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Other Stuff to Know - 1
This section of our website contains information that you may find useful in your personal, social or professional life. Its content supplements the advice contained in the Citizen of the World Guides. Check Other Stuff to Know regularly as we will be posting new articles here on an ongoing basis.
Steele's Top Travel Tips
  • When you book air travel reservations, always attempt to secure your seat assignment at that time. It is harder for the airline to bump you off an overbooked flight when you have an assigned seat. To find the best seats to select for your flights, go to
  • Try to avoid flying on Fridays, Sundays and the first and last day of any holiday periods. The best off-peak days for traveling are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Select flights that leave first thing in the morning, especially if you have connecting flights, as opposed to the end of the day when you are more likely to experience delays and cancellations.
  • Download the apps of any of the airlines on which you’re traveling. These apps provide essential information, especially if anything goes wrong. In the case of a cancelled flight, they will enable you to connect directly to the airline to book an alternative flight, thereby avoiding having to wait forever to get an agent on the phone or waste time waiting in long lines. They also enable you to look up the status of your departing flights and track your luggage.
  • Prior to checking in any air travel bags, remove all previous airline baggage tags and stickers, detach any straps that may cause your bags to get snagged on the conveyor belts, and attach a tag on the outside showing your name (exactly the same as you used for your airline reservation) and the address and phone number for your ultimate destination (not your home address). Do not pack any important documents, jewelry, medications or electronics, such as laptops, in your checked luggage. Place your name, contact information and ultimate destination on a large piece of paper that is easily visible on the top inside of each bag in case the outside tag is torn off.
  • Always check in online as early as possible and print off your boarding pass, including those for connecting flights. If you were unable to obtain an assigned seat beforehand, do so now. Most airlines offer online check-ins 24 hours prior to departure. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to check in at the airport. Plus, having a hard copy of your boarding pass will enable you to avoid having to go back to the ticket counter if there is a problem with the electronic reader at the gate.
  • To help adjust to jet lag when you are traveling across different time zones, upon embarking always immediately set your watch to the local time of your destination and, upon arrival, adjust your eating and sleeping times to the same as they would be locally. For example, resist going to bed to sleep until you normally would at the local time. Plus, drink lots of water while you are flying to avoid dehydration and refrain from having any caffeine or alcohol.
  • To make hotel reservations, first check on the available rates for your hotel online at aggregator sites such as, then call the hotel’s direct line and ask to talk to its on-site reservations staff as opposed to calling the hotel’s chain-wide reservations department. The local staff will be better able to offer you the best possible deal (ask “Is this absolutely the best rate that’s available on my dates?” and “Can you match the online rate that I found at …?). In the case of resort hotels, you also should probably ask – “Are there any major renovations taking place at the hotel when I will be staying there?” and “Is there is major construction going on anywhere adjacent to the hotel?” If the answer to either of these is yes, you probably should stay elsewhere.
  • When you check in at the front desk of a hotel, give the staff person a warm smile and ask, “Do you have an attractive room for me?” This is probably your best approach to obtaining an upgraded room.
  • If you are unhappy with the room you are given at a hotel for any reason (size of room, type of bed, cleanliness, too noisy, lack of view, etc.), immediately call down to the check-in desk, say that you are disappointed with your room and be specific about why, and politely request that you be given a better room. If the new room you are given is still not satisfactory, repeat your request for a better room. When an alternative room is not available, ask to be moved to one the next day.
  • Whenever you leave your hotel room in the evening, place the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of your door. This will discourage anyone from trying to break into your room while you are gone.
  • When you are renting a vehicle, before you drive anywhere, always closely inspect it on the rental lot for any damages, dents or marks, including on the undercarriage. If you find any, request that a rental attendant make a note of them directly on the copies of the rental agreement and initial them. This will help prevent you being wrongly charged for causing any damages when you return the vehicle.
  • Prepare a hard copy of a printed itinerary to take with you when you travel, showing the details of all of your flights, other travel arrangements and hotel reservations, including the confirmation and file numbers. Also, attach a page listing the contact information for all family members and key work associates, plus your passport number, its expiry date and the numbers to call in the event you lose your credit cards. While this information may be stored on your cellphone or computer, there may be times when you are unable to access them.
  • On a regular basis, check your passport’s expiry date and the need to renew it. Most countries prohibit the entry of travelers if their passport expires in less than six months.
For travel-related information on restaurants, wine and tipping, see the Citizen of the World Guide, Make the Right Impression, at Also see Surviving Plane Crashes: "90 Seconds" in the Other Stuff To Know section of our website.
Let Steele know if you have any questions about the Citizen of the World Guides or your life and career.

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