia will know much about the country from personal experiences, and they’ll help you prepare for the cultural differences you’ll encounter while setting up your hotel and plane reservations.

Once the weight of travel planning is off your shoulders, you’ll be able to focus more acutely on the adoption itself.

Homeland Heritage Trips: With most cases of international adoption, there comes a time when the adopted child’s interest in his or her home country can only be satiated by a visit. Children are innately curious, and learning about the food, people and customs of their birth culture is a vital identity-building experience.

Travel agents stress the importance of creating a wide-ranging itinerary for a homeland heritage visit, for a child should reach beyond general tourist attractions to understand the true essence of his or her culture. Include in your itinerary a trip to a zoo, where the indigenous animals will delight the child, or have your travel agent set up insightful tours away from the main tourist hubs.

Adopting a Positive Attitude

In the end, travel agents insist that parents take one thing along their journeys throughout the adoption process: a sense of wonder. Having a sense of wonder will help a parent adjust to new situations and become actively interested in the culture of their new child, all while keeping their composure in the face of adversity.

Business or pleasure? Make it both by including a travel agent in your adoption travel plans to create an enjoyable travel experience that will help your new family start out on the right foot.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

It’s no secret that winter and holiday travel can be the most stressful occasion. Especially when the hustle and bustle of holiday travel starts, people become more distressed with long waits and unexpected challenges. If you travel by air or car during the cold season, you can count on more delays than you’d experience in the summer. Once bad weather appears during the peak times for air travel, we end up with the lengthiest flight delays, cancellations and missed connections of the year.

On the other hand, road travel has its share of annoyances and risks. There may be road closings, slower speeds due to snow or sleet, traffic accidents and other obstacles to throw you off track. However, don’t let the winter and holiday travel season make you blue. Become a smarter and happier traveler for your next winter vacations — use common sense winter travel tips to make life easier as you journey to and from your destination.

Airline Travel Tips: Flying Doesn’t Always Lead to Disaster

Can you feel your teeth grinding as you imagine flying to your destination? If you’re traveling a great distance over the holidays, the last thing you need is a stressful airport experience to start your vacation on the wrong foot. Consider some of the simplest airline travel tips that can alleviate your worries.

Plan ahead for your own sanity. Waiting to the last minute always leaves a great deal of your trip up to happenstance. Of all of the top winter travel tips you may find, this is the one piece of advice that will be well worth spending the extra time and effort. Contact your travel agent to book your vacation in advance as soon as you can manage. Then, you’ll be able to avoid peak travel dates, get lower airfare, fly direct (or minimize your connections) and fly early or late in the day to avoid the bigger crowds.

Leave at least an extra hour earlier. As you prepare for your winter vacation, give yourself more time than usual in order to anticipate the peripheral delays that could occur. Remember to bring some reading material while you wait in the security line or at your departure gate. In cities with snow or ice, arrival delays can exceed two to three hours and de-icing procedures can take an hour before takeoff.

Pack as light as possible for your holiday travel. Since more airlines are getting stricter on baggage limits and weight allowances, packing less and lighter suitcases could save you money and time. If you’re planning holiday travel to be with your family and friends, consider shopping online and having your gifts shipped to your destination. This strategy will help cut down on luggage and minimize the risk of losing any special gifts.

Steer clear of influenza. Winter travel can be a frequent contributor to the cold and flu time of year, adding a miserable element to your winter or holiday travel stress. Before you leave, visit your doctor’s office to get the flu shot or nasal spray flu vaccine, which is only available for ages 5-49. Most germs will spread by contact, so wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer constantly.

Stretch your legs often. If you find yourself in cramped quarters or passing time on long flights, there’s the possibility you could develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), leading to blood clotting in your legs. So, remember this essential airline travel tip on your next flight — take some time to walk around and stretch your arms and legs once every hour.

Winter Driving Tips: Easier and Safer Winter Road Trips

For road travelers, winter can also be the most dangerous time of year. Motor vehicle accidents involving bad weather, mostly ice and snow, claim the lives of 6,000 Americans and injure 500,000 more every year. The following winter driving tips will help you stay safe and a little less anxious on your next trip.

