Wednesday, March 28, 2012

10 Tips for Flying with a Dog or Cat

Planning on taking your pet along with you when flying? Most airlines permit dogs or cats but there are restrictions that can apply. Here are some tips for flying with a pet.

1. Your Vet must see your pet before flying and complete an "Airline Veterinary Health Certificate" within 7 - 10 days before flying. If your pet is flying as cargo, a form for cold weather carriage may be required. Check with your airline.

2. You must call your airline to make a reservation for your pet. There may be restrictions for the type of dog, including a dog breed that may be deemed as aggressive or brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats. There may also be restrictions on where you are traveling to as well. It is imperative that you contact your airline early. There may also be minimum age restrictions for a traveling pet.

3. The number of live animals per aircraft is limited. It is important to reserve as early as possible. There will be fees to take your pet, whether they are traveling in the cabin or as checked as personal luggage. No airline will guarantee acceptance of an animal it has not seen.

4. Based on the number of pets on board and if your pet's carrier can fit under the seat in front of you, you may be able to take your pet along as personal carry on and they will require a reservation.

5. When arriving at the airport, you must go to the check in desk - you cannot do curbside or self service check in. Give yourself plenty of extra time to check in, as the process can be more time consuming.

6. It is best to try to book non-stop flights or fly early in the day when traveling with an animal.

7. If your pet is allow to be taken on as carry on, you are not permitted to take the animal out of it's carrier on the plane.

8. Your carrier must meet all federal and airline criteria, including size, labeling and ensuring that separate food and water dishes are securely attached and can be reached without opening the kennel. Pets may also need to be able to sit, stand and walk around comfortably in the kennel without touching the sides. Your airline can give you the exact guidelines.

9. Pet sedation is not permitted on many airlines .Whether flying as a cabin or checked pet, animals are exposed to increased altitude pressures, which can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems for dogs and cats which are sedated or tranquilized.

10. Service animals for disabled passengers in a cabin are permitted. However, there may be restrictions to certain countries. Check with your airline.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

20 Brilliant Vacation Packing Tips

Do you begin vacation packing months in advance? Or are you like me and do it the night before? However you pack here are some hints for packing for your vacation.

1. Less is more. Use outfits that can be mixed and matched and don't require ironing. Many online companies sell travel clothing that pack well, pack light can be co-ordinated. If you are traveling to Europe - you may not have elevators in your hotel. Do you want to tote three heavy suitcases up four flights of stairs? Check out travel retailers like Magellans - they sell everything you need to travel lightly.

2. If you are staying at a warm weather resort, you will be in bathing suits much of the day and can bring less clothing. Our first resort vacation, I didn't bring enough bathing suits and brought too many shorts and shirts. Flip it around and you can pack smaller and lighter.

3. Leave the expensive jewelry at home. Ask anyone who has had jewelry stolen from a room or swiped on the street. Who do you need to impress with lots of gold, silver and diamonds? Most people don't look and don't care. If they notice, it is usually to say to themselves you are crazy wearing so much jewelry. Keep it safe and bring the minimal amount with you. Better yet bring costume jewelry if you can't go without bling. You might find yourself laughing at a thief who grabs a necklace and runs off, thinking they are going to pawn it for a lot of money.

4. Pack your valuables - prescriptions, cameras, passports, video cameras, passport, electronic games, laptops, IPad - in your carry on. NEVER put these items in checked luggage.

5. If you wear glasses - bring an extra pair. Having slipped in a hot spring in Costa Rica and watching the glasses I had on top of my head wash over a waterfall and down a river - I was very happy I had another pair in my room. I imagine someday walking past someone smiling in Costa Rica wearing designer bi-focals. If I hadn't had a spare pair I would have permanent squint lines trying to see anything for the remainder of my vacation.

6. Leave a copy of your passport with someone back home who can fax it if an emergency requires a copy. Bring a copy of your passport with you and pack it away from your actual passport. Scan a copy of your passport and make sure you have access to it on your Smart Phone. You should take your passport with you anywhere you travel in case you need it in an emergency. However, in cities where you might be pick-pocketed, it might be better to leave the actual passport locked in a room safe and taking your copy with you in the event you need i.d. Never carry your passport in your pocket - buy a neck wallet or front pocket wallet and keep it close to you. In the Caribbean or warm weather countries, you can purchase a water wallet and put your passport and valuables in it and actually swim with it. This Splash Caddy is one of my favorite purchases.

7. Use TSA approved travel locks. These can be opened by a TSA operator with a Master Key if there is anything suspicious in your luggage that they need to inspect. If you think that there is no theft going on at the airports behind the scenes - think again.

8. Don't over do the shoes. We've seen women bring suitcases full of shoes on a cruise. Why do you need to impress a ship full of strangers you'll likely never see again by having a pair of shoes for every outfit? Consider what you will be doing and bring the appropriate shoes. If you will be sightseeing - a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair of dressy shoes for dinner out are more than enough. A pair of flip flops for the beach and to wear in your hotel room (you never want to walk barefoot on floors or carpeting in a hotel or on a cruise ship).

9. Hotels and cruise ships never seem to have bathtub mats or decals to keep you from slipping in the shower anymore. Click here to see the solution we travel with.

10. Bring a folding tote bag you can pack in your suitcase. If the multitude of souvenirs you buy won't fit into your luggage, an extra bag to put them in and carry on the plane goes a long way.

11. Planning to buy wine or liquor and fly home with it? You will have to pack it in your suitcase. Wine Diapers are the latest invention to get that wine home without having it break and ruin all your clothes. Check them out here.

12. If you are a frequent traveler, the one investment that will pay off many times is a luggage scale. Keep under the 50 lb. luggage limit for most airlines and save yourself a ton of money.

13. Split up your valuables. Don't keep all your cash or credit cards in one wallet. Put a little in each pocket or handbag. If you are pick-pocketed, you won't be stranded with no money or credit cards.

14. If you are traveling with someone, put some of your clothing in each others suitcase. If one of your suitcases is lost by the airline or cruise line, neither of you will be totally without clothing.

15. Scan your credit card numbers and the associated bank phone numbers and store them in your Smart Phone, or copy them and keep them locked in a safe place. You will have the phone numbers to call immediately if you lose a credit card while traveling.

16. Don't pack liquids and gels in your carry on. Pack them in your luggage. If you must carry any liquids or gels, ensure you follow the 3-1-1 rule - bottles three ounces or less packed in a one quart baggy per person.

17. Travel cubes are great packing gear. You can pack shirts in one, pants in another, underwear and pajamas in another. Keeps your luggage organized and cuts down on wrinkling. We purchase them from Ebags - you can see them here. Rolling your clothing when packing also cuts down on wrinkles.

18. Register using the STEP Smart Traveler program when you will be traveling out of the United States. Registering your trip will allow the Department of State to better assist you in the event of an emergency in a country you are visiting. Read more about the program here.

19. Call your credit card company and let them know you are going on vacation (or do it online - some credit card companies have an online application you can do this through). You don't want your purchase to be denied as a possible fraudulent charge when you are purchasing something on your vacation. If your bank has a list of the countries you will be visiting, there is less of a chance of a charge being declined.

20. Do you like to snorkel? If you own your own snorkel gear, the only thing you really need to bring with you are your form fitting mask and snorkel.(We don't relish the thought of using a snorkel that has been in the mouth of someone else). Leave the flippers home, as they add quite a bit of weight to your luggage. All snorkeling excursions include the gear - use their fins.

Do you have other packing tips? Send them to use for a future story! E-mail us at

Call us to find your dream vacation to use these packing tips - 516-608-0568.