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My “top 10” travel tips and please can you share yours too?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I love the start of a weekend for so many reasons both personal and points. But let’s focus on points. I look at the week gone by and check my balances to make sure I am getting all I should. I gleefully look at the week to come and what may be on the way. I also look at my upcoming trips. Here are my “top 10” things I do to make my trip better:

1) The day before when I check in for my flight I also e-mail or fax the hotel I will stay at and ask very nicely for an upgrade since I am whatever status, or my wife is whatever status, with that chain. It often works and you jump ahead of EVERYONE checking in the next day!

2) I bring my  Magellan GPS  as I have found this can make or break a trip. Always always always bring it! You are on your time and flushing vacation time being lost is no fun. Or you can end up finding very kool places like I did on a recent trip to Chicago .

3) Bring your “i-zoom” or “EZ pass” or “I-pass” – or whatever your state calls it – toll road transponder. Right now 13 states share this system. This can save you TONS of time and cost!

4) Air/Hotel/Car cards. What to do with all your cards? I have most of my programs on my  Award Wallet  card that for $10 has like 20 on it. But also I punch a hole in them and use 3 key rings and that works great and can just be tossed in my carry-on bag!

5) While I have never got one of these I have a jacket with 8 pockets and I can pack a TON if I want in it. It would shock you just how much. This guy has the same idea and then some.

6) To increase my odds for “bumportunities” I try to go carry-on. Also keep size restrictions in mind. For DELTA the official fit in the little metal tester box is: 22″ x 14″ x 9″.

7) I always keep the essential items with me like glasses if you wear contacts & a lens case filled with solution (but put it in a zip bag as at altitude it will leak!), medications (even my favorite OTC cold meds just in case), identification & extra cash. I bring a clean shirt and socks & under garments expecting to get bumped!

8 ) I try to pre-adjust for jet-lag. My wife and I try to do this before our trips to Sweden by going to bed and getting up earlier for a few days before we go and have found it really helps.

9) I always take photos of ALL my luggage. Then, I do it again with my phone. Also I print 2 copies in color so if your luggage is lost I simply hand one copy to the baggage claim agent when filing the report. I have had the wrong bag handed to me before and the guy walk off! Another thing I also do is place identification tags on the inside as well as outside all my luggage. Lastly take photos with phone of your baggage claim tags – checked & plane-side – so you have those numbers handy if you need them. Takes 2 seconds right?

10) WIPE! FA’s always commend me for this. Go totally “Monk” when you sit down on the plane! Bring along some antibacterial wipes and go over everything – tray table, vid-screen, controller, armrests, window shade, buttons & air vent. Trust me, you don’t want to know what I’ve seen contaminating these surfaces! I also do this in hotels with phone, remote, light switches. Maybe overkill, but you should do this!  “You’ll thank me later!”

So now it’s your turn. Help your fellow DeltaPoints readers with your tips to make our trips better. – René

[EDIT] – I see where this is going (in a good way)! So keep the tips coming.

Next Friday I will post the best ones for a “part two”!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I make sure my entire known itinerary is in Tripit including potential things, like a restaurant I’d heard about/would like to consider.

  2. Great tips! I might add, take a picture of your passport & email it to yourself/store a copy on your smart phone. Should become lost you already have a copy. (Works great in Singapore for Duty Free purchases!!!)

    • HI Nancy – I love this. I will do that from now on (i have in past just printed copy but this is better). Great tip. Keep them coming. – Rene

  3. Very useful guide, and I agree with you on the wiping things down as soon as you sit down, I don’t always do it, but I should.

    The top of the list for me is Tripit. Associated with Gmail it pulls the info directly, you can add notes or any extra references you might need.

    The extra change of clothes is also useful to pack in handluggage when traveling with checked bags, in case of baggage delays.

