Book Has Tips for Foreign Travel

The popular "Going Abroad: 101 Tips for Mature Travelers," offered free by Grand Circle Travel, has been updated and expanded and now features an all-new section on cruise tips.

The 44-page booklet is remarkably free of hard sell for Grand Circle's diverse travel line, which includes domestic and international escorted tours and cruises plus extended live-abroad vacations. The agency has been in business since 1958.

Some examples from the book:

--On long airline flights, keep feet elevated on a tote or travel bag. This prevents the edge of the seat from cutting off leg circulation--a major cause of swollen feet and ankles.

--Those who suffer from earaches while flying should take an antihistamine or decongestant 30 to 45 minutes before takeoff. Used in tandem with "popping" ears during flight, this will help clear the Eustachian tubes, which can become swollen and blocked during changes in cabin pressure.

--If traveling with a spouse or companion, pack some of the other's clothes in your bag, and vice versa. That way, you'll both have a change of clothes if one bag is lost or delayed.

Much of the information might seem basic to experienced travelers, but the numerous graphs and charts on currency conversion and tipping and banking hours overseas are handy reminders.

The chart on clothing sizes, for example, points out that a women's Size-7 shoe in the United States is a 5 1/2 in England, a 37 on the Continent and a 24 1/2 in Japan. Similar conversions are noted for dresses, suits, coats, sweaters and blouses, plus equivalent items for men.

The guide lists where to get travel information from other sources, tips on getting through U.S. customs, how to find medical help overseas, overcoming jet lag and where to get a dental first-aid kit.

A new section on cruises includes tips on choosing the right size cruise ship and cabin, general types of cruises, the pros and cons for first or second meal sittings and whom to tip and how much.

For a free copy of "Going Abroad: 101 Tips for Mature Travelers," write to Grand Circle Travel, 347 Congress St., Boston, Mass. 02210. Or call (800) 248-3737.

Alaska Airlines is the latest carrier to offer a senior discount coupon book for travelers age 62 and older.

They come in four- and eight-coupon books, cost $472 and $790, respectively, and are good for travel up to one year after the date of purchase.

Any one coupon is good for one-way travel via Alaska Airlines or its sister carrier, Horizon Air, within the continental United States or between any destinations within Alaska served by the carrier.

However, two coupons are required for each one-way trip between Alaska and continental U.S. destinations. When an eight-coupon book is used on two round trips between Anchorage and Los Angeles, the savings is $572, or about 40% less than the current lowest published fare.

Flight reservations must be made 14 days in advance. Only a limited amount of senior coupon-booked seats are set aside per flight, so it pays for seniors to be flexible in making travel plans. Coupons are nontransferable and cannot be used with other discount offerings.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air also offer travelers at least 62 years old the option of a regular 10% discount on most of its published fares.

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