Air Travel in the Age of Anxiety – Tips For Flying in Turbulent Times

It has been a long time since flying was considered glamorous; today, travelers are happy when their trips are merely tedious. Long waits, armed guards, and increased security are making business travel more challenging than ever. What can you do to cope with the changes? These tips will help:

– Arrive early. You’ve heard that repeatedly, and it’s true. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to sail through security, you’ll end up waiting at the gate, but that’s better than missing your flight because of a delay at a checkpoint. The standard is two hours prior to the departure of a domestic flight and three hours for international flights–more if you’re traveling with infants, small children or persons with disabilities, and less if you’re departing from a smaller airport or at a time when the airport isn’t busy.

– Avoid the busy times. Typically, early Monday and late Friday flights are the fullest, and that means long lines at security checkpoints. If possible, travel during the middle of the week. If you must travel on Mondays or Fridays, choose flights scheduled for a mid-day departure.

– Carry cash. Keep at least $25 in small bills handy, so you’ll have cash for tips, cab fare or a cup of coffee or snack without having to use a credit card.

– Follow instructions. You’ll move through the checkpoints faster if you politely and promptly obey all reasonable requests from police, airport security and airline personnel.

– Don’t leave your luggage unattended, even briefly. You may return to find that airport security has confiscated your bags.

– Avoid wearing excessive metal jewelry or accessories that might trigger the metal detector. Also, remember to remove your keys from your pockets before passing through the detector. Failure to clear the detector in two tries could make you subject to search.

– Double-check what you’ve packed. If you travel frequently and use the same luggage, review the contents before each trip. Don’t get caught with a forbidden item in your carry-on because you took that bag on a road trip last week and didn’t completely unpack it.

– Carry two forms of photo identification, with at least one that was issued by a state or federal agency. When booking your ticket, use the exact name on that ID. Keep your ID handy, either in a convenient pocket or even around your neck on an ID badge holder, so you can show it quickly and easily when asked.

– Travel light. If you can, use only carry-on luggage, so you don’t have to deal with checked bags should you be rerouted or your flight is canceled. Of course, check with the airline to determine its requirements for carry-on bags and don’t attempt to take more than is allowed.

– Pack with the assumption that your luggage will be hand-searched. Layer clothes neatly, even on the trip home when you might be inclined to simply wad up dirty garments. Use clear zip-lock bags and pouches for smaller items so they can be easily examined.

– Protect your electronic possessions. Inscribe your name on your laptop, cell phone, camera, and other electronics in case they are accidentally left at a security checkpoint. Place these types of items in a plastic bin before sending them through the x-ray machine. Be sure batteries are fresh so you can turn the item on if asked.

– Be prepared for flight cancellations. Though the airline will usually (but not always) try to help, it’s best if you know your options. Can you take a different route? Or a different airline? What about ground transportation? Use a travel agent who will work with you in such situations, and call him or her immediately if your flight is canceled. Be sure you have a 24-hour supply of toiletries, medications and other essentials in your carry-on luggage. And have a plan for alerting anyone at your destination who needs to know about the flight change.

– Wait productively. There’s no way to avoid waiting in airports, especially these days. But you can avoid wasting that time. Bring work with you. If that’s not possible, bring those professional journals you’re behind on to read. Keep a supply of note cards in your briefcase and write some personal notes to clients, colleagues or friends. Read a novel–a little escapism is a great stress-reducer. Strike up conversations with your fellow passengers, but keep the tone positive. This can be a great opportunity for networking, so don’t dwell on the negative aspects of the situation. Be sure to pass out business cards when appropriate. If you’re going to make calls on your cell phone, step away from the crowd so you don’t distract others with your half of a telephone conversation.

Tighter airport security measures may cost you time, but they have been implemented for the safety of everyone. A primary reason for delays at security checkpoints is people who ignore or try to circumvent the rules, or who become belligerent with security or airline personnel, so avoid being part of the problem. There’s not much you can do about the increase in time air travel requires, but being gracious, cheerful and cooperative will make the process smoother and more pleasant.

Tips for Holiday Travel With Your Pet

Most people travel for their holiday celebrations and they usually take their family with them. There are some that just can’t live without their pets as well. If you intend to travel with your pet you have to plan ahead to make the journey pleasant and comfortable for both you and the animal.

