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Fodor’s Tips for Stress-Free Summer Travel

Fodor’s, in their infinite wisdom, has written 10 Tips for Stress Free Summer Travel. They intend the tips for the masses who will be going on vacation in the next two months, but some of the tips are good for business travelers as well. Particularly those of you who piggy-back your vacation on your business trips. Here they are:

Start your flight at home. Check in online and get your boarding pass before you leave your living room. In addition to saving you time at check-in, many airlines, such as Continental, release premium seats (such as exit and bulkhead rows) 24 hours before a flight — check in early and you’ll have a good chance of snagging the golden extra legroom seat. (Just don’t forget to take your boarding pass to the airport with you)

Use the check-in kiosk. When you arrive at the airport, skip the long lines waiting for regular check-in. Don’t be afraid of this self-service option, where it’s available — all you need to do is swipe a credit card (or your frequent-flyer card) to access your account, and you’ll be on your way.

Put your suitcase on a diet. Know your air carrier’s baggage weight allowances. With fuel costs skyrocketing, airlines are really cracking down on suitcase weight restrictions. Often you’ll be better off packing two lightweight bags than stuffing one big suitcase past the maximum weight. (And you really don’t need all that stuff anyway)

Be prepared for runway delays. Busy routes and congested airports often equal long waits on the tarmac before your flight can take off. Since you won’t be able to use electronics until you’re airbound, be sure to bring some old-fashioned entertainment, such as books, magazines, crossword puzzles — anything that doesn’t require a battery. And be sure to bring a snack, as you might end up missing more than one meal in transit. Bagels, apples and oranges are usually sold at the airport, or bring some carrot sticks from home. (Amen, brotha)

Keep your phone close at hand. Even if you’re headed on a vacation where you won’t be using your cell phone, it’s imperative that you fully charge it before you leave and then keep it with you on the plane. We hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if your jet gets stranded on the runway for hours, you’ll want access to your phone (and if it’s in the overhead compartment, and the seatbelt sign is still on, don’t count on flight attendants letting you get up from your seat to get it). (Take your charger everywhere you go. You just don’t ever want to end up SOL without your phone)

Dress for success. Leave your studded jeans, oversize jewelry, loose change, and hard-to-put-on-and-take-off shoes at home or in your suitcase. Already long lines for security are getting longer because people remain blissfully unaware of everything that must be removed before you pass through security. Try to avoid wearing anything that delays your progress. (Studded jeans – Hehe!)

Carry-on comfort. Pack earplugs (or headphones) to cut out the chatter next to you or the banter behind you. Eye masks are essential to catch some ZZZs (and are a great deterrent to pesky seatmates). Neck pillows and light blankets can make you feel like you’re snug in bed (or at least not jammed in steerage with your neighbors). (Y