Monday, January 1, 2007
Tips and tricks for a better trip
Wherever you’re heading, get an idea for how the weather will be when you’re there (use weather.com). Find out the daytime high forecasts for your golf rounds, and check the low temperatures at night. See what the usual weather for that time of year is, too. That way, you’ll know which clothes to pack, whether you can just layer your clothing (which saves suitcase space) and if you need to bring along rainwear, an umbrella, extra golf shoes or a few golf gloves. By ditching the extra golf gear, you may save weight in your golf bag so that it won’t surpass the airline’s free weight limit. Speaking of which, you can skip lugging altogether. If you’re only playing one or two rounds, call ahead to inquire about the course’s club rental charge. It may be worthwhile. Or, if you want your clubs, but don’t want to haul them yourself, call a golf bag delivery service (sportsexpress.com or luggageconcierge.com) that will ship your bag in advance, making sure its arrival coincides with yours. That will surely save you time and a lot of potential hassles at the airport.
If you’re staying at a resort, call and find out the dress code both around the resort and at its restaurants. This can save you from having to buy clothes once you’re there. Also, find out if the resort has Web access for guests and whether the access is provided in your room or elsewhere. Many hotels now feature free use of computers in the lobby or office, so that guests don’t need to lug laptops with them on their trips. Also, find out in advance about local restaurants, determining which are worthwhile and which to avoid. Make reservations, if necessary, and get directions up front.
If you’re heading out of the country, find out what currency you’ll need and what the exchange rate is. Credit cards are convenient, but not accepted at every small restaurant and shop. Many foreign establishments accept U.S. currency, but then overcharge you for the exchange rate. Visit x-rates.com where you can get up-to-the-minute exchange rates and see photos of what your destination’s currency looks like, so that you don’t get taken by shifty cabbies. Also, remember to see what power plugs are used in your hotel—they likely differ from the wall sockets in your house. Either purchase a universal power plug adapter (pcuniverse.com) before you go, or simply don’t take anything that needs to be plugged in. You can also check with your hotel to see if it loans free adapters. In addition, make sure that your passport is current; passport rules have recently changed. In fact, children now need passports to travel even to Canada, starting in 2007. Will you need a phone card on the road, to call back home? If so, remember to buy one, making sure that you know how it works before you leave for your trip. In fact, some need to be activated in the United States. If yours falls into this category, remember to activate it before heading to the airport. Your cell phone may or may not work overseas, depending on its technology. To be sure, call your cell phone carrier and ask. Verizon customers leaving the country can call customer service before going. Tell them your trip dates, and they’ll temporarily activate a special discount fare for you to use out of the country, at no additional cost. If you’re renting a car overseas, make sure your insurance policy covers that. Otherwise, know your transportation options. And if English is not the primary language there, write down the practical terms you’ll need to get around.
After you’ve made your reservations and tee times, print directions to all of the courses you plan on playing. Use mapquest.com for driving directions from the hotel to a course, from one course to another and from a course back to the hotel. Then staple the directions together, in order of where you’re going, along with your plane e-tickets and hotel information. This will save you time and hassle, once you’ve hit the road.
One final word of caution: Odds are you’ll run into some kind of obstacle during your trip. Just take it in stride, relax and have fun!
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