· Traveling by Car

If you are going for a road trip for the holidays, make sure that you do not let the pet loose inside your vehicle. You can get your pet a safety harness that can be attached to your car’s seat belt system. Or you can just put your pet in a cage. A pet carrier is also a good idea, but could be more expensive too. Always put your pet in the back seat.

· Traveling by Air

If you are flying to your destination, a pet carrier is a must to comply with airline regulations. Check with the airlines regarding the pet carrier dimensions to ensure that you will be buying the right-sized one. A pet can travel by air in the cabin if it doesn’t exceed 22 pounds in weight, 18 inches in length and 11 inches tall.

For international traveling, you will need certain documents for your pet before you can take it with you. It would best if you can give at least 6 weeks allowance to start taking care of the papers.

Do not travel with your pet unless you have it checked and vaccinated by the veterinarian. Always carry your pet’s current health certificate along with the record of vaccinations.

· Pet Foods

Take plenty of pet foods; you can never be sure if your pets’ favorite brand of pet foods will be available at your destination, so it is better to be sure.

· Feeding Instructions

If you are flying, feed your pet with a light snack 5 to 6 hours before departure. Do not give your pet any liquid 2 hours before departure. If you are going by the car, try not to feed your pet while you are moving.

· Put ID Tags

Whether you are taking your pet for domestic or international traveling, it is best if you can attach an ID tag to your pet. The ID tag must contain your home address and telephone number as well as your destination’s address and telephone number.

Before you take off it is also important to check if your pet is going to be welcome at your destination. If you are visiting relatives, you need to let them know that you will be bringing your pet. If you are staying at a hotel, check about the accommodation’s rules and regulations regarding pets.

Also make sure that your pet is travel-ready. Animals can be more fidgety than kids during long journeys. If your pet has never been anywhere else but home, you can start making him travel-ready by taking him to the supermarket, the park or at the mall.

Finally, try to be as patient as possible. You need to understand that you are not going to deal with your pet alone; you are also going to have to deal with other people’s reaction to your pet.

International Business Etiquette Tips

When doing business internationally, you shouldn’t concentrate on simply selling your products and services. To be successful, you need to cultivate relationships with the people that you are working with. To help you out, here are some of the areas you should pay attention to when interacting with people internationally:

Gender roles

You will be interacting with people from different sectors that have different beliefs. To avoid uncomfortable situations, take your time to understand the appropriate gender etiquette. In most cases, the gender roles are about personal boundaries and physical contact with men and women.

If doing business in the Arab countries, you should note that Arab women aren’t allowed to shake hands with men. If you are a woman and traveling to these countries, be cautious of this as it can be uncomfortable when you hand out your hand and the men don’t shake your hand.

Time

While time is crucial globally, different countries have different tolerance levels. In china and japan, punctuality is crucial, and if you are late for even a minute, the people you are having the meeting with will walk out. In India, your companions won’t be overly offended if you are a little late, but you shouldn’t push it.

If doing business in England, the business professionals will require you to show up on time or even slightly earlier. In France, punctuality is of little importance, and the professionals will consider you “on time” even if you are ten minutes late.

Dress code

This is crucial as it determines how people see you. Just like time, the business attire preference varies from one place to another. In china and japan, business attire is formal. You should wear a suit and tie to all professional meetings. In the US, the business environment is less formal; therefore, you can wear smart casual and be considered okay. In France, you need to be formal, well-tailored, and fashionable. It’s France you are in.

Personal space

Personal space varies from one gender to another and also on how well you know each other. In china, the formal way of going about it is shaking hands. You shouldn’t great someone with a kiss or hug. In France, men will sometimes greet women with a kiss, but many women will stick out their hands if they prefer a handshake. In England, personal touches such as kissing and hugging are reserved for close friends and family; therefore, allow a certain amount of personal space.

Business gifts

Handing out gifts varies from one culture to another. In most Asian countries, gifts are tolerated and highly encouraged. In fact, the business associates will expect you to bring a gift. When you are presenting the gift, always wrap it. Remember that the value of the gift is less important than the thoughts you put into it.

While gifts are encouraged in Asian countries, the culture is highly flowed upon in western countries. Most of these countries consider a gift as a bribe.

Conclusion

These are the international business etiquette tips you should consider when doing business internationally. Always go through them before visiting a country you aren’t familiar with.