Have your car examined before you leave. This is one of the most crucial winter driving tips. It’s the climatic scene of many movies, where someone’s car breaks down in a strange town. The last thing you want to worry about is your car falling apart, leaving you stranded far away from home. Take it to your local auto shop for a quick once over, and make sure your tires are winter ready and properly inflated.

Be prepared for a change in course. Before you depart, become confident in knowing your route. It’s very important that you’re ready for anything on the road that could slightly change your plans, including construction, road closings and traffic hurdles. Remember to keep the directions as well as appropriate state map(s) handy, in case you need to reroute your trip.

Stay hydrated for the journey. It probably seems like dehydration isn’t very likely, but a recent Mayo Clinic study shows that a mere one- to two-percent loss of body weight can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, which could be deadly in icy winter driving. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold — so rely on high-energy food including sandwiches, a thermos filled with soup and fruit.

Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Don’t leave without the essentials for a safe road trip — a cell phone (don’t forget the car charger); ice scraper; tow rope and jumper cables; sand or cat litter to aid with traction; blankets; flashlights, matches and emergency candles; first aid kit; portable radio; and a good book, in case you do get stuck.

Make frequent rest stops. Winter driving is much more fatiguing than in the summer, so you’ll want to make time to stop and stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road will make all the difference in improving your alertness when you’re back behind the wheel.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Transportation Tips

Renting a car can enhance the flexibility of any trip – be it business or leisure. This information explains the process of renting a car and provides some car rental tips and car rental advice.

Finding the Right Car Rental Company

Ask a Traveloni agent to help you find the right car rental firm for each trip. Different firms serve different cities throughout the world. A Traveloni agent can save you the time and effort of calling several different companies to find the best rate and car for you. Also, a Traveloni agent may be aware of promotional rates and special programs that may not be advertised to the general public.

The Cost of Renting a Car

Car rental companies generally charge four types of basic rates: a daily rate with a mileage charge; a daily rate with a limited number of free miles per day; a daily rate with unlimited mileage; and a rate that has free mileage over an extended period. Rates vary according to the size and style of vehicle but most firms rent economy, compact, intermediate and deluxe cars. Special promotional rates are often available, especially over weekends, but these should be specifically requested in advance.

Other charges may also be added to the rental price, including:

Car Rental Taxes
In addition to the daily rental rate and the charges mentioned above, taxes (which vary by state) are also charged. For international car rentals, taxes often add up to 10 to 30 percent in addition to the rate quoted. International rentals are also subject to a possible Value Added Tax (VAT). At a few airport rental locations, some car rental firms may also charge an “airport surcharge” fee of about 10% of the rental rate in addition to normal taxes.

Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully to see what the rental rate covers, possible restrictions, and the liability for the renter. If a car rental firm is offering a low rate, make sure that the agreement’s restrictions do not outweigh the cost savings.

Car Rental Drop-off Charges
An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different city or location than where it was picked up. Be sure to advise the agent when making your reservation if you wish to drop off the car at a different location. The drop-off charge may already be included in the car rental rate.

Gasoline
Familiarize yourself with the car rental company’s policy on gasoline when you check in. Some companies charge you a flat rate for gas upon renting the car and expect you to return with the gas tank empty. Most, however, will assess a charge based on the firm’s gas rates for filling the gas tank when the car is returned, if it is not already full. Since gas prices are usually less expensive at gas stations, it is advisable to fill the tank before returning the car if you are expected to return it with a full tank of gas.

Car Rental Insurance Options

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
If a rental car is damaged, the renter may be responsible for the first several hundred dollars of damage (the deductible) up to the full price of the car. By purchasing CDW (also known as Loss Damage Waiver or LDW), the renter is released from responsibility of any loss or damage to a vehicle up to the full value of the car. However, if the renter is in violation of the rental agreement, the waiver is void. Your personal auto insurance may already provide coverage for damage to rental cars and the purchase of CDW or LDW may not be necessary. Regulations for selling CDW/LDW vary from state to state.

