Travel Tips
A Boy and His Bear
.A  young autistic boy lost his
teddy bear while traveling
through DFW Airport.  
Fortunately, Travelers Aid was
able to recover the bear.  The
parents contacted our office and
we were able to reunite the
young boy and his prized
companion.  His parents shared
this photo after his bear was

-Used by permission
Travelers Aid Dallas/Fort Worth

Air travel can be fun and exciting, in addition to being a fast and efficient method for
reaching your destination.  Planning ahead, leaving yourself as much time as  
possible, and being aware of your surroundings and the items you are traveling with,
can help make your trip much more enjoyable.  More than anything else, thorough
advance planning will help insure your trip is successful, and will minimize
problems.  Listed below are tips and suggestions for making your trip successful
and hassle free!
Before You Go...

If traveling internationally - including to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean - be sure you
have a passport.  Confirm new travel document requirements at

Arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure - particularly during peak travel periods
such as holidays and peak hours such as early morning and late afternoon.

Research the latest security guidelines at the TSA website.  A link to that website may be
found on the "Links" page of this website.

Follow the TSA guidelines for packing liquids and gels in your carry on luggage.  Follow
the 3-1-1 rule:  3 ounce or smaller containers of gels or liquids, packed in a 1 quart size
plastic zip top bag, with 1 bag allowed per passenger.

Place all undeveloped film in your carry on bag, because checked bag screening
equipment may damage film.

If traveling with firearm, please check with your airline for appropriate packing and check
in procedures.

Arrange for wheelchair assistance, unescorted minor assistance or any other special
needs assistance with your air carrier before you arrive at the airport.

Confirm via the airline or airline web site your flight itinerary and gates.  Research via the
TSA web site the latest rules regarding prohibited items and packing.

Do not pack expensive jewelry, cameras, medications, small electronics, etc., in your
checked bag.  Carry them on the plane with you.

Pack using large zip top bags – i.e., underwear and socks in a zip top bag, etc., to simplify
a possible hand search of your bag and minimize potential loss of items.

If you lock your bag, use only a TSA approved lock with the red diamond symbol on it.


Give a copy of your itinerary to someone else so if you lose it or forget it, you can call to
check.  Also give it to the people picking you up.

If you are sending an unaccompanied minor on a flight, arrange for unaccompanied
minor handling with the airline and pay the fee.  It is well worth it.

If you have purchased your ticket on line, and have arranged for hotel and/or car rental
and/or shuttle ground transportation etc., and you are supposed to have a voucher for the
car rental hotel or ground transportation, be sure  you print it from the online site BEFORE
you get to the airport.  Otherwise, the ground carrier, car rental company, or hotel may not
honor you reservation and purchase, and you may have to pay again.  Please DO NOT
ASSUME that you can find a computer and printer to use to print your voucher or other
travel documents.

On page 4 of your passport (page 7 of older passports), write your name, address, phone
number and emergency contacts IN PENCIL - update these changes before leaving.

When traveling internationally, make copies of driver’s license, passport, birth certificates
and other travel documents and carry in different parts of your bags as a back up.

Put your name and phone number on as many items as you can – write them on the zip
lock bags of makeup etc., put your name and number on cameras, small electronics, etc.

Be sure you have a number in your cell phone address book titled:  home, mom, dad,  
brother, sister, emergency contact, etc.  If you lose your phone, this is the first logical
place people will look for a number to call.

Travel with extra zip top bags.  They may not be available at your destination outside of the

Confirm luggage size and weight restrictions with your airline BEFORE YOU GET TO THE
AIRPORT.  Some carriers may refuse luggage over 50 pounds.  Do not assume extra
bags are available for purchase or loan.

When making your reservations for flights – pick the earliest flights you can – often the
prices are lower, and if you encounter a problem, the odds of getting on a later flight

Consider traveling on the actual holidays to get better seats and cheaper fares.

When choosing a hotel, choose one either at the airport or in the financial district. On
holidays, they often have more rooms and may have better rates at these times.

At the Airport...

Many airlines will stop accepting passengers for check-in 30 minutes prior to departure
time, while some will stop accepting passengers for check-in 40 minutes prior to
departure.  Be sure you are at the check-in counter in sufficient time to check in.  Confirm
your airline's check-in cutoff policy before arriving at the airport.

At the Security Checkpoint...

Remain aware when going through security screening.  Be sure you get all of your items
out of the bins when you leave the security checkpoint.  Be sure you put your laptop back
SOMETHING BEHIND.  (most common items left – coats, keys, cell phones, and drivers

When you get to the airport, write down where you park (garage, level, row, etc.) and take
that paper with you (don’t leave it in the car).  Make sure you do not leave your lights on
etc., or you will come back to a dead battery.

If you are using a tour package (i.e., cruise package or ski package), confirm AHEAD OF
TIME where you are to check in and board, and what actual carrier you are flying on.  Often
these are charters that are using another airline’s check-in counter and gate.

Be aware of airline code-share arrangements.  Confirm your gates, carrier, etc., ahead of
time.  For example, you may have a ticket on Air France, but it may actually be a flight on
Delta or American through a code-share arrangement.  You may get to the airport looking
for and asking about Air France, when Air France does not fly into your airport, and you are
really looking for a Delta flight.  

If you purchase a ticket through a web travel site, (i.e., Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) keep in
mind your contract is with them – not the carrier.  If you have a problem – miss the flight,
get bumped, flight gets cancelled, etc., the airline in many cases will instruct you to either
contact the web site company for relief, or they may require you to purchase a new ticket
at their prices.  

When claiming your bags, be aware of your bags at all times, as thefts increase during
the summer or during holiday periods.  Also, do not set your purse/laptop down and turn
your back to claim your bag – let your relative keep them or hang on to them.

Remember that if you lose a checked bag – it does not arrive with you – this is an
AIRLINE issue not an airport issue.  You will need to file a claim for a lost or damaged
bag WITH THE AIRLINE, not the airport.

When going through screening, remove your zip top bag from your carry on and place in
the screening bin.

Remove your coats, blazers, jackets etc. when going through screening and place them
in a bin.  Remember to pick them up at the end of the screening process.