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Travel tips from Los Angeles Times readers

Readers share travel advice on packing, what and what not to take, dealing with kids, choosing seats, staying healthy and connecting with locals abroad.

February 17, 2013

Carry a small cloth bag with you when you fly. While I'm in the waiting area before boarding, I put my headphones, book, snacks, etc., in the bag. I find my seat, put the cloth bag on the seat, put my carry-on bag in the overhead and thus get out of the aisle quickly.

Terry Murphy

Pasadena

Flying: be nice to others and yourself

Be nice to your flight-crew members. They can make or break your flight. I know. I flew for a major air carrier for 40 years both, domestically and internationally.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

Arrive at the airport on time, and have all travel documents organized. Running for a flight is stressful. They don't call it cardiac corridor for nothing.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

If you are on standby for a flight, wear something noticeable (bright red scarf or jacket), check in and politely make sure the gate agent knows you are on standby. When it is time to board, stand near the boarding door to wait. Often a person will be called who is in the bar, restroom, etc., and not respond to their name. If you are near the door and instantly recognizable to the agent, you might get that last-minute seat.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

If you're standing up to get out of your seat, turn around and grab your own headrest, not the headrest in front of you, which unnecessarily disturbs the passenger in front of you. It works, and it's way nicer to your fellow travelers.

Larry Butler

Valley Village

Traveling with children

If you have children under 10, take a goody bag with new toys and puzzles they have never seen. Give half to them on the outbound flight, and save the other half for coming home. It might also be a good idea to take something familiar to eat (peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Kids don't really like airplane food.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

Buy inexpensive little toys, and wrap them like presents. Bring out the first present when they start to get antsy. Take out the next one about an hour later. Before you know it you've flown across the country with well-behaved, engaged kids.

Joe Franklin

Manhattan Beach

Pick up trinkets and baubles from booths at trade shows you attend, and have them at the ready in your carry-on bag. If I'm sitting near kids who are misbehaving, I ask the parents if I can give them to their kids. Peace ensues.

Joe Franklin

Manhattan Beach

Don't tell children not to worry about getting air sick. If you don't mention it to them, it probably won't cross their mind.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

Make sure children of all ages know how to fasten and unfasten their seat belts. In the unlikely occurrence of an accident, you might be unconscious.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

Make a game out of finding your way in a foreign country. I call this one "Get Us to the Train." At the Termini Station in Rome, for example, we would get out of the cab, and I would give the train tickets to my 10- and 11-year-olds and say, "Get us to the train." Chaos would ensue (we were always close by), but it taught the kids valuable lessons. I am confident they could find their way anywhere in the world.

Joe Franklin

Manhattan Beach

Documents

Scan your passport (main and endorsement pages and any visas), your birth certificate, airline tickets or vouchers, hotel and car booking confirmations. Email them to yourself and (likewise, your travel companion's too) for easy access in event of theft or other emergency.

Sheila Maynes

Beverly Hills

Copy your itinerary and contact numbers for each location you're visiting, and put it on top of your clothes inside your luggage. If your luggage misconnects, this could help. I have a luggage tag that is made to put an itinerary inside, which is even easier.

Sheila Maynes

Beverly Hills

Leave copies of your passport with trusted people at home in case yours get stolen or lost.

Vicki Deaton

Ventura

Think about getting another valid picture ID. Before you travel or leave home, apply for a California ID, not a second driver's license. I carry my driver's license in one place, my second ID tucked away in another.

Maria Karras

Pasadena

Communicating

Don't forget to contact your phone carrier and figure out the best plan for communicating when traveling. Sometimes it just means changing your plan temporarily (remember to change it when you get back) for a nominal fee, which can save you big bucks.

Sheila Maynes

Beverly Hills

Make a list of all your important numbers (contacts where you're going, your hotel, etc.), and email it to yourself.

Sheila Maynes

Beverly Hills

Create address labels if you plan to send postcards, and that way you don't have to search for addresses. Plus, you know when you've sent cards to everyone on your list.

Sheila Maynes

Beverly Hills

Information, please

I email all destination tourist offices and hotels, asking for brochures. [Editor's note: See the "foreign tourist office" and "state tourism office" entries at latimes.com/tripplanning.]

Shirley J. Lane

Santa Monica

Warding off trouble

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