Travel » Stacey Bendet Has Gotten Off Flights Because of Tom Ford Scents

Stacey Bendet, the chief executive and and creative director of Alice + Olivia, has come up with a set of rules to keep up with her busy travel schedule. For her, it’s all about traveling with non-wrinkling tops, the freebies on Emirates, Aspen in the summer, and always jetting with hat boxes on hand. And, most importantly, she strongly advises that aspiring jetsetters not be afraid to simply get off a flight if the scent of fragrance in the cabin is simply too strong to take for a couple of hours or more. Then again, you could always just fly private.

Favorite mode of travel?

Best travel shoe?
Alice + Olivia Stace Face sneakers or our platform Gianna shoe, which is the only heel you can literally run through an airport in (I have had to test this out more than once).

Go-to travel outfit:
Bell-bottom jeans and a long jacket or vest. I also always pack multiple non-wrinkling tops in my bag because I never seem to make it off a flight without one of my children spilling something on me.

What’s something you would never wear on a flight?
I am not a sweatpants sort of gal. I would never wear sweatpants in public. I always dress up.

Best or worst person you have ever been seated next to on a plane?
Worst: Anyone wearing strong perfume, especially the Tom Ford ones that sort of scent anything they touch. I get an instant migraine. I have gotten off flights when the scent of perfume is overwhelming.

Best freebie you’ve stolen off a plane?
The little cases that they give you when you travel on Emirates to Dubai are beautiful. It is the only time I have ever taken anything off of an airplane.

Airline with the best or worst food?
I always pack my own meals on flights, I find all microwaved airplane fare inedible.

What’s your summer vacation destination?
We spend July in Malibu—it is one of my favorite places in the United States. I love the farmer’s market on Sunday, ashtanga yoga at Mike D and Tamra Davis’s house, and dinners with friends at our house.

Best beauty products for travel?
I always carry homeoplasmine, which is a great flight hydrator and Jao hand sanitizer. My friend Lola Schnabel always brings me back an amazing facial moisturizer from St. Bart’s made by a friend of hers there and it is a great refresh at the end of a flight. My other beauty secret is a little bit of breast milk… It will cure any skin irritation in hours!

Name five essential pieces of clothing/accessories you can’t travel without:
Alice + Olivia suede hobo bag, pleat skirts (they never wrinkle!), vintage Sudan sunglasses, embroidered bell-bottom jeans, and a long vest or jacket.

What’s a big packing mistake to avoid?
I rather pack an extra suitcase than have everything stuffed to the brim in one. I also like to ship my luggage wherever I go.

Name something that always saves you when you are traveling:
Hat boxes! I have all of my hats shipped in hat boxes so they are not ruined in a suitcase.

Best souvenir you have ever picked up on a trip?
When I went to Istanbul I bought all these amazing bed covers, the most beautiful fabrics you have ever seen.

What’s your favorite hotel in the world?
Villa TreVille in Positano— it is owned by an old friend of mine and it is one of the most unique beautiful places I have ever stayed. You truly feel like you are staying in a friend’s home.

Favorite off-season destination?
I really love Aspen in the summer. Everyone runs there during Christmas and spring break to ski and it is so crowded, but summertime there is really magical and so underrated!

Most luxurious hotel bathroom you’ve ever seen?
The Mandarin in Hong Kong has an amazing giant bathtub, the bathroom is half the size of the room…

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Anthony Bourdain Reveals His Favorite City for Solo Travel

He says a solo trip here is “intimidating” and “thrilling.”

There probably isn’t a lot in the world that can still surprise No Reservations and Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain. He’s been to 75 countries—and counting—and has eaten everything from fermented shark fin to Namibian warthog.

But taking a solo trip to Tokyo? That’s “intimidating” and “thrilling,” says Bourdain.

He told Travel + Leisure that he remembers his first visit to the Japanese capital as “an eye-opening, traumatizing, life-changing experience.”

“Tokyo is very exciting alone,” Bourdain said. “Every time you need to feed yourself at a restaurant you’re taking the plunge, stepping through the curtains into a room filled with locals, menus in Japanese, feeling awkward and freakish—the tallest guy in the room—having no clue what it is that they’re serving.”

We may not all have such imposing frames, but almost any traveler can relate to the electrifying sense of dislocation and uncertainty.

