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Archive for travel safety

Battery Travel

By Linda Tancs

Alkaline, nickel cadmium, lithium ion.  Sounds like a chemistry class, doesn’t it?  No wonder, then, that the transport of these battery-making materials is addressed by the Transportation Security Administration.  You might be surprised to learn that typical, consumer-sized batteries are allowable in carry-on baggage.  In fact, whenever possible the TSA encourages the safe packing of your batteries in your carry-ons rather than checked bags so that the items are easily accessible in the event that onboard conditions give way to potential hazards.

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EU Passenger Bill of Rights

By Linda Tancs

Fliers have rights, but so do rail travelers, ship passengers and bus riders.  The European Union’s common set of principles related to passenger rights provide certainty and consistency for all EU travelers.  Sounds like a good model for the rest of us.

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A Helping Hand for Travelers

By Linda Tancs

Uncertain weather and other circumstances can leave travelers feeling pretty stranded.  Just ask any of the folks throughout U.S. airports feeling the effects of the recent blizzard in the Northeast.  During such trying times, it’s nice to know that there are volunteers at transportation hubs willing to lend a hand.  That’s the idea behind the volunteer organization Travelers Aid, a network of individuals providing transportation assistance for those in crisis at airports as well as bus and train stations.  Serving over six million people last year, volunteers are always welcome.  Check your locale for the network nearest you.

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Cash and Carry

By Linda Tancs

One crucial point to keep in mind about credit and debit cards is the usage in Europe, Canada, Latin America and other parts of the world of what’s known as “chip and PIN” credit and debit cards.  These cards have a computer chip embedded in them, technology increasingly adopted internationally to combat credit and debit card fraud.  The use of the card is effectuated by verifying a PIN (personal identification number).   It does not appear that any U.S. credit and debit cards (characterized by magnetic stripe readers) currently possess this “chip and PIN” technology for use abroad.  So what do you do if your card is rejected by a vendor?  In some cases, the situation can be resolved by reminding a vendor that he or she has the option to type the card number into a credit card machine.  Now there’s another option.  Money exchange company Travelex is debuting the Cash Passport, a card pre-loaded with your desired currency.  The more you buy, the better the exchange rate.  This option is particularly attractive for automated transactions where a magnetic stripe card might be rejected.

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Secure Flight Rules Now Implemented

By Linda Tancs

Secure Flight is a safety program administered by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration requiring airlines to collect and transmit to TSA the full name, birth date and gender of passengers to better match them against watch lists.  The program is particularly helpful for those travelers whose names are similar to those that may be found on such lists and may erroneously be detained from flying.  The program isn’t new, but its implementation has now begun in earnest.  Travelers should be sure to match their airline travel reservations with their name exactly as it appears on the travel document (e.g., driver’s license or passport) to be used at the checkpoint for identification.

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Furry Back Seat Drivers

By Linda Tancs

A disturbing statistic has arisen from the American Automobile Association:  about two-thirds of American drivers pet, play or otherwise interact with their pets while driving.  Yet another distraction to add to the dangerous list of risky behavior like phoning, texting and snoozing.  Fido might enjoy the attention, but an unrestrained animal poses the same risk as an unrestrained child.  Get a car seat and protect the life of your pet as well as your upholstery.

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The People’s Voice on Air Travel

By Linda Tancs

Air travel is rife with passenger complaints and concerns over everything from tarmac delays and status information to transparency in pricing and food allergies.  Do you want to have your say in the resolution of the matter?  Then be sure to comment on proposed regulations when they’re drafted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Regulation Room makes it easy to know what the feds are up to; you can easily view at a glance the topics that are currently awaiting public comment.  And who better to address the travails of the traveling public than…you?  As the late economist Milton Friedman once remarked, “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

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