CDW/LDW is usually an optional feature, however, a few companies require renters to purchase this waiver. Determine whether or not you need CDW/LDW before you arrive at the rental counter (check your own automobile insurance policy) and consider how much this CDW/LDW may increase the daily rental rate (CDW/LDW costs range from $8 – $12 per day). In some cases, you may find a special rate for a larger car which already includes CDW/LDW. In the long run, the larger car may be less expensive than the economy car with additional CDW/LDW costs.

Also, some credit card companies offer CDW/LDW insurance as a card holder benefit. Be sure to read the fine print on these agreements (as well as on car rental agreements!) Usually the protection afforded by credit card companies could be supplemental to your own insurance. Therefore, if you get in an accident, your own insurance will cover the repair costs up to its maximum and then the credit card company will cover the difference. As a result, your own car insurance rates may be affected.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Accident Insurance provides accidental death and medical coverage for the renter and additional passengers during the time they are riding or driving with you. Check your personal car insurance policy to see if it covers car rentals. If your policy covers car rentals, you may not need PAI. This insurance is usually optional.

Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
This coverage provides protection against loss or theft of personal belongings from the rental car. Once again, check your own auto insurance policy to determine whether your coverage includes rental cars.

Additional Liability Insurance (“ALI”)
ALI is an optional insurance that protects the renter and other authorized operators against claims made by third parties for bodily injury/death and property damage caused by the use or operation of the rental vehicle. Check with your own auto insurance policy to determine whether additional excess coverage is already provided.

Car Rental Documents and Requirements

All car rental companies require a valid drivers license. Some car rental companies check the driver’s history and will deny a car to a customer with a poor driving record. In some foreign countries, an international drivers license may be required.

In addition, many car rental companies require a major credit card to guarantee payment even if there is a prepaid voucher or direct billing to the client or corporation. If a credit card is being used for payment, be aware of your credit card limit; many car rental companies require immediate credit approval before renting the car which can substantially reduce your remaining balance of credit.

Alternatives to Credit Card Payment
If you do not have a credit card, most car rental locations will accept their own pre-paid vouchers issued by an appointed travel agent. Some car rental companies require that you fill out a cash qualification questionnaire at the rental location during normal business hours so that it may be verified.

Most companies will require a large cash deposit or a cash advance that can even exceed the estimated charges of the rental if a credit card is not presented for payment. They may also require the renter to be over a certain age. The final acceptance of a non-credit card rental, however, is the decision of each individual rental location.

Driver’s Age
Usually, car rental companies require renters to be at least 18 years old, but some firms now require a minimum age of 25 years. For consumers under 25, a credit card is usually required for payment and the rental rate may be slightly higher.

Similarly, senior citizens over a certain age may not be allowed to rent cars in some cities. Verify the age restrictions when making your reservation.

Number of Drivers
Although policies vary, many car rental firms allow an immediate relative who is of age to drive the rental car. Some firms also permit a direct business associate to drive. Read the rental contract carefully; it will specify who can drive the car. Signatures of all drivers and their drivers licenses may be required by the rental firm. There may be a charge for any additional drivers added to the rental agreement.

Car Rental Confirmations

Travelers should always receive a voucher or confirmation from their travel agent before departing. This document should have a confirmation number, the car rental company name, type of car requested, flight information and date. If the car rental firm is located outside the airport, a telephone number for the courtesy car pick-up should be provided.

Confirmations also often help the car rental firms locate customers who have not picked up their reserved car. As a result of industry automation, the car rental firm can sometimes inquire to see if a renter’s flight is delayed. Usually, a car rental firm will hold a reserved car for several hours before cancelling.

If you are considering two different flights, be sure to advise the car rental firm. Also, the company should be notified of any cancellations so that they can rent that car to another customer.

Picking up Your Rental Car

Upon arriving at the car rental counter, present your confirmation number, voucher and credit card, if necessary. The customer service agent will then complete the process and direct you to where you can pick up your car. READ YOUR CAR RENTAL AGREEMENT before you sign it to familiarize yourself with your liability and to ensure that you know exactly what you will be paying for when you return the car.

