Getting Through Security when You’re Traveling

Getting Through Security when You're Traveling

Security today is now tighter than ever because if the September 11th events. In airports today, no stone goes unturned. Unfortunately, this can make traveling far more annoying, and if you get checked out, you may be delayed for your flight or overly upset unless you take certain measures.

There are a number of ways to make sure that your trip runs as smoothly as possible, even if you get checked by security. These simple actions will make all the difference in the timeliness and efficiency with which you get through security.

Make sure when you arrive at the airport that your bag isn’t locked. If it is locked, the lock will be broken. Arrange everything as neat as possible so that the person inspecting your luggage doesn’t have to dig around. If they can glance in and rifle it a bit without missing anything, you’re good to go.

Put anything at all sharp in your check-in luggage, even if it’s a pair of tweezers or nail clippers. This is highly important, as anything security deems a threat will be confiscated. The same goes for things like bobby pins and hair sticks.

Wear easily transferable clothing. If you wear a jacket, make sure it’s easy to take off. Also, wear slip on shoes that can be easily taken on and off. Whatever you do, don’t wear a belt that has a metal buckle. Go no belt at all or cloth.

If you have any bodily element, like a metal plate or pin, get a signed copy of a doctor’s note and have it ready to show authorities if the alarm goes off.

Always carry your boarding pass and ID in your hand. Security always checks for this, so make it easy on you and on them.

If you’re wearing metal or even silver jewelry, best practice is to tuck it away in your jacket pocket, and the same goes for watches. Better yet, don’t wear any jewelry; carry your jewelry or watch in your jacket or purse.

Watch your luggage as security checks it. You have the right to do so, and it’s a good idea, especially if you have valuables. Another passenger or stranger could lift something, and security doesn’t always notice.

Pack your valuables in a portable bag and carry them on to the plane. Don’t check them in, as this can be heartbreaking if your bag is lost or stolen. Put them in the most secure spot and leave them there.

Flying with Pet Rodents: The Rules for Traveling With Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, or Rat

Flying with Pet Rodents

Most travel agencies address traveling with pets such as dogs and cats, but tell an agent you’re bring along a pet rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, etc. and you’re likely to get a confused pause and then be passed among numerous people, none of whom know the proper procedure for bringing your furry friend aboard an airplane. But, if you’re slightly knowledgeable about the rules for your carrier and have allotted extra time before your trip to make arrangements, traveling with a pet rodent can be easy and relatively stress-free for both of you.

You’ll want to take your pet as a carry-on in the cabin with you as most rodents are too fragile to travel as checked luggage. Of course it goes without saying that your pet should be in good health before you attempt to travel with it. So, the first thing you must do is determine what the restrictions are as far as traveling carriers go for your airline. Most airlines post the dimensions on their websites, typically under the “Special Needs” section. For example, Continental’s maximum dimensions for hard sided carriers are 22″ Length x 14″ Width x 9″ Height. These dimensions are very important to follow because if your carrier is too large to fit under the seat in you will have to check your pet. Personally, I prefer a soft-sided carrier for my guinea pig as I’ve found that fewer people in the airport (children mostly) approach it asking what I have inside and peering into it.

The fewer people poking at your pet’s carrier the better as travel is already fairly stressful for them and you want to create as calm an environment as possible. You should also be aware that you might only be able to bring one pet per person in the cabin and that advance arrangements or notifying the airline are usually a requirement. Most airlines will be able to accommodate two small rodents if you make advance arrangements and if both animals travel in the same carrier, but it’s best to call your particular carrier’s customer service to ensure this is an option. When you do call to make arrangements be prepared to explain exactly what type of animal you have and how large it is (both size and weight).

Once you’ve got your pet’s carrier and advance arrangements have been made you’re ready for the actual day of travel. You’ll want to feed your pet at least 4 hours before your flight. A full stomach can be uncomfortable for them with the pressure changes, so it’s best to feed them well ahead of time. Water, however, should be available before the flight. I typically bring along a small bottle and allow my pet to drink before boarding the plane and during any layovers we might have. Putting a soft towel, or t-shirt that smells like your pet or you inside the carrier will also help with stress as well as providing an absorbent layer for any “messes” that might happen along the way. Most rodents burrow when frightened, so a bit of extra fabric allows them to tunnel should they begin to feel unsafe. You will not be able to check-in from a self-service or curbside and will want to allow plenty of extra time for checking in at the counter. Most, if not all, airlines have a fee for bringing pets on board so be prepared to shell out extra cash at check-in in order to get your live animal sticker and the ok for your pet to board.

