May 23 2013 by Sam Lowe
If traveling to an area frequented by those city-sized cruise ships, try to find out beforehand when and where they'll be docking, and then avoid those areas. The ships carry up to 4,000 passengers and when they drop anchor, most of those passengers are disgorged onto dry land where they storm into shops and eateries, causing human traffic jams and long lines at the checkout counters in the souvenir shops. They're all nice folks, of course, but they tend to be in a hurry because their off-boat time is usually limited.
Before leaving home, weed out your billfold and hide your checkbook in a safe place. Pickpockets thrive at tourist destinations, so anything bearing your personal identification is a bonus for the sticky-fingered felons. So take only the essentials, like a drivers license and some replaceable credit cards. Men should carry their wallets in a buttoned breast or pants pocket or, better yet, one of those zippered cases that can be worn around the neck. Women should carry handbags with wide straps, use a safety pin to attach the zipper pulls to the bag, and never, never, never, hang the bag over the door in a public restroom or over the back of a chair in a restaurant.
Hotel-provided computers are a welcome incentive, but beware - don't use them to access your financial data because there might well be identity-stealing software looking at your personal matters.
For those planning a road trip by car, a couple of tips for saving gas money:
1. Drive the speed limit to conserve fuel. This can save up to 24 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
2. Properly inflate tires. Proper tire pressure can improve fuel economy by as much as three percent.
3. Travel light so your car doesn't get overpacked. Heavier vehicles use more fuel. Fuel usage also rises when there's luggage or other equipment stacked on top.
Do some pre-planning to avoid catastrophes. Before leaving home for an unfamiliar area, particularly in a foreign country, do some research to locate such essentials as the embassies, police stations, hospitals and other emergency sites.
When arriving at a not-at-home destination, most of us get off the airplane and head for the baggage claim carousels, then find right rental car agency. Save some time, especially in a crowded airport, by reserving a rental car before leaving home, then going to that agency before picking up your luggage. By the time you get back to the carousel, most of the crowd will have already claimed their bags so yours might be the only one left circling, circling and circling like a lost vulture looking for a place to rest.