Posted by: MAD Change | November 9, 2009

How Safe Is Your Luggage?

Earlier this week, a couple from Phoenix, AZ were arrested for stealing over 1,000 pieces of luggage.  It seems as though the couple had been taking bags off the baggage carousel for over a period of a year or more.  My first reaction to this breaking news this week was “it’s about time”.  This type of crime wasn’t really that hard to believe considering that most carousel areas in airports have very little security.  I’ve often wondered,  while waiting for my own baggage to appear on the conveyor belt, what prevents someone from pulling luggage off that doesn’t  belong to them? In fact, I think I’ve accidently pulled luggage that I thought was mine. Fortunately, we were aware of this before leaving the airport.  But if it’s happened to me, I’m sure it’s happened to you so I thought I’d post some simple tips to help avoid luggage mishaps:

  1. Go directly to the airline’s customer care desk if your luggage doesn’t come off the carousel- It’s a horrible feeling when there’s only a few pieces of orphan luggage that have been going in circles around the conveyor and yours is not one of them. 9 times out of 10, your luggage  has simply missed the connection. Now a days, most carriers will have your bags delivered within 24 hours of arrival.
  2. Try to be down to the carousel prior to luggage coming off  – You should always try to make it to your assigned carousel before baggage handlers start unloading luggage from the plane. This way, you’ll eliminate the fear of missing your baggage.
  3. Claim a good spot to stand around the carousel –  Oftentimes, especially when traveling with a group, we choose someone to be luggage “pullers”. You know how crowded it can be around the carousel.  Have someone be the “pullers” while the other stands out of the way keeping all pieces together.
  4. You want to make sure your luggage only circles around once –   Most  carousels move clockwise, so find yourself a place to stand at say the “1 o’clock”  position.  In doing so,  you’ll reduce the chances of your luggage circling more than once.  The more times your bag goes around, the better the chances someone can pull your luggage. Shady people, such as the couple arrested this week,  scope out those pieces that are making several trips around the conveyor because they think the owners are not around.
  5. Mark your luggage clearly – Get yourself one of those luggage markers that makes your black roller noticeably different from everyone elses black roller. You’ve heard of the “red ribbon” trick, where you tie a red ribbon around your handle, but so has everyone else. Visit your local travel store to find the latest in luggage identity gadgets. 
  6. Make sure your bags  all have a luggage tag – We think it’s helpful to have some specially made  “return address” labels,  you know, like the kind you would use for your mail. Print up a few of those to put in with your travel documents then you can quickly and easily stick the labels on the carrier provided luggage tags. This will not only save you time, but they are also easier to read than handwriting.  And remember, when filling out your tags, never put your home address or personal  information on your luggage tags – we recommend using your place of business or some other public or neutral location that you trust.

While following these tips may not have prevented you from being a victim in Phoenix, being more conscious will certainly decrease your chances.  And since you are now paying for your bags to travel, make sure they have a safe trip!

We’d love to hear your tips for making your luggage safe! Please feel free to share with us!

Posted by: MAD Change | October 26, 2009

Attention All Travelers!!!

You may or may not know, but effective June 1, 2009, all Americans will be required to carry a valid U.S. passport for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The new rule applies to all travelers, whether you are flying over the border, driving to Canada or Mexico, or taking a cruise that stops in another country. Details about the rules can be found at the State Department’s website at travel.state.gov, then click on the Passports tab. For more travel information, go to www.sailaweigh.com.

Posted by: MAD Change | September 30, 2009

Finding Your “Happy Place”

I believe that everyone should have a “happy place”. You know, that place you can take yourself back to when you’re stressed, overwhelmed, feeling lonely or just day dreaming. I want to share with you my favorite happy place: a Moorings charter sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands.Sample BVI intinerary

If you’ve never been to BVI, you must put it on your list of “must travels”.  It is a host of islands including Tortolla, Jost Van Dyke, home of Foxy’s famous watering hole, Virgin Gorda where you’ll find the Baths (boulder-formed caves), and archipelago, just to name a few. Whether inhibited or barren (it has both), the islands all have picture-perfect beaches, crystal clear waters, and a completely relaxing mentality. Most resorts and beachfront restaurants are pleasantly  “upscale casual”.

In so many ways, this vacation is like camping on the water. The only essential is a swim suit (and not necessarily an essential) and good friends or family to share your trip with. Our chartered 40 ft yacht had four private staterooms and a fully equipped galley where we could prepare snacks and meals onboard. We also hired a local captain named “Jelly Belly” to navigate us through our island hopping adventures and our ultimate quest for the perfect conch fritter.  Time seemed to stand still. We awoke with every sunrise at 6:30am and anchored each night by sunset at a different mooring or island. We couldn’t help but feel a new sense of life and energy. By about 10:00am, you would have thought it should have been mid afternoon because by then we would have already hit 3 different islands, a quick snorkel adventure off the back of the boat and an hour or so of fishing. It provided absolute freedom with no set schedule; a mentality that I often yearn for while juggling my everyday roles as wife, mother of 3, and professional.

Moorings is the world’s premier charter sailing company and has been in business for over 40 years. They sail to several destinations, but the Tortolla trip is perfect for those looking for a total casual and relaxing experience. I guarantee you will experience only spontaneous possibilities for fun, friends and great island food.  It was simply paradise and I can’t wait to return someday. I’d love to know where your happy place is. Please feel free to post your experience.

Posted by: MAD Change | September 25, 2009

I’m so excited to share this with our corporate travelers.  Just when you think that all airlines are looking out for themselves and not the traveler, there’s a breakthrough like this.  British Airways is offering  to help 100 small buisnesses stay connected. If you are a US company with a valied federal ID with less than 500 employees, you are eligible.

100 Companies will win…

  • British Airways airfare for 10 round trip Club World business class flights
  • 5 free British Airways World Cargo freight shipments up  to 500 kilos to worldwide destinations
  • $1000 toward accommodations at Courtyard by Marriott
  • 5 Regus Buisnessworld Gold Cards providing access to business lounges worldwide
  • Canon PIXMA MX860 Wireless Office All-In-One Printer

Click hereto enter! Contest ends September 30, 2009. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow your business.

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