Five Most Common Ticketing Errors -- And How to Avoid Them

May 10, 2008

As far as mistakes go, the one Janet Gordon recently made didn't seem like a big deal. She booked an airline ticket from Toronto to London under the name "Jan."

But what happened next could only be summed up in one word -- "chaos" -- says her husband, David.

"It was a major hassle," remembers Gordon, a human resources director for a college in Swansea, England. At almost every turn, the couple had to explain why the name on Jan's ticket didn't match her passport. "The computers wouldn't allow us to check in and issue a boarding card," he says.

In a business where slip-ups are almost as common as surcharges, the wrong-name-on-my-ticket error is a standout. You don't have to look far for ticketing mistakes in an age of do-it-yourself booking. Take it from me: not only do I write the Travel Troubleshooter column, a question-and-answer feature that helps people solve real-world problems, but I'm also an expert on errors.

I'll get to my own shortcomings in a minute. But right now, let's review the five biggest booking blunders -- and how they...

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iNDIAN Entry Requirements & Customs

May 10, 2008

Entry Requirements & Customs

Entry Requirements

For information on how to get a passport, go to the "Fast acts" section. The websites listed there provide downloadable passport applications as well as the current fees for processing passport applications. For an up-to-date country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the "Foreign Entry Requirement" Web page of the U.S. State Department at http://travel.state.gov.

Visa Savvy -- Travelers to India can apply for a tourist visa from their nearest Indian Consulate or High Commission. This is valid for multiple entries for a minimum of 6 months from the date of issue. Given the nature of India's bureaucracy, the rules and fees for application change regularly, so it's best to check with your travel agent or with the relevant authority for the latest visa information. Accurately completed visa application forms must be accompanied by two passport-size photographs (on a light background) and the appropriate processing fee; apply well in advance to avoid unforeseeable delays. You won't be admitted to India unless your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry, and...

Posted at: 01:37 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

21 Packing Rules for Traveling with Kids

May 10, 2008

First rule of traveling with kids: You'll be better off when you face the fact that your own needs and preferences have nothing to do with packing for the family's vacation.

With young children in tow -- in my case, four-year-old twin boys -- packing well takes a little common sense and a lot of creativity.

As a professional travel writer with a husband who has family in India, we globetrot on a frequent basis. My boys took their first international flight -- from New York to Delhi no less -- before their first birthday, and many, many since. They've racked up 15 cruises. And the list goes on.

Through it all, I've learned to pack all of my stuff and my sons' stuff in one suitcase. My husband, on the other hand, fills up a second suitcase with just his belongings. There's a lesson here. Women are pros at squeezing things into little places.

On that note, here's some advice to help you pack more efficiently (and avoid back aches and access baggage charges) on your next family holiday.

Top Toy Tips

Aside from a stash of the usual crayons, paper, books and super heroes, when packing toys for...


Tags: airline meals, cheap fares, india travel, travel to india

Posted at: 01:28 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

What to do on an Air Trip when Something Goes Wrong

May 10, 2008

Disasters happen to the best of us, and it's rare that you can travel today with no incident (whether it's sitting on the tarmac for hours with no food and water or finding that though you arrived at your destination, your bags didn't). Unfortunately for us, Frommer's staffers don't get preferential treatment when we hit the road -- we hit the same bumps you do. Here we offer tales and triumphs of our travels:

Food for Thought

One of the great joys of traveling is discovering new foods, but occasionally dietary restrictions, unsanitary conditions, or simple distaste may deter you. I used to live in a country where I couldn't stomach the food. I lost 10 pounds my first month there, and my diet consisted of yogurt and beer. Where did I go wrong? Here are some tips I've picked up that'll ensure your survival, without having to resort to the local Golden Arches.

  • Plan ahead. I always pack some meal-replacement bars and packs of nuts in case desperation strikes. You might also want to book accommodations that include a kitchen, so you can cook your own food. I also like to check out ex-pat message boards for my destination;...

Tags: airfare, airlines, plans, travel

Posted at: 01:24 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Airline Meals (Great News)

May 10, 2008

These days, airlines rarely feed you anything resembling a meal while you're flying. The lone holdout, God bless 'em, is Continental, which still serves meals on short flights in coach class. While business and first class dining seems to be getting an upgrade -- some airlines have hired fancy celebrity chefs and brought back real silverware -- us poor slobs in coach class are relegated to honey roasted peanuts and quarter-size packages of pretzels. (Some airlines even charge for such paltry snacks!) So what's a hungry traveler to do?

In an ideal world, it helps to plan ahead -- I always travel with a couple of granola bars, as they're small, nonperishable and nearly indestructible -- but that's not going to cut it on a long flight. Plus, unless you're intimately familiar with an airport, you can't always predict your dining options, and you don't always know how long it will take to get through security. Sometimes, a very plain bagel or a thick, greasy slice of pizza is all you've got. But there's a growing interest to offer travelers something that's way better than, well, nothing.

Enter SkyMeals (tel. 866/759-6325; www.skymeals.com). If you fly out of the...


Tags: airline meals, cheap fares, india travel, travel to india

Posted at: 01:20 PM | Permalink

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