Security checkpoints are not a hassle if you know what to expect. Know that you will need to take off your shoes, jacket, and take your pet out of its carrier and hold it as you walk through the metal detector (the carrier goes through the x-ray machine, sans critter). I recommend wearing slip on shoes for ease and letting the guard know you have a pet before you start opening the carrier. Your pet might be frightened by all the new sounds and smells so you’ll want to be as calm as possible and speak in a soothing voice to help them know everything is ok. It also helps to hold your pet close to your chest and support both its front and hind quarters to repress their natural urge to flee. Once you make it through the metal detector place your animal back in the carrier and give your boarding pass and any papers you were given for your pet to the security representative. Then, you can head to the gate to await boarding. Please note that you will not be able to take out your pet on board the plane and possibly while in the airport.

Once you reach your destination, open the carrier and coax your furry friend out of it’s carrier with its favorite treat. Know that it might take awhile for your guinea pig, mouse, hamster, rabbit, rat, etc. to become accustomed to its new surroundings. If you’ve done everything you can to be well prepared for your trip however, it should be a fairly hassle-free experience for both you and your pet. Happy Vacationing!

How to Pack Light for a Trip to Europe

Pack Light for a Trip to Europe

When traveling in Europe, it’s important to pack for the occasion. If you are staying in multiple destinations, it is a good idea to pack lightly. Some airlines charge extra fees for luggage that exceeds their weight limit. If traveling by train, it is a difficult to swiftly board and exit with a lot of baggage. It is also a chore to find space for all your bags on a crowded train. You can maximize your space by following some simple tips in this article.

It should be fairly easy to find hostels or hotels with laundry facilities near by or in-house. This makes it easy to pack fewer clothing and maximize space by minimizing the dirty laundry you carry around. Coin operated laundry facilities are usually inexpensive compared to the burden it can cause to tote extra clothing around. For a three week trip, it is a good idea to take two pairs of jeans, one pair of shorts, two pairs of walking shoes (in case one gives you blisters or gets wet), socks and underwear for no more than five days, one jacket, one sweater and no more than four shirts. This offers a lot more luggage space and makes for cargo that is easier to carry in a smaller bag.

There are certain things that will be less hassle or even cheaper to buy while in Europe. Electrical outlet converters are easy to find in train stations, grocery stores and airports. They also often cost about half the price in Europe than in the U.S. On that note, instead of taking along a bulky laptop, it might be best to check out the list of best gaming laptops under $300 from DigiArch.

Packing food is generally not ideal. It’s hard to know how food items will fare in the flight. Flying to Europe, there is usually at least one lay over and with all the luggage handling, there’s no way to know how much of a mess it may have made in your bag. A few granola bars or a small package of crackers is not going to make much of a mess and may come in handy when you land and at the airport and they’re selling a bag of chips for $6.00. But plan on buying most of your food at your destination instead of taking up valuable room in your bag.

It’s a great suggestion to buy travel containers for your toiletries or buy travel/trial size toothpastes, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shaving cream, etc. to conserve room.

Remember that a lot of hotels or hostels will have a blow dryer to use so you won’t need bring one.

It’s a long trip from home to hotel and you may have to walk with your luggage from the train station or bus. Keep your cargo as minimal as possible to make your time on foot less awkward and your trip less stressful.

Advice for Couples Planning a Trip

Couples Planning a Trip

When a couple decides to travel, it is a time for unwinding and bonding. Taking the time to separate from the every day routines and problems is good for most relationships. It is important that couples lay out some ground rules before dashing off on a trip togther. Even couples who have a long marriage bond need to have some guidelines to improve the quality of the trip.

If the couple traveling together are just two friends heading off together, the rules are still much the same. The primary difference is that the question of who pays for what needs to be addressed from a more detailed perspective. Unless one partner makes it clear that the cost does not need to be divided, plan on a 50/50 split.

For the married or committed couple, the traveling rules change only slightly from that of friends. Splitting the cost of the trip is not an issue because it is paid from shared funds. Instead of worrying about who will pay when or should a meal ticket be split, more effort should go into itinerary, the overall cost of the trip, and mode of transportation.

Choose the destination and purpose of the trip together.

Couples almost always travel to spend time together and enjoy some new experiences. This may mean an entirely new place to visit or an opportunity to spend more time enjoying or exploring a familiar place. It could be a romantic get away to a favorite or meaningful spot. The key is to make sure that both halves of the couple understand the why behind the where.

It is never good if she went for romance and shopping, and he went for golf and sleeping. Both of these goals can be attained, but probably not together. This needs to be worked out before the trip even gets to the financial stage. Often, the destination is dependent upon the purpose. It would be rare to go to the beach and not intend to partake of the sun and surf. A snow skiing resort would bring another obvious reason for choosing a given destination.

Work Out a Budget Both Partners Like.

