Tag Archives: travel tips

6 Hacks to Get Your Luggage through the Airport

luggage blog

Sometimes luggage can be a hassle. And nowhere does that become more apparent when you’re stuck in the airport for hours and need to figure out how to juggle carry-ons, checked-in bags, purses and laptops, all the while shuffling through security and onto the plane. Here are a few quick tips to get to your destination with your bags and sanity intact.

1. Weigh your Luggage.

It can be a pain to pay overcharge fees for excess or oversized luggage. Be sure to check with the airlines their weight limit and size requirements online. Get a tape measure and a hand-held luggage scale to catch the exact measurements.


2. Fed up with Bag Fees? So are we

Even if you pack carefully, you might still find an unforeseen charge on your ticket. Some airlines include checked-in luggage on your ticket, but with the rising trend of the nickle-and-dime, certainly not all. Extra luggage purchased at the airport can cost anywhere from $60-80 and up. To avoid unnecessary bag costs, make sure you pre-purchase any necessary bags online prior to check-in. Some airlines cut off purchase deadline by up to 72 hours, so be sure to make these purchases at least 3 days in advance of your flight. If you need additional baggage allowance, buy this 3 days prior as well.

3. Carry-ons for the win!

It can be risky to check your luggage – there might be extra fees, the baggage handlers might lose it, you might be stuck waiting at the carousel. To speed your trip along, you can opt to pack everything in your carry-on. Of course, this means packing carefully and economically—but if you can manage it, it might save you a lot of trouble.


4. Or Maybe You’re Pro-Checked In?

Then again, maybe dragging along your luggage is a pain and you want to stick with just a luggage or backpack. Check in everything so you have less to worry about. You won’t have to worry about gels or liquids. You won’t have to worry about grabbing your bags between connecting flights. And best of all you won’t have to fight for space in the overhead bin.

5. Lost Bag! What Now?

The worst has happened and the luggage has been misplaced. If the carousel finishes its rotations without your luggage, file a report with the airline before you leave the airport. Make sure the airline rep gives you a copy of the report, their name and phone number so you can follow up with them—and that you supply them with a forwarding address. If your bag is declared lost by the airline, you’ll have to file a detailed report with an estimated value of the contents. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation ensures that all airlines reimburse consumers for lost bags. Note that this doesn’t count with delayed bags.

6. Long Layover? Leave your Luggage at the Airport

Have a long layover 5+ hours and want to spend it exploring the city? Check in a storage locker for a couple hours. Most airports have these for a small coin fee. You can dump your bags and explore the new town at leisure. Some airlines, like Singapore Changi Airport, run a shuttle specifically designed to take passengers around town while they wait for their connecting flight.

These tips and more from our qualified travel agents at Willamette Intl Travel. Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 


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Midweek Travel Tips

Welcome to Wednesday! Here at Wittravel we’re launching a Midweek Travel Tips program, where we share the best of our tips for travel on our blog—pre-trip, post-trip and during. 

It’s getting quite chilly in the Pacific Northwest, so we’re asking all our clients to bundle up! When you travel, your risk of infection worsens as you’re forced to deal with irregular sleep schedules, jet lag, unknown foods and unfamiliar temperatures.

Our Top Tips for Health while Traveling:

Jet Lag is a serious condition that can leave you exhausted and out-of-it for days. To reduce its effects, try sleeping on the plane. Stay hydrated and relaxed. When you arrive at your destination, eat according to your host country’s meal schedules. Walk around in brisk air and try to stay awake at least until evening!

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Water is a staple of life, and hydration is all the more important when you are tired and exposed to airplane A/C and unfamiliar germs. That said, drink bottled water and avoid the tap—in many countries, tap water contains serious bacteria and is not potable.

The dreaded Traveler’s Tummy (aka traveler’s diarrhea, aka Montezuma’s revenge, aka Delhi belly) is certainly no fun—stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or worse. It’s easy to become severely dehydrated or malnourished. Stay hydrated, carry imodium and eat with caution. Symptoms usually clear up in a day, but should they worsen, check in with a doctor.

Stay informed and know the Emergency Numbers of your destination. USA is 911, Iceland is 112 and so on. If you’re car breaks down on the road or you’re in some kind of emergency, you’ll need to know how to contact an ambulance, police, or fire department. Here’s a great reference list: http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/students-abroad/pdfs/911_ABROAD.pdf

What do you think of our travel tips program? Tell us in the comments! Is there anything you’d like to know from our travel agents?

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Travel News from Wittravel

Our Agents read and keep abreast of all the latest travel news! Call us to book an appointment to your dream destination today. 503-224-0180 or info@wittravel.com.

Follow us on Twitter to stay in touch with the newest travel tips and tricks!