Before leaving the rental lot, inspect the car for the correct mileage information and any visible damage to the car. If damaged, a notation should be made on the contract before leaving.

Take a few minutes to become familiar with the car. Adjust your seat and mirrors. Locate the controls for the turn signals, windshield wipers, lights (high and low beams) and cruise control (if applicable). Notice the placement of the horn and control panel for defroster, air conditioning, etc.

Returning the Rental Car

Rates are usually based on a 24-hour period, with a one-hour grace period allowed to return the car. If you keep the car for more than four hours after it was due back at the rental company, it is usually worth extending the contract for another day since overtime charges average $12 to $15 per hour. Hourly car rental rates are usually higher.

Some rates, like weekend specials, are only available during certain time periods. Keeping the car beyond that time may change the rate you pay for the entire transaction.

International Car Rentals

If you are renting a car abroad, reserve it through a Traveloni agent. At your destination, ask the rental agent to explain the car’s features, which may be different from cars at home. Know the international traffic signs and rules of the road. Ask your Traveloni agent whether you need an International Driver’s Permit. Also, ask about insurance coverage in each country; U.S. insurance may not be valid in all countries.

Other Useful Car Rental Information

  • The renter of any car is liable for all parking and traffic violations both domestically and internationally.
  • Most contracts and insurance policies are void if you have an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Be sure to lock the car and trunk and do not leave valuables in the car.
  • Seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law in most states.
  • Most states require car seats for children under four years old. Advance notice is usually required to reserve a car seat and a small fee may be charged for the rental of these seats.
  • Many car rental firms have cars or vans that are accessible for customers with physical disabilities. Be sure to make arrangements in advance to ensure that an accessible vehicle is available.
  • Most major car rental companies offer free local maps. Plan your route before leaving the car rental lot to minimize the need to ask for directions.
  • Read your rental agreement carefully and ask questions of a Traveloni agent and the car rental agent if you are unsure about anything. The policies discussed in this brochure may vary among companies and locations.

Note: Some or all of this information has been compiled by TravelSense.org. TravelSense© is a consumer website run by the American Society of Travel Agents (“ASTA”). Traveloni, via our parent company, Foremost Travel & Tours, is a proud member of ASTA.

Are you saddened when your commute home ends? Do you go weeks without shifting into fifth gear? Is there an inch of dust on your RV? Regardless of the ailment, the only medicine you need is the open road. With hundreds of scenic highways throughout the United States, a much-needed road trip is just around the next curve.

To unlock the secrets of road tripping without running out of gas, take the next exit and read through these tips from Traveloni. Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, Traveloni agents know what it takes for you to experience the soothing gray asphalt, the quirky small towns, the crazy roadside curiosities and, most importantly, the heart of America.

Road Tripping without Tripping Out – The Basic Philosophy of the Road

Road tripping is a state of mind. To truly enjoy it, you must embrace the philosophy of the road, much like European backpackers must bring a mindset of art and culture and beachcombers must be prepared for umbrellas in their drinks and sand in their shorts.

First, there are no boring places on the open road – just places that require a little bit of searching to uncover the remarkable. Be open to the possibilities and reach out for new experiences, like trying the “Roadkill Burger” at the diner or taking an unmarked hiking trail only to stumble onto a Civil War battle site.

Like a hiking trail, every road trip has a beginning and an end, but only the journey counts. The middle, the asphalt glide, the motorized mantra, getting from Point A to Point B, is the purpose of the road trip, realizing that you’re supposed to be wherever you are. Enjoy being there.

Also enjoy the fact that your vehicle is in your control, so take it wherever your heart desires. While your road trip will most likely involve an itinerary with reservations, do not tie your bumper to a schedule. A good Traveloni agent will help you set up a loose itinerary with guaranteed reservations, so rushing is never an option when faced with the choice of hurrying to your hotel or diverting 50 miles east to see Albert, the World’s Largest Bull, in Audubon, Iowa.

The Master Plan – Plotting Your Course

Your journey begins the first day you start planning your road trip, with anticipation as your gas pedal, floored and revving. So break out the map, grab a box of pushpins to highlight the highlights and let a little planning take you a long way.

