Top 10 tips for rookie travelers

Buy easy-to-carry luggage. Experts recommend using a carry-on bag with wheels, which makes it easy to zip through airports. Use a garment bag that can be hung up so suits and dresses don’t wrinkle. Always pack a change of clothes and essential toiletries in your carry-on in case luggage is lost.

Join frequent-flier programs. All major U.S. airlines offer frequent-flier programs, which are free to join. Miles earned can be redeemed for upgrades from coach-class seats to business- or first-class. There are many opportunities to earn miles without flying – from Omaha hotels, car rental companies, credit cards and other businesses.

Join an airport club. Experts say being a member of an airport club is like having an office at the airport. Major airlines have networks of private clubs at U.S. and foreign airports they serve. Memberships cost a few hundred dollars a year but travelers get access to a private lounge where they can plug in their computer, send a fax or meet clients.

Join a hotel frequent-guest program. Most are free. Earn points toward free room nights and upgrades to better rooms. You can also trade points for frequent-flier miles. Hotels have special check-in desks for members, so you don’t have to wait in long lines to get into your room.

Keep a travel diary. A diary helps you remember when you’ve found a good place to eat or a nice hotel to stay at. Road Warrior Jody Samson keeps a book, alphabetized by city, that lists restaurant, hotel and sightseeing ideas. She says it’s useful for business as well as pleasure trips.

Be prepared. Keep several pre-packed toiletries bags so you don’t forget anything. One Road Warrior suggests keeping three sets of toiletries: one for home, one for short trips and one for long trips.

Pack a snack. Bring your own food and water on airplanes in case food service is delayed because of mechanical or weather problems. Drink lots of water on the plane – and avoid alcohol – to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Dress comfortably. Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes to make getting around the airport or getting to your hotel easier and less stressful.

Carry a medical kit. For emergencies, take a safety kit with you that includes bandages, safety pins, aspirin, and medications to fight nausea and diarrhea.

Board the plane ASAP. Getting on the plane sooner instead of dawdling in the airport will leave you more time to find a place to store your bag, get a pillow and have your pick of magazines.

Overseas tips. Apply for your passport several months in advance of your trip.

– Research business and social customs before you visit a foreign country.

– If you travel frequently to a particular country, have your business cards printed in English on one side and in that country’s language on the other.

– At international hotels, introduce yourself to the concierge. They are an excellent source of information for travelers on local customs, how to get around a city, good places to eat and sights to see.

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