    Regarding GPS, an option for those with smartphones is to buy an app like TomTom. I used to carry my Garmin along with maps of Europe & US, now I switched to the iPhone app. The prices of the apps are nothing compared to the $$$ roaming charges if you’re using Google Maps on a different continent.

    If you’re staying in a country longer, consider a local prepaid data card. Since iPads became popular many carriers started offering SIM cards with 1GB or 2GB for 5-15EUR. Helps you avoid roaming or only having internet access near WiFi. This allows you to use Google Maps cheaply.

    In terms of extra copies of ID, I’d do a print copy and one that’s centrally accessible, such as having it sent via GMail to a relative. It’ll be stored in Sent items, so you can access it from anywhere. Phones can get stolen easily and not everyone password protects their phones.

    You’ll notice my tips are slightly more overseas/far away from home focused. 🙂


  4. It’s a no-brainer, but worth mentioning, as my wife didn’t do this before our last trip. Always remember to charge all your personal/portable electronics before departing. Many smaller or older planes do not have power ports, and it can be a pain to find and use outlets if you are on a tight layover. Also, make sure to have your charging cords in your carry on luggage.

  5. About a week before my trip, I always call my credit card companies and inform them which countries I’ll be traveling through and the timeframe I anticipate being in those places. This way the card issuer won’t block my purchase transactions thinking that my credit card has been stolen. It is also useful to add any in-transit places to the list of countries that will be visited, even if a person only has a two hour layover there. You never know when a typhoon, snowstorm or earthquake might unexpectedly strand you in an airport and you’ll need to take a hotel room for a few days until the problem abates.

  6. There’s a great iPhone/Android app called TripIt. You forward the confirmation email from the airline after setting up an account and they’re able to extract ALL important info and arrange it in an easy to access format in the app. Great for international trips with multiple connctions.

  7. Love your hole-punched & ringed cards… great idea. I always have a list of alternate routings available should my flights meet with IRROPS. And they, of course, are far more circuitous in getting me to my final destination. 😉

  8. Great tips! Just wondering – how do you transport your izoom/ezpass transponder? I no longer have the bag mine came in and was wondering if there are any issues with flying with it?

    • No issues. I just pop it in my computer bag and away I go. I know some company make anti-RF bags. It may be something to look into. – Rene

  9. Just like Nancy Said in #3, I always make several photocopies of the my passport and and visas and other other important travel documents and place them in my carry on and luggage and exchange them with my travel companion. If you lose or have your passport stolen — its makes applying for a replacement overseas much much easier.

  10. Take along a small power strip for use in the airport or hotel rooms for all of your gadgets. People in the airport are much more apt to “share” a plug than give it up!

    Text myself with the parking space at the airport so I remember where I parked.

    Print an extra ticket in case you want to leave one at the counter for upgrade or bump.

    Check for Gogo in-flight coupon codes … you won’t be able to search in the air.

    Pack an extra lightweight duffel bag, it may come in handy for an overweight bag or for overzealous spenders ont the return.

    Verify your driver’s license and passport expiration.

    Look up the twitter accounts for hotels / airlines / and other services you will be using. Right now the seem to fast ways to get through if you have issues or just want to give a thanks or feedback for good service. @Delta is especially responsive and has the best working the tweets.

    If traveling with Carry-on only, review the strategies for alternate flights for potential earlier connections, bump strategy, or other delays.

    Look up current promotions for your travel partners to make sure you are maximizing your return on points / miles.

    Bookmark your favorite blogs on your mobile devices so you don’t miss a minute!

    Slip on and off shoes are the best for security.

    Zip through approved computer bag so you don’t have to remove your laptop from the case at x-ray.

    On the shuttle from parking I always take all coins, keys, cell phone, wallet, etc. and put them in my computer bag … saves the hassle at security as well as lowers the risk of losing individual bags.

    Tag your bag with an obvious feature, put identifying information inside the bag (i.e. business card).

  11. A few weeks before going to a destination check Groupon/Living Social/other deal sites for specials in the area.

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