Graham and Nicki Hird of Copper Travels Co. in Enfield discuss last-minute tips for travelers packing up for February break trips.
1. Have an airport security question? The Transportation Security Administration website likely has an answer.
Graham Hird recommends that families take a look at TSA.gov before heading out to an airport.
The security procedures, lists of prohibited items and more can all change at a moment's notice, he said. Plus, the site offers reams of useful information for all those pesky travel conundrums that can be difficult to solve:
- Bringing the pet along? Here's how to get Fido through security.
- Going to a family holiday or reunion? The cranberry sauce probably has to be checked in a bag, but the pies and cakes are fair game if the TSA examines them.
- In a rush? Here's a list of predicted busy travel days.
- Does a person in your traveling group have a disability or medical condition? Here are helpful tips on what to expect from security, for those on the autism spectrum, travelers with diabetes and much more.
2. Don't stress too much about forgetting a bathing suit or even leaving that pack of diapers at home. Most items are replaceable on a trip. But certain items travelers can't do much without.
Graham Hird said that there isn't much you can't buy and replace during a trip. While having to head to the mall for extra socks might put a slight damper on the fun, it certainly won't ruin a vacation, he said. That doesn't apply to all travel items, though.
"I've had people leave passports at home," Hird said. "Either you call someone to hurry the passport to the airport, or you have to go another day."
Families should also doublecheck that their passports and drivers licenses don't expire before their return date.
Other travel essentials? Making sure that medications are safely kept in a carry on, double checking with the car insurance company that the driver of a rental car is covered in case of accident and checking in with the medical insurance to see what benefits are available during travel.
3. Credit cards are a must-have while away from home.
Having a small amount of cash around is always useful, Hird said, but he recommends having a credit card handy for emergencies while travling.
"If you're traveling, I'm a big proponent of credit, not debit cards," he said. "Many debit cards have a daily spending limit, and what happens if you exceed that?"
4. Pack light. You probably won't need all those outfits.
Nicki Hird, who used to lead suitcase packing seminars, said that there is a basic packing rule for women.
"Whatever you lay out for your trip, take half of it way immediately," she advised.
With baggage fees racking up travel expenses anyway, Hird said that it's wise to pack less, not more.
In general, she said, women can bring three bottoms, three tops and mix and match to have enough daytime outfits for a week-long vacation. Accessories are a great space-saving addition to vary up your style, she added.
And don't forget, souvenir T-shirts can be worn before going home!
5. Keep the kids happy with a special travel bag.
Travel can be stressful even for adults, so keep the kids happy and entertained during the trip with a special travel bag, the Hirds advise.
Nicki explained that she and her husband kept a red vacation bag well-stocked during all their trips. The bag was filled with coloring books and games that the kids weren't allowed to play with at home, to keep the bag fresh and exciting. And for every vacation, a new toy was added to the mix, she said.
The cards and games also enrich the family experience, Graham said. While electronic devices can keep kids (and adults) happily distracted, he said that the travel bag games can create their own memories for families as they make their way to their destination.
Copper Travels Co. is located at 251 Hazard Avenue in Enfield. To reach Graham or Nicki call (860) 763-0835.