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Last minute travel tips by Tom Blake

-these tips can make your trip more enjoyable-

1. Before you leave, test all of your equipment. For example, many ear phones contain a small AAA battery. If you haven't use the earphones in a long time, perhaps the battery is dead and needs to be changed. I learned this the hard way. I got on an international flight, put on my earphones for the 16-hour trek, and got no sound. I'd have toss the earphones out the window if I could have opened it. I didn't know my battery was dead, had never checked it before. Hell, I didn't even know it had a battery.

Same thing for your remote computer mouse. It has a battery but a different size, usually a AA. Be sure you take an extra. On most flights, you are not allowed to use a remote mouse, in that it transmits a signal so know how to use the other method to navigate on your laptop.

2. Contact your cell phone website (AT&T, Smartphone, etc.,) to learn how to save money using your phone in foreign countries. You can purchase overseas plans and keep your costs down. Also, do you really need cell phone to read your email messages? By turning off your roaming capability, you just might save a tune on data charges. And turn off the auto-check functionality for messages, that will save you money as well. I use only my laptop for email when I travel.

3. Pack as light as possible. Every square inch in your suitcase is gold. Vitamin supplements and prescription pill bottles take up lots of room. I try to transfer all of that type of stuff into small plastic bags, and then I label the bags to remember what pills are what.

4. If going on a cruise, you will quickly discover there are limited wall sockets to plug into. We take a surge protector strip with 4-5 plugs in it. In that way, Greta can plug in her curling iron and I can recharge my electric tooth brush and run my laptop with electricity instead of battery all at the same time. I also enjoy listening to my itunes on my computer while in the stateroom; I plug the laptop in for that as well.

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