Do you know who I am?
(PRWEB) July 27, 2009
Members of Priority Pass, the world's largest independent airport lounge program, recently gave their top travel tips in response to a survey.
The wide-ranging advice is a useful check-list for anyone preparing for a trip, and covers tips to save money, avoid stress, protect yourself and your belongings, and much more.
Priority Pass members are some of the most experienced travelers around - here's what they recommend:
1. Protect laptops and essential business documents
A stolen or damaged laptop can ruin more than just a business trip. If vital documents are on it, it can be a commercial disaster. So always make sure that vital documents are backed-up and ensure that any sensitive information on your laptop is securely encrypted.
If you are making presentations on a trip, then it's wise to take them on a USB stick - too many embarrassing situations have been caused by a problem in connectivity or batteries failing. A USB stick in the pocket is always reassuring! Finally, don't ever check your laptop into the hold of an aircraft, unless you are not really bothered about seeing it again.
2. Get adequate insurance
If you travel frequently, it can be easy to get blasé about insurance, but having adequate cover for all eventualities can be the wisest investment you will ever make. For frequent flyers, an annual policy makes sense, but don't choose the cheapest without comparing deals.
Sometimes the cheapest deals will cut corners on the levels of cover, or impose high excess levels and other restrictions. For example, take a moment to think how much your luggage is worth, and how much it would cost you to replace all the items in your suitcase.
3. Think about medication, glasses and more
Unless you've been stuck in a foreign land without the right medication, it may not occur to you how important it is. If you have prescription drugs, make sure you take enough with you, and it's always wise to have a mini-medicine cabinet of essentials at hand.
Less obvious are glasses and contact lenses. If you're one of those people who would really struggle without your glasses, then take a spare pair with you - and maybe the prescription too. Losing or breaking glasses may not happen often, but if it does it can be highly inconvenient.
And, on the subject of health, if you're travelling to more exotic destinations, don't forget to check what immunisations you need - and whether you need certification of that with you in order to enter the country.
4. Control the cost of keeping in touch
If you don't plan ahead, it can cost a fortune to stay in touch while travelling. Expensive roaming charges on your mobile phone, wi-fi charges to check your emails using your laptop, even just receiving calls and texts on your mobile - they can all add up to a lot more than you expect.
Make sure you have selected the best mobile tariff for international calls, and plan ahead for wi-fi access if you plan to use the internet a lot. You can save a lot of money by signing up to a global wi-fi access deal.
5. Overcoming jetlag
Priority Pass members find jetlag one of the most negative aspects of long-distance travel - and also one of the most difficult to overcome. We had some individual tips and advice but, just as jetlag affects everyone differently, it seems that everyone has a different theory on how to get over it. The most common advice is that you should set your watch to the time in your destination as soon as you start your trip, and start acting that way straightaway.
6. Avoiding airport stress
More than ever these days, airports are an ordeal rather than a pleasure and Priority Pass members had a number of suggestions to minimise the stress levels. Online check-in, when available, is one obvious solution, and ensuring that you know the airline's baggage limits is another. With many no-frills airlines getting tougher on the weight of bags, it can come as a nasty shock if you have to get your credit card out at the airport, and you may find yourself paying more for your baggage to travel than for yourself.
Gratifyingly, our members also gave a resounding thumbs up to Priority Pass membership, which allows access to more than 600 airport lounges around the world and is one of the best ways of all to stay calm while others at the airport are becoming stressed.
7. Avoid excessive charges on foreign exchange and credit cards
It's always a good idea to think about how you will pay for things on your trip. Does your bank charge a fee every time you use a card abroad? In which case you may be better off getting money from a cashpoint (or using a different card). Indeed, will your card work at all when you are abroad? It's very awkward when you go to pay a restaurant bill and your card is declined, but that can happen as a result of banks' anti-fraud processes if you are in a country that you don't normally visit. It wouldn't do any harm to advise your bank of a forthcoming trip, especially if it's to somewhere more off the beaten track.
Another banking query that arises more these days is that you will be offered the opportunity to settle your bill at a given exchange rate so you can see the amount in your home currency. The general advice is not to do so, as most reputable banks will beat the rate offered by shops or restaurants.
Finally, if you are changing money, watch out for "commission free" deals that can actually work out to be very expensive because of the terrible exchange rate.
8. Getting an upgrade
We were rather hoping that our members would come up with a killer tip which would help ensure you step up to Business or First Class. But it appears to be as elusive as ever. Upgrades happen, but it seems not to be something you can plan for. Our feedback is that dressing relatively smartly and being friendly and polite at check-in helps, and it doesn't do any harm to ask gently if there is any possibility of an upgrade. The more aggressive, "Do you know who I am?" approach does not appear to work, it is pleasing to report.
9. Don't be selfish - think of others!
This is not exactly a tip, but a plea. One of the biggest complaints travellers have is selfish behaviour of others; things like talking loudly on a mobile phone, or playing loud music through headphones. Of course no-one admits to doing this - it's always the others! And it can be incredibly irritating. So, just in case you are one of "the others" in this case, just review your own behaviour and maybe leave your phone switched off for a while.
10. And finally - enjoy yourself!
This may sound daft, but sometimes the stresses of a journey can almost hide the pleasures, especially if it's a business trip. But a lot of Priority Pass members did actually make a point of saying that those who are fortunate enough to travel on business should ensure they appreciate how lucky they are. Yes, airports can be a pain, delays can be very frustrating and jetlag can leave you feeling wretched. But seeing new places and cultures is a thrill that not all can enjoy, and is something to be savoured. Even on a business trip, do try to leave a little time to explore your surroundings.
Notes to Editors:
About Priority Pass
Priority Pass was launched in 1992 with the goal of providing frequent travelers with airport lounge access, regardless of their class of travel, airline flown or existing membership in an airline frequent flyer program.
In 17 years Priority Pass has become the world's largest independent airport lounge access program. Starting with just 55 lounges, today Priority Pass works with over 600 lounges in more than 300 cities throughout the world - and the network of lounges continues to grow.
Priority Pass has millions of members in all corners of the world and there are Priority Pass offices in Dallas, London and Hong Kong.
How Membership Works
Priority Pass offers three membership plans, each appropriate to a different type of traveller.
Prestige Membership offers outstanding value for money for frequent travellers who do not have lounge access through other options. For a single annual membership fee of US$399, members can make unlimited visits to all the lounges in the programme.
Standard Plus Membership is available at a lower annual fee of US$249, and includes 10 free member visits per year to any of the lounges. Further visits during the year are charged at US$27 per visit.
Standard Membership is just US$99 per year, and members then pay US$27 for each visit made.
All three membership plans allow members to take guests into the lounges with them, at a fee of US$27 per guest per visit.
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