Trips that run short on cash are not very much fun near the end. For that matter, it can make for an uncomfortable trip if you are worrying about money the entire time. Plan your trip within your means. A trip to Europe is not a good choice if you only have $500 to spend. Small budgets usually imply a trip of less distance and less duration. You can still accomplish many of the goals for traveling. You just have to plan a trip that fits the budget.

You also want to avoid having a great time on a trip and come home and file for bankruptcy. Well, that is, unless that was your plan. It still would not be a very good one. Keep traveling within your personal budget, as well as, establishing a traveling budget.

Pick the Mode of Travel.

You can go by car, train, jet, or ship. The trip can even combine several of these. If you are traveling a thousand miles to take a cruise, you will want to decide well ahead of time if you will drive or fly. You might even choose a bus, but not many couples will. A trip to Cancun will almost always require flying. Make sure that you and your partner are both comfortable with the mode of transportation.

Agree on Food and Lodging Needs.

As a couple, you need to layout plans that include what type of lodging is acceptable to both parties. Younger people tend to want cheap while older couples look for a little more luxury. The same is true for eating. Some couples will choose a cooler and sandwiches. Others will want a full service meal several times per day. This is simply something to consider within the realm of your likes and your budget.

Travel from Lahore to Karachi

Travel from Lahore to Karachi

After gazing on Mughal monuments and feeling the beat of pounding drums at Sufi shrines in Lahore, many travelers choose to head south to Pakistan’s financial capital, Karahi for some fun in the sun, upscale nightclubs, and modern skyscrapers. From rambling through the ramparts of Old Lahore to an all night beach rave in Karachi, you might be in for a culture shock, but here’s how to get there.


The cheapest option is the train. The Fareed Express #38DN leaves Lahore every morning at 10:00am and arrives in Karachi at 12:35pm the next day. That means your train journey will be at least 26 1/2 hours if the train is running on time. Trains in Pakistan are not known to be exceptionally punctual or safe. There are 5 possible classes for this train, including the full berth AC class for 1810 rupees ($23), the full berth EC (Economy) for 790 rupees ($10), a full seat in economy for 710 rupees ($8.90), a half-berth for 480 rupees ($6) and a half seat for 400 rupees ($5). Sitting on half of a seat for 26 hours is certainly not the most comfortable way to travel to Karachi, but it is the cheapest.

To see fares, timetables, and addresses of booking agents, you can check out Pakistan Railways online. Tickets are usually booked through a travel agent in order to avoid the inevitable chaos on the station.


A safer, more comfortable, and faster option is to the take the bus. There are many different bus companies that ply the route from Lahore to Karachi, but Daewoo is by far the most comfortable and professional. For women traveling alone, Daewoo is the best choice. The Daewoo station is located near Calma Chowk, while other bus companies operate out of the main bus station in Old Lahore. A one-way ticket on the Daewoo bus costs 1900 rupees ($24), and buses leave from the station five times a day. You can book tickets at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 5:00pm, 11:00pm and 1:00am. The journey takes 21 hours, a good five hours less than the train.

To book tickets, you can call the Daewoo office at 111-007-008. From Lahore, dial 042 first. You can book 48 hours ahead and you must arrive 30 minutes before departure to hold your seat.


The most expensive, most comfortable, and fastest option is by air. Two airlines fly regularly between Lahore and Karachi: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Air Blue. One-way tickets on PIA are 6000 rupees ($76) and up, depending on how far ahead you book them. You can book at any PIA office or at most travel agents. Air Blue offers special online fares and e-ticketing that is easy for travelers. One-way tickets from Lahore to Karachi are currently 5250 rupees ($66) with the special online discount. When you print your e-ticket, you will still need to get a paper standard ticket at the Air Blue office in the departure area before checking in. Air Blue flights are twice a day and take about two hours.

As you can see, it’s really up to you how you travel from Lahore to Karachi. From flying in style with a business class seat to being crammed into a train car like a sardine for $5, everything is available!

Travel: Review of the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel


There are some trips that simply require the use of a duffel bag and the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel is ideal for the ski trip, adventure trip, or other weekend getaway. Stocked with various necessary compartments for storage the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel is one of the top choices for a casual easy to use duffel bag.

Those travelers who prefer the use of a duffel bag will find the features of the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel to fit the bill for organization, convenience, space and size for a weekend getaway or adventure type getaway. There are a variety of easily accessible compartments all designed to insure the traveler has a space for everything.

The eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel features an exterior zip front pocket which is ideal for travel documents and small items that need to be accessed quickly. There is also a large upper compartment that measures approximately 21″ x 14″ x 3.5″, which is made with an easy to access u-zip opening, a small secure zippered top pocket for last minute items or items that needed to be stashed quickly, a meshed pocket under the lid, secure tie down strap for securing contents and removable fiberglass rods for those who prefer a free form design (

In addition to the above mentioned features the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel has a completely organized lower compartment that contains two zippered mesh pockets, a sturdy EVA bottom, and a moveable shelf for options with organization based on preference. One of the top features of the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel is that it allows the traveler to pack the way he or she prefers by using the bag as a single large compartment or by organizing double compartments. For those who tend to over pack, the unique wheeled duffel bag also has an expansion gusset and there is a zippered pocket to store away the Add-A-Bag feature (

In terms of comfortable handling the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel is ideal. In addition to having the option of wheeling the bag, there is also an easy to reach handle, and the front feet double as a second handle, in addition to the top lift handle which adjusts to three heights providing many options. Everyone has his or her own preference, but for those travelers who enjoy traveling with duffel bags the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel is a great bag and provides all of the necessary features and space needed for a quick getaway. The eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21″ Wheeled Duffel was found for approximately $170.99 ( For more information visit the official web site for the retailer mentioned.

Top Ten Money Saving Ideas for a European Vacation – Part 1

Money Saving Ideas

With fuel prices dropping, air travel is becoming affordable again. That’s the good news. The bad news is that traveling in Europe is still expensive. But there are some things you can do, both before departure and during your vacation, to save some money on your European trip. Europe is a fascinating place, rich in culture and history, and you owe it to yourself to go there sometime. With that in mind, and realizing that most of aren’t exactly rolling in dough, here area some ideas for keeping your European vacation budget within reasonable boundaries.

  1. Pre-book Excursions

With the Internet, it has never been easier to make advance arrangements for tours of museums, palaces, historic sites, and other places of special interest. By booking ahead of time, you’re factoring in the cost on the front end and guaranteeing that you see the attractions of most interest to you. You can also sometimes avoid waiting in interminably long lines.

  1. Shop for Airline Deals

This may seem obvious, but shopping for the best prices on airline tickets involves more than searching Expedia and Travelocity. Now, there are “best of the best” sites like and that actually search other travel search engines and give you pricing options you might not be able to find on your own. Also, don’t forget the cost savings available if you can be flexible on your travel dates or fly during off-peak hours.

  1. Use Public Transportation

In Europe, you can get almost anywhere by some combination of trains, subways, or buses. Particularly in most large cities, you can also buy discounted public transportation passes for a day or even a week. Travel like the locals: use a train or a bus. Sure, a taxi can drop you off at the front door of your destination, but it can also be a budget buster.

  1. Carry Your Own Food and Water

Food is a major cost in Europe, especially in the larger cities. When possible and practical, buy food in a grocery or supermarket (yes, they have them, even in Europe). Buy breakfast items ahead of time and eat in your room instead of in the hotel cafe or a bistro. Make your own lunch, and carry it, with a large bottle of water in a day pack (buying drinks of all types, including water, can seriously add up). Save eating in a restaurant for a special treat. In places like Rome and Paris, refill your water bottle instead of buying a new one. If you’re traveling to out of the way places, you should probably do a little advance Internet research to make sure the local water supply is dependable and sanitary.

In Part 2 of this article, I’ll give you six more ways to cut corners on your European vacation and still build a lifetime of memories.

Travel for Wine Lovers

Travel for Wine Lovers

Wine connoisseurs, are you planning a vacation to wine country? You may interested in knowing that you don’t have to leave the country to experience great wine country travel. All 50 states in the U.S. have at least one winery. Because of climate and geography, many wineries are clustered together in the state. You can get the most out of your winery travel by planning ahead.

California has over 870 wineries. Napa and Sonoma Valley are the top wine producing regions in the world. With over four million tourists every year, it is estimated that 80% of the travelers visit the same 20 or so wineries. Popular wines from these regions include Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are several ways to tour these wineries. Most popular are by train, bus and limo. For an ever bigger thrill tours are offered by balloon, boat, bike, horseback and hiking.

If you want an east coast vacation, There are over 200 wineries in New York. New York’s cool climate produces fresh flavors, enhancing the flavor of your favorite wine. Popular New York winery regions include the Hudson River Valley, Long Island, Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes. The first commercial winery in the Hudson Valley was established in 1837, it is still in operation today renamed as the Brotherhood Winery located in Washingtontonville.

Virginia houses over 100 wineries. The most common locations in Virginia are the Chesapeake bay, Hampton Roads, Appalachia, Blue Ridge, and the central and eastern regions. Virginia has been making wine since the 17th century. It is written that Virginia has some of the most distinctive and high quality wines in the U.S.

Wherever you chose to travel, be assured that you can find a winery. Coast to coast, or off the beaten path, your next great bottle of wine is just around the corner