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PRE-TRAVEL PREPARATION TIPS

1. A Lost Passport Doesn't Have to be a Disaster

Before you travel, take a photocopy of your passport and leave it with someone you trust. In the event of you losing your passport abroad, you can then get the person to scan and email you a copy. This will make it easier to get travel documents or a replacement passport at the local consulate.

2. 'Friendly Bacteria' for the Lactose Intolerant Vacationer

Eating yogurt before you travel is a great way to help cope with bacterial infestations. However, if you are lactose-intolerant, yogurt is not an option. Try 'probiotics' capsules instead. They are available in most stores that sell vitamins, as well as your health food store. Look for 'acidophilus' on the label. Good preparations will contain various *active* strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium longum. These probiotics help your system to fortify its own natural defence against the bacteria found in the water supplies, fresh fruits, uncooked vegetables, etc. of foreign countries.

3. A Few Essentials

Always carry wet naps in your bags, and tissue paper. A long cord is useful for a clothesline if you need to wash something and hang it overnight to dry.

4. Accommodations Gradings?

Check with the local tourist office for accommodations gradings. They are usually reliable, as local operators are quick to scream if there are discrepancies.

5. Aircraft Type?

Determine from the airline or your travel agent the aircraft type for each leg of your trip. That way you'll know what carryon items will fit in the cabin.

6. Another Use for UPS Envelopes

On most trips we collect business cards, receipts, and other small pieces of paper. I take a UPS International Manifest envelope which is really a ZIP LOCK bag with adhesive on the back and glue it inside a file folder (You could always use a one gallon Zip Lock bag and attached it to the folder). This way all of the papers remain secure, in one place, that I can easily find upon return. In addition, the folder holds larger items such as maps, menus, larger photos, etc. that we may collect. Once home, the receipts are removed, and all other materials remain in the folder, labeled and filed for future reference. This also helps me assist others going to the same area. I merely retrieve the folder with all of our maps, menus, hotels, etc.

7. Antibacterial Handwipes a Necessity

ALWAYS bring antibacterial handwipes. They are good for refreshing yourself on a dry airplane and you can wipe your tray table before eating off of it. I also like to put one over my hand when in airport bathrooms!

8. Are Your Personal Papers in Order?

Make sure your will and personal papers are all in order. If something were to happen to you while traveling, it's good for your family and heirs to know where your will is, where your insurance papers are kept, where the safe deposit box keys are, etc.

9. Be Organized with the Paperwork

Hole-punch all of your information for your trip (and make copies of anything you'll need), organize it by what you'll need chronologically, and place it in a slim, bright, lightweight soft-side plastic binder. It's very easy to find in your carry bag, and you can easily flip through to find your itinerary, the address of the hotel you're going to, the phone number of the person you're supposed to hook up with, etc.

10. Be Prepared for Conversations
Take a dictionary and notes phrase book. It can be useful.

11. Boost Holiday Pleasure with Good Planning

Travel broadens the mind as nothing else does. Boost the pleasure of a perfect holiday by planning well in advance. Here are tips based on the experiences of seasoned travelers! First, get all the information.
Guidebooks, travelogues, travel literature, maps, and brochures are stepping-stones to start you off. There are the standard travelers' bibles like the country- and city-specific guides from lonely Planet, Fodors, Rough Guide, EyeWitness, and Footprint publications. Browse the titles you are after in a bookshop or library before buying any. Do not buy old editions because the very latest edition will still be at least a year old. The Internet is the ultimate resource. Look for travel forums where you can interact with other travelers and post any questions you can think of. There are hundreds of traveler blogs to read, and your dilemma would be to choose the ones that would be relevant or of special interest.

12. Bring Dollar Bills
Bring lots of single dollar bills for tips during endless airport transfers, hotels, and courtesy busses.

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