Friday, November 13, 2009

News and Tips


1) State Dept Travel Alerts and Warnings

- Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Philippines, Congo, Mali, Kenya. more

- India: security concerns continue. more

- China may quarantine arriving passengers exhibiting flu-like symptoms. more

2) Speed Through Airport Security

- Dress like a mensch: if you look like a grubby backpacker and have a one-way ticket to Pakistan, expect hassles. Look clean cut, and pass on through.
- Liquids: Put liquids in small travel containers. Then put them in all in clear plastic bag. Kits with containers and a bag available at places like Walgreens.
- Travel weekdays before 9:00 a.m., instead of Sundays (non-stop amateur hour) more

3) Get Your Belongings Onboard: Gadgets, Clothing
- Weigh belongings with a handheld luggage scale: $32
- Wear a hoodie with pockets, built-in neck pillow, and light shield: $100 (a little much, aye?)
- Wear a vest with 22 pockets: also $100. 

4) Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling
- Don't blab on Facebook or Twitter that you're leaving for six months.
- Do blab to the local police.
- Get a light timer to turn lights on and off. (I bought a cheapie from Sears)
- Stop your mail or have someone pick it up.
- Unplug your TV, PC, and other appliances that draw power when "off." (protects against power spikes, saves on electric bills.) more

5) Travel Insurance: Latest Advice
- Shop around and don't buy from a travel agent.
- Find out whether your health insurance covers you overseas.
- Places to shop:  Travel insurance comparison sites
* US Travel Insurance Association
* Squaremouth
* Insuremytrip
- Some recommended brands: Access America, CSA Travel Protection, and Travel Guard. (I bought a Travel Guard policy for a long trip. Never used it, but it appeared to be comprehensive.) more

6) Decent Around-the-World Fare: $2000 to $2300 includes taxes, may be other fees.
NYC to Southeast Asia to Middle East to Europe to NYC (Three continents). It's through AirTreks, so be sure to ask which airlines they use and get all fees in writing. Expires 11/30/09.  I got quotes from them once, pretty quick, only hitch was they used some small carriers, one of which bailed before I could buy ticket. Worth getting a quote from them and seeing if your travel agent can beat it. more

7) Detritus, Flotsam, Jetsam

- Another good reason not to smuggle heroin in Southeast Asia: A 20-year old Brit almost faced firing squad for drug smuggling in Laos. Now, she's in a U.K. prison -- and just had a child. Congrats!

- Another good reason to bring your bags onboard: Luggage theft by baggage handlers. more

- Train from Bangkok's international airport  (Suvarnabhumi ) to downtown to open in early 2010. Bus and taxi service to the airport can be unpredictable due to traffic. more