Before the first pushpin digs into the wall, talk to a Traveloni agent to identify the purpose of your trip. If your goal is four days of backcountry wandering, then all you need is a full tank of gas and sharp eyes. If you plan include a final destination, like your cousin Irene’s wedding in Albuquerque in one week, then advance planning is crucial.

Once your purpose is set, consider your level of comfort. Are you the type who needs to know a reserved hotel room waits in the next city or will any roadside inn suit your needs? Do you like your roads highlighted in yellow on your map, or do you keep your map in the glove box for emergencies only, allowing the winds of spontaneity to determine your course? Whatever your comfort level, be sure to ask your traveling companions for their opinions.

Once the bases are covered, talk to your Traveloni agent and begin researching all the possible routes. Traveloni agents know if certain mountain passes are blocked during the winter, or if a festival or event in a city you plan to drive through will cause major delays. Also, spend time on the Internet getting to know the smaller towns on your route. Treasures are often found in the most unlikely of places.

Before the Odometer Reaches 1

With your plan set and the trip already rambling in your mind, now is the time to make sure reality is on the same page.

The first and most vital step is to get your vehicle in top form. Whether you’re traveling by car, RV, truck, motorcycle or lawnmower, your road trip will be smoother if your vehicle is ship-shape, or road-shape in this instance. Before you leave, have a qualified mechanic check all the car’s vitals: brakes, battery, fluid levels, tire pressure, light bulbs and any parts that need regular maintenance.

As with all long-distance road trips, it’s wise to bring emergency equipment such as a first-aid kit, flashlight, blankets, drinking water and snacks, along with flares and jumper cables. Check the weather for your route and be prepared for snow and ice with an ice scraper and chains for the tires.

With the mechanics secure, be sure to create the right ambience inside your vehicle. Take along a wide selection of your favorite cds and a few audio books. If you and your traveling companions don’t agree on music, then the driver chooses and the passengers get two vetoes per three hours or 90 miles. That’s the rule.

Safety – Don’t Wreck Your Trip

Nearly 50,000 people die each year in collisions on the roadways of the United States, with another 22 million injured. Safety is simply the number one concern for you, your traveling companions and everyone on or near a road, so always have the following safety tips on the tip of your mind while driving.

Pay attention. Practically all collisions involve inattention on the part of one or both drivers. Distraction comes in many guises: daydreaming, fidgeting with the radio, sleepiness, fatigue and cell phones. Paying attention makes it possible for you to see, recognize and avoid the hazards lurking on the road; these are the three basic elements of defensive driving.

You are not psychic. You can never rely on what the other driver will do. While driving, always keep a wary eye on other drivers and leave yourself plenty of room. Anticipate the mistakes they might make and be ready. Stay alert and in control.

Yield anyway. If you are in doubt about who has the right of way, give it away. Right of way rules are often misunderstood, and there are situations where the rules may not be clear to everyone. If there is uncertainty about which vehicle should have the right of way, give the other driver the road. When it comes to driving safely, it’s not the principle, but the outcome, that counts.

Don’t speed. Speed limits are posted for a reason. Driving at a higher rate cuts your reaction time and results in more stored energy that must be dissipated in any collision. A safe driver should choose a speed matching traffic as closely as possible without exceeding speed limits. If traffic is moving at higher speed than you should go, keep to the right and out of the way.

Don’t drive impaired. Drivers can become impaired through not only drugs and alcohol, but also fatigue or as a result of injury or illness. Alcohol is a depressant that will diminish your ability with the first sip, acting on the very skills you need most as a driver – judgment, vision and the ability to perceive several things at once. We all have the obligation to make sure we are able to drive safely every time we drive.

Wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the most significant safety device ever invented. They provide impact protection, absorb crash forces and keep you from being thrown out of the vehicle. Modern vehicles are built with “crumple zones,” and seat belts are an integral part of the system. Belts help keep you in your place, in control and better able to avoid a crash.

Don’t run red lights. Whether you coast through a red light daydreaming or step on the accelerator whe