Rat Kitty

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.