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Planning on Doing Some International Travel Over the Holidays?

Susan Dunn, MA -- [shudder] No really, a little EQ -- managing the attitude, and using the ole noggin' can make it almost pleasant!

1. Pack your patience and your Emotional Intelligence. Turn down the emoting, turn up the forethought. Example: research your destination on the Internet prior for Web sites where individuals (not paid interests) can tell you what you can "anticipate".

2. Pre-arrange everything you possibly can -- air, hotel, car, restaurant, attractions, plays.

3. Make copies of your passport, traveler's checks, credit cards, itinerary, and airline tickets. Carry one copy with you and leave one copy with your designated emergency-contact.

4. Carry with you the address and phone number of your country's embassy (consulate) for each country you'll visit.

5. Take any regular medication in your hand luggage and be sure you have more than enough for your trip. (Remember needles and scissors can't be in hand luggage.)

6. Check the U.S. State Dept. advisories,, before your go for immunizations, hazards, and other pertinent information; the Overseas Security Advisory Council,, and the Transportation Security Administration site,

7. You'll know you'll be waiting, so use your EQ and figure out how to make it A Good Thing.

-- Use e-ticket and online check-in when you can.

-- Bring along that book you've been meaning to read

-- Bring a pre-paid phone call and catch up with buddies

-- Bring a neck pillow and plan to catch up on your rest

-- Dress appropriately for sitting or lying around an airport for a long time -- loose clothing that can be abused

8. Use your neocortex when you pack, not your brain-stem. (You KNOW the rules, abide by them! Exorcize from the brain-stem another time, another place.)

-- Pack carry-ons lightly so they can be checked more easily

-- Check the checked baggage allowance and be sure your name and contact details are on the outside of each bag

-- Avoid packing anything that looks like a weapon (guide -- anything you wouldn't give an 18 month-old free access to: nail file, letter opener, knitting needle, and the more obvious hand grenades)

-- When traveling to and from North America, TSA recommends not locking checked baggage

-- Check here,, for common items which become hazardous in flight due to temperature changes and pressure, and don't pack them.

9. Be sure you have a valid passport and any required Visas and be prepared to show them at any point along the way.

10. Know the rules of security checkpoints and abide by them.

-- Only ticketed passengers can proceed beyond it

-- All electronic items will be screened -- laptops and cells. Remove laptop from travel case.

-- Keep ticket and boarding pass and ID within easy reach -- like on neck chain

-- Wear shoes easy to remove and as little jewelry as possible.

P.S. Here's a tip from a seasoned traveler. You KNOW you're going to be buying things, and possibly taking home gifts, so pack some clothes that are ready for Goodwill and that you can deposit in another country's "Goodwill" to leave space in your bags for the return trip.

Susan Dunn, M.A., Psychology, is an Emotional Intelligence Coach. Visit her site at for coaching, Internet courses, and ebooks on emotional intelligence for career, relationships, transitions, resilience, personal, and professional development. To receive a free ezine, contact her at:

© 2006 Susan Dunn, M.A.

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