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Airline Tips for Large Passengers (taken from NAAFA) - Book Carefully, that is, avoid rush hour air time. Take advantage of "red eye specials", when flights are less likely to be full.  If at all possible, try to have the airline put you in a seat next to an empty seat.  Ask for your seat belt extender as you board the plane (you don't want the attendant handing it to you after the safety demonstration), check for the best seats for your size (most seats measure 17 inches across), try to book an aisle or window and if at all possible book a seat in the exit row.  Ask your neighbor if they mind keeping the armrest up, this will give both of you more breathing room.  Use the restroom in the airport; even mid-size folks have trouble with airplane water closets.  Ask to pre-board; there is no shame in making boarding easier for everyone.  These aisles are tiny so be prepared; try to book a seat as close to the front as possible.  NAAFA says "do the bump", that is, if the airline is asking for passengers to give up their seat and you can delay your flight, volunteer.  You willl normally only be delayed by a few hours and usually put on a plane with a lot more empty seats; you might even be put in first class.  And speaking of first class, if your airline offers same day upgrade, go for it.  The cost is usually minimal and the benefit....maximal?  No, but definately worth it. If you need help getting to your gate, ask for special services.  Finally, if you have purchased a second seat for comfort, be sure to let the flight attendant know as you board the plane.  This will avoid embarassment, as an ignorant flight attendant may try to fill your second seat.

Tips for Women Traveling Alone (from the American Society of Travel Agents) - Women should learn as much about their destination as possible, especially when traveling to a foreign county.  Women can be directly impacted by an area's religious beliefs and could find themselves having to adapt their dress and demeanor to comply with these customs.  Also, what is regarded as sexual harrassment in one country is part of the social fabric of another, so women should avoid certain clothing to prevent unwanted attention.  When it comes to lodging, smaller hotels on busy, well-lit streets are the best bets.  Staff should be available to escort female guests to their rooms should they come home late at night.  The safest rooms are on the higher floors, near the elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells, and any renovation work.  Women should never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out her name and room number.  Hotel doors should have a peephole and deadlock.  Store valuables in the safe at the front desk and hide expensive clothing under other garments.  The hotel should be contacted if anything is stolen.  Make 2 copies of important documents.  One set for the trip and one set for friends or family to keep at home.  Only pack one credit card and leave all unnecessary cards at home.  Also, be sure to pack the phone number of one embassy for each country visited.  Pack light, avoid expensive looking luggage and clothing, lock all suitcases (with TSA approved locks) and consider shrink-wrapping the suitcases that contain a lot of gifts or pricey items.  Fanny packs or purses should contain any needed medications along with a copy of the prescription.  Women should explore transportation options available at their destination ahead of time.  Travel agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary arrangements.  Should you decide to rent a car, examine road maps, write out directions in advance and make sure you have a cell phone.  If you are going to a foreign country, carry a foreign language dictionary.  Search from home and at your destintion for women's groups and keep an eye open for female tour guides. 

My personal recommendation would be to think, think and think again.  Anything that seems a bit off, probably is not a good choice.  If you have any hesitation about a hotel, a driver, a staff member, speak up or find another hotel.  USE A TRAVEL AGENT.  It doesn't cost you a penny and they/we usually know the ins and outs of a destination.  Know where you are going, what you want to do, and how you can do it safely.  All-inclusive hotels and resorts are a great choice as are cruise ships.  At a gated hotel, you are pretty free to do your thing and feel comfortable doing it.  There are guards around the grounds watching out for you.  On a cruise ship, honestly, I believe you just need to use the caution you would use anywhere else.  I think you are as safe there as walking your streets at home.


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