Here’s this week’s roundup of top news highlights:

At least three top hotel companies are bidding to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Among those starting negotiations are Hyatt, Jin Jiang Intl Hotels and HNA Group.

Holland America Line cruises has partnered with BBC Earth to boost their “edutainment” offerings, for example a concert based on Frozen Planet. This is similar to last year’s Princess Cruises partnership with Discovery Channel. The program will include enrichment activities, game shows, fun workshops, and animal and dinosaur themes.

Anteroom becomes the first dedicated LGBT cruise line, beginning in 2017. Anteroom will sail its 400-passenger ship around the Mediterranean in coordination with Europe’s Pride festivals.

The Department of Transportation announced a ban on electronic cigarettes in checked luggage, citing 26 incidents where e-cigs were responsible for explosions or fires. Taking them in carry-on bags is still permitted but recharging is not.

Jimmy Fallon gets his own ride at Universal Orlando Resort, opening in 2017. The ride is dubbed “Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Xiamen Airlines To Launch North American Flights, from Xiamen to Vancouver starting July 2016.

Airlines Increase Efforts To Tackle Cyber Security Risks. This follows a report from a security researcher that was able to hack into flight controls via his undersea entertainment unit.

Norwegian Escape To Get Separate Smoking Area in Casino, and the new area will be retrofitted with full ventilation.

EU Mobile Data Roaming Charges To Be Banned, starting June 2017. Mobile phone users within the EU will be charged the same as they would in their home country.

Last Monday, a massive dog was given a first class seat on an American Airlines flight.

Emirates plans to codeshare with Alaska Airlines, pending US government approval. Emirates flies twice daily from Seattle to Dubai.

British Airways launches daily direct flights from London Gatwick to New York on May 1, 2016.

London’s Big Ben is in such poor condition it could grind to a halt pending restoration. The mechanism could be shut down for four months for repair.

Work has started on Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia Basilica, designed by Gaudi. It is still 70% complete, and is currently planned to be completed in 2026 for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Aer Lingus will add three transatlantic routes in 2016. Year-round service will run between LA and Dublin, Newark and Dublin, and Hartford and Dublin.

2015’s Best Airports to Sleep In

1. Singapore’s Changi International: fish spa, sauna, butterfly garden, showers, koi pond.

2. South Korea’s Incheon Intl.

3. Japan’s Haneda Intl.

4. China’s Taiyuan Intl.

5. Hong Kong Intl.

6. Munich Intl.

7. Helsinki Intl.

8. Canada’s Vancouver Intl.

9. Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Intl.

10. Zurich’s Kloton Intl Airport.

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The TSA Blog

Here are Willamette Intl Travel we strive to keep ourselves updated on recent developments of all things travel. One of our sources is the TSA Blog, where the US Dept of State publishes everything there is know about how to make your TSA screening go just a bit smoother.

Click here to read their popular post: A Cornucopia of TSA Travel Tips

It covers helpful tips ranging from TSA pre-check to packing smart to traveling with oxygen.

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TRAVEL NEWS: New Carry-On Size Limits!

Airlines are changing their rules on the size of carry-on luggage.

American Airlines and United Airlines issued a notice last week that their standards for carry-on bags have changed to the following new requirements: Maximum dimensions cannot exceed 22” length x 14” width x 9” depth.

Do note that a significant number of carry-on bags used today are over 14” width!

New sizers at check in will be the next step the airlines take to check oversize bags well before they arrive at the gate. If an airline decides to subject your carry-on to their sizer, they require your bag to get through it without being forced.

This policy is likely to spread throughout all the national airlines. Where one airline goes, the rest usually follow.


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Travel Tips Countdown: One to Three HOURS before you take to the skies

This week we are presenting a series on Travel Tips for new and experienced travelers alike. Check out our Agents’ tips and tricks on how to survive pre-travel!

