Rat Kitty

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Travel : hints tips and thoughts

When a starched shirt is needed when travelling- drop it off at a good dry cleaners before your trip and have the cleaner fold the shirt instead of placing on a hangar..

Never get the additional Insurance offered by the rental car company- most credit cards already have this add-on insurance coverage

sidestep.com kayak.com farechase.com travelaxe.com and travelocity are the best for finding good deals...bestfares.com can also be pretty good .

When travelling overseas- and plan on converting US money- always makes sure the bills are crisp- a lot of money-change places won't take ratty US currency.

Never buy travelers checks- a total waste- Use the local ATGM machines instead- plus the exchange rate is the "Jumbo" rate - which means it's a better rate than out on the street.
(and never change money from a guy on the street- if you do- I promise -you will end up with a stack of newsprint sandwiched between a couple of real bills ) .

Invoke "rule 240" with the airline - if you are significantly delayed (except for weather reasons) - this means the carrier puts you on another carriers flight (won't usually work with carriers such as Southwest - that don't "inter-line") .... It's not a bad idea to print-out the carrier's "Rule 240" plan from their website and keep it near. Younger employee's may not be familiar with it- producing it can mean the difference between continuing the journey "off-line" (another carrier) or waiting for 10 hours in a stuffy hot crowded terminal at the mercy of the carrier.
go to http://www.mytravelrights.com for links to the carrier's "rule 240" pages.

Never accept "NO" as the final answer. I always apply the "2 out of 3" rule...which means you (suprisngly) will get a different answer from the next airline/hotel/travel person from whom you ask the same question or request.

It's more comfortable to get 2 "aisle " seats across from each other than a "window " and and "aisle" in the same row (because nowadays you can count on someone sitting in the "middle" seat)

Having learned this one the "hard way" on several aoccasions- it's worth the few extra bucks to rent from Avis or Hertz - their cars are always ready - and available- and painless to check-out once you arrive at the facility- too many times we saved a few bucks from a 3rd tier company and waited around an hour or two while the car was "getting prepared" .

In Las Vegas- the monrail is well worth it (buy the extended pass if feasible)

Commander's Palace restaurant (in Las Vegas - or N.O. ) is the best and one helluva bargain.

I like to bring a tiny spray bottle of "air freshener" for the hotel bathroom- enough said...
www.watkins.com the non-aersol vanilla room freshener is perfect size and smells nice.

I have a "travel list" that I print off every time before packing to make sure nothing is missed.
Some itmes may not apply -depending on where/when /how long the trip is.

Meds Cell Phone Cell Phone Charger Travel Kit
Headphones Keys to Suitcase Travel Hanging Wallet
Itinerary Driver’s License Passport Insurance Card
Auto Policy Debit Card Marriott Visa AMEX
Car Rental Card Raytheon ID Hotel Reward Card
Computer Power Supply Ethernet Phone Line
Power Cord Linksys Hub VPN Software
Shorts Utensils Moccasins Night Shirt
T-Shirts Flight Vest Camera Battery
Battery Charger USB cable for transferring photo
Memory cards
If taking Dogs: Stakes Dog beds
Two comforters Food bowls
Water bowls

Long distance calling card
Angel Fire key
Sirius radio Radio Antenna
Bracket Power adapter/cord
FM wire for car tuner Blue bag

Sunday, January 01, 2006

rental cars

Some random travel tips and observations in no particular order:

It's worth a few extra buck to pay to rent from Hertz or Avis- too many times we have rented form the 2nd (or 3rd) tier rental companies and the cars are too far offsite- the paperwork always seems to get messed up- something always seems to go wrong with the car, etc.

It's worth the extra bucks to stay within the Grand Canyon park (preferably the El Tovar) rather than staying outside the park. The 4 hour wait to get in the park in the morning due to the 30 mile traffic jam is not worth the extra bucks you "saved"

Eat dinner at the historic "El Tovar" dining room- built by the Santa Fe railroad and managed in the Harvey House tradition since 1902.

Expect 2 hour long waits (or longer) to get across the Hoover Dam due to security concerns. If trying to get tho the Grand Canyon - go anyway but avoid the Hoover Dam at all costs.

When buying a ticket on American Airlines - get a seat assignment immediately- do not wait....If you wait- you will get a middle seat -in an oversold flight on aging Boeing equipment.

The "Commander's Palace" in Las Vegas is well worth every penny - EAT HERE at least once while in Vegas.

The best Blood Mary's in the world are at "Commanders Palace" (they rim the glasses with seasoned salt, the tomato juice is extra spicy and they use a really big olive and pepper on a sugar cane stick)

When travelling internationally- always notify your card company in advance - otherwise you may have charges declined as a card security measure.

When taking cash internationally- make sure the bills are new and crisp- Exchange houses often won't change a raggedy- mutilated US $

Never- ever change money with someone on the street- you will end up with wads of useless Iraqi Dinars ( I have witnessed this scam first hand).

On luggage tags just put your last name and your frequent flyer number(s) - if luggage is lost they can trace it bqack by your ff number.

Expect your luggage to be" gone through" by bored/nosy ramp rats ( I worked the Delta ramp and I've seen what actually goes on in the belly of the jet) . Those guys (aside from writing nasty grafitti inside the cargo hold walls) will sit up in the cargo hold and go through your luggage.

If a flight is cancelled - use your cell phone to call a make a reservation with the airline ( or competing airline) rather than standing in a line waiting to be handled by the next res agent- By the time you get up to the front of the line- the next available flight may be sold out.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Interesting and Odd Web links

In no particular order are some interesting and sometimes odd weblinks that I spend way too much time reviewing.. Drumroll please!

And speaking of food...We watched an episode of "food finds"on the Food (http://www.foodtv.com) Network and were intrigued by this outfit: http://www.Chipofthemonth.com We have ordered these, and it is a lot of fun to sample different flavors from local chip vendors. Too bad there is not any more competition for this product: Chip-of-the-Month doesn't offer enough variety of shipping options.

When we travel on the Road-we always look for one of these.

http://www.webwasteland.com the name says it all. Want to read if your favorite celebrity has an arrest record? then http://www.thesmokinggun.com is for you. If you are familiar with that trustworthy (ha-ha) tabloid, The Weekly World News, then you are familiar with the legend of BatBoy-(Half Bat and Half Boy !!). Well somebody went and made a musical out of this gripping story...http://www.batboy-themusical.com and we have tickets for the local production at Theatre Three. Lots of fun in the vein of Little Shop of Horrors.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why Don't I See First Post?

Changed time to CT