I used to have nightmares when I was in college about arriving in class and not knowing there was a test that day for which I hadn’t prepared. These days I worry more about getting to a check-in desk at an airport to find I’ve forgotten my wallet.
It can happen to any of us. We forget our wallet or purse. Or we’re on a trip and our IDs get lost or stolen.
How are you going to get on your flight home?
Relax—it can be done. I’ve often advised that you carry a photo of your passport page and driver’s license in your smartphone. Of course, your smartphone can get stolen or lost, too. So when traveling, carry a photocopy of that passport and driver’s license and keep them separate from your wallet or purse.
Then, carry something else with your name or address on it such as a utility bill or even a magazine that has an address label affixed. Either offers some tangible proof of who you are, and bad guys never think to do that. Get to a TSA supervisor as soon as you can and give him or her all the evidence you have, and you will likely be cleared for boarding.
I recently interviewed a special education teacher and travel agent named Ida Keiper who works with Abeon Travel. She and her colleagues specialize in finding destinations and resorts that are especially sensitive to travelers with special needs, and she’s written a book with a title that says it all: Destinations For Kids With Special Needs.
I subscribe to Abeon’s newsletter. A recent issue told me of a special performance of the musical “Wicked” in New York on the afternoon of February first sponsored by the Autism Theatre Initiative. There were several helpful tips for how to eliminate the boredom of waiting, whether at an airport for a flight or for service at a restaurant.
Abeon Travel’s blog on the company’s web site has more helpful advice—I learned about a website called Allergy Free Table that offers pre-made chef cards that describe a diner’s food allergies that would be helpful at restaurants. You can check out the blog and sign up for Abeon’s regular newsletter at AbeonTravel.com.
For information on Ida Keiper’s book, click here.
Superstitions. They’re everywhere. What’s yours?
Some airline pilots carry photos of their family inside their hat bands. Some adults travel with a particular stuffed animal from their childhood to ward off in-flight disasters. After all, it’s worked so far.
It’s still a mystery to many people how those big pieces of metal called airplanes stay up in the air, and some studies suggest a quarter of passengers on a plane are at least nervous about flying. It’s called “aerophobia,” and one study suggested 6.5% of Americans suffer from it. I have a friend who is petrified of flying; another, a private pilot, won’t fly in a plane unless he’s at the controls.
It’s, literally, a control thing.
So if you always touch the door to an airplane as you enter or carry a talisman that brings you comfort when you fly, keep on keepin’ on. I know you know that flying is statistically safer than taking a bath or driving your car.
But I say, whatever works.
I’ve been surprised to see package tours for a week’s visit to Cuba that cost four or more thousand dollars per person. That includes airfare, but Cuba is only 90 miles off the coast of Florida. I understand that a tour company has to hire a lot of guides in country, but it still seems to be quite a steep price.
In May, Carnival launches a new brand called Fathom that will take passengers for week-long sails along Cuba’s coasts with extensive shore excursions. The price from Miami is supposed to begin at about $1,800 per person for an inside cabin.
Carnival isn’t alone. Haimark, Pearl Sea Cruises, and Cuba Cruises by Celestyal have announced plans to serve Cuba. Celestyal is a Cypress-based cruise line that will operate a 960-passenger ship from Jamaica. [Photo: the Celestyal Cristol]
Pearl Sea begins cruises start in mid-April with rates beginning at $5,305 per person for a week’s cruise. Haimark will sail out of Miami with rates beginning at $3,000 per person.
Carnival clearly intends to undercut the competition.
Why not visit Cuba on your own?
First of all, Americans can visit Cuba for any of a list of specific reasons. . An educational, religious, or humanitarian trip qualifies—just fill out a government form and sign the affidavit saying you meet a stipulated requirement. You can’t take a trip to a Cuban beach resort to get a tan.
And you can plan your own trip. One useful website is called CubaJunky.com. Some of the information on how to visit Cuba isn’t up to date, but details on how to find a hotel room or a room in someone’s home is on the site. You can also rent a car through the site, and Cuba Junky suggests doing that as much as two months in advance of your trip.
You’ll need a passport, your credit and debit cards will now work in Cuba, and you can bring back as much as $100 worth of cigars and booze with you, and there is no longer a per-diem limit on spending.
Tomorrow: Another way to get to Cuba for less.
More info, about the new rules.