Today: Checking In and Surviving Security

  • Check in at the airport. It’s advised to check in 1 ½ to 2 hours in advance of each domestic flight, and 2 to 3 hours in advance of each international flight.
  • Curbside check-in? Some airports offer curbside check in. Just present your photo ID along with your reservation number to one of the booths. You can print your boarding pass here as well. Note! You cannot check in international luggage at the curbside check-in.
  • Connection. Do make sure that if you have a connection your luggage is tagged to your final destination, and the boarding pass you receive has checked you in to your final destination. If this is not the case, you will have to recheck in your luggage and yourself during your connection.
  • What’s this about Liquids? Use a quart-size clear Ziploc for holding any liquids/gels that you want in your carry on.  Items must contain less than 3 oz. of liquid, among other restrictions. It cannot be a larger capacity container that is holding less than 3 oz., either.  It can ONLY be a quart size bag; it cannot be crammed full either.
  • Prohibited Items. There’s a plethora of items you’re not allowed to pack in your carry-on by the TSA. This includes firearms, sharp objects, self defense items, explosive materials, dangerous chemicals, etc. For a full list, check out: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items. When in doubt, leave it out. Or better yet, put it in your checked luggage.
  • Operating Carrier. Always check in with the carrier operating the flight. If your flight is a codeshare, the flight code might read KL6008 but actually be operated by Delta. Check your reservation if in doubt.
  • Unpack certain items before you go into security. Be sure to unpack laptops and film, and have your boarding pass and ID ready.
  • Dress the Part. As you pass through metal detectors, screening will go by faster if you minimize metal on your person—keys, jewelry, piercings, watches. Keep these items in your carry-on until you pass through security. Remove your shoes. Slip-on shoes are recommended, but for comfort do make sure they are closed-toe. Tip! Children under the age of 12, seniors over 75, and passengers with certain disabilities or medical conditions are exempt.
  • Water Bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated on a flight. Once past security, travelers can purchase water (though often expensive) and take it onboard with them. Alternatively, you can have an empty water bottle in your carry on and fill it once you are past security.
  • Self-Check Kiosk. These machines are invaluable. If your airline has a self-check kiosk at the airport, you can skip the long check-in lines, check-in, print your boarding pass, then proceed to the luggage-only line in a matter of minutes.

Want specific tips but don’t see them here? Leave a comment and we’ll post about it!

Willamette Intl Travel has been in the travel industry for more than 35 years and we keep informed with all the latest policies and updates. Call us for more info! 800-821-0401 or email info@wittravel.com.


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Travel Tips Countdown: One DAY before you head out your door

This week we are presenting a series on Travel Tips for new and experienced travelers alike. Are you one of the many travelers heading this summer? Take a look at our tips for the day before you leave!

Today: Reconfirming Flights and Finalizing Packing

  • Reconfirm flight status at your airline’s website using your reservation number. You can check if your flight is on time, delayed, or cancelled. Even if your flight is delayed, the airlines require that you still check in 2-3 hours prior to your original international flight, and at least 90 minutes prior to your domestic flight.
  • For a domestic flight, check in online 24 hours prior and print your boarding pass. This can reduce the chances of being denied boarding in case of an oversell. It can also speed up the boarding process. When you’re at the airport, you can skip the check in line and go straight to a luggage-only check-in. If you lose or forget your boarding pass, you can always reprint it at the airport.
  • Look for better seats. If unsatisfied with the seats you are assigned, many airlines open up their reserve seats at 24 hours prior. You can reposition yourself from your home computer early rather than begging an airport agent later.
  • Set up notification alerts to mobile devices. For the e-savvy traveler, time is money. Set up alerts to your cell phone or ipad to let you know your flight status, gates and times when you’re on the go.
  • Keep your travel docs and medication on your person. Put all tickets, visas, passports and foreign currency in a special travel bag and keep these documents with you at all times. If you take medication, put it in here as well. Don’t put them in your check in, luggage can get lost or delayed. Take a spare pair of prescription glasses. Keep information such as contact numbers and medication type and dosage level in a separate place on your person just in case you lose these items.
  • Consider your Check-in luggage. The amount of luggage permitted free of charge on an airline depends on the operating carrier. Each airline is unique, and often they have different rules between domestic and international flights. Weigh your bags before arriving at the airport to make sure they aren’t overweight. Leave a bit of space for gifts and souvenirs. Remove all old tags and labels from previous flights. Take a photo of your bags with your smart phone, so you can show it to the baggage agent if it is misplaced.
  • Additional or overweight/oversized luggage will incur additional fees. Although the definition of what is overweight and oversized will differ, in general the standard is heavier than 50 lbs and larger than 62 inches in overall dimensions (length+width+height).
  • Carry-Ons. Most airlines allow one carry-on and one personal item free of charge.
  • Select your travel clothes based on comfort and destination. Aircraft temperature can be really hot or cold; plan for that by dressing in loose layers and adding a jacket, shawl or sarong to your carry-on bag. Keep in mind that jackets, hats, belts and shoes must be removed at security check points. If you’re landing at a destination with a different climate, have a change of clothes ready. Put sandals and shorts in your carry-on so you can change on arrival.

Stay tuned until next post on Friday: One to Three Hours Prior to Lift-Off: Checking In and Surviving Security.

Want specific tips but don’t see them here? Leave a comment and we’ll post about it!

Willamette Intl Travel has been in the travel industry for more than 35 years and we keep informed with all the latest policies and updates. Call us for more info! 800-821-0401 or email info@wittravel.com.

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