“When you finally get to the point when you can order breakfast at a restaurant? That’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” said Bourdain. “That’s what I love about Tokyo. You’re forced to learn stuff every inch of the way.”

Practically speaking, Japan is one of the best countries for solo adventures. When you elbow up to a sushi counter here, you’ll likely find you’re not the only solitary traveler marveling at the sashimi.

Read the full interview with Anthony Bourdain (including the one hotel he wouldn’t mind calling home and the most surprising destination on the planet).

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.

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Travel consultancy – it’s not brain surgery

I’m often asked what makes a good travel consultant and if there is a future for the profession.

It’s a consultative sales job where the best travel agents are perceived as a trusted advisor. This means relationship-building and a collaborative partnership.

So when a travel agent sends me the following, I’m intrigued: “The hotel told me the mistake I made was using a travel agent who is crap. Their words, not mine. Why did I think that I could cancel the night before I arrived and get refunded? How about because the Best Western told me I could.”

The client, let’s call him Larry, was kind enough to send me the letter from Customer Care at Best Western.

“Dear Larry, Our office received the following response from the management of the Best Western Blue Square Hotel in Amsterdam: I personally already had contact with the guest on the day of his departure. He also had contact with our head office. Since he booked his room by a third party we are unable to refund him due to contract reasons.

A few days after his departure I again had contact with the guest by email. Please advise him to do the same, since we as a hotel will not help him.”

Now let’s start at the beginning. Larry contacted his travel agent in mid-March for a 4 day trip to Amsterdam in May. His request was basic – We are four people and need airfare, with maximum one stop and hotel in Amsterdam.

His travel consultant instinctively knew that with such a broad sweeping email she had to engage him in the decision making process. She threw out several airlines breaking down the prices with all the taxes and informing him where there is a baggage fee. Assiduously, she checked with hotel suppliers and internet sites and gave him lodging options.

Like all good consultants she strived to personalize the relationship. These days most agents try to go upmarket.

Consider the market with only two traveler types: Those with more money than time, and those with more time than money. In many cases, agents can only compete for the former segment’s business. Travelers with more money than time value purchasing a travel agent’s expertise and ability to handle every aspect of the trip. They appreciate the personalized service, with recommendations right from the very first interaction.

Larry had lots of time; he wrote his agent back that he found a flight on KLM for thirty dollars less per person that what she had offered him. But… “We would like to take you up on the Hotel stay at Best Western Blue Square with breakfast.”

A standard quad with breakfast for 4 nights was booked. A credit card was offered by Larry but the agent informed him that there was no rush to charge it and that he could wait until just before cancellation fees went into effect nearer to his departure on May 15th.

Weeks went by and payment wasn’t made until May 9th, six days before his arrival. The agent phoned Larry asking if the hotel was still needed or, if not, that today was the last day to cancel without penalty.

Larry replied in the affirmative and told the agent to go ahead and he gave her his card to charge. “OK. Call me and I will give you the credit card number.” When the agent phoned Larry she went over the cancellation fees, took the credit card details, issued a voucher, charged the card and assumed the deal was done. So the agent thought.

On Friday night, Larry emailed his agent the following: “We wish to cancel the Sunday and Monday part of our reservation (May 15 and May 16.) Please keep the May 17 and May 18 reserved. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please confirm the cancellation.

P.S. We are unreachable until tomorrow evening after 9:00 pm. We tried calling the hotel, but did not get an answer. Please respond by email.”

Give Larry full marks for trying. Realizing he was checking in on Sunday morning he sent an email after trying to call the hotel no doubt cognizant there would be cancellation fees so close to his arrival. He never mentioned if he tried phoning the travel agency; many offices have after hour’s services. His agent of course never saw the email until she returned to her job on Sunday. Larry called her Saturday night and she immediately tried to contact the wholesaler from whom the hotel had been booked.

As most readers can presume, the hotel took no solace on his last minute cancellation and charged him a cancellation fee. His email succinctly expressed his frustration: “While I can understand a cancellation fee, I don’t understand why we would have to pay the full amount if we cancel 24 hours before arrival. As regular clients of yours and the office, I am very disappointed about this and hope that this can/will be rectified.”

I understand his exasperation although sending an email in Israel on a Friday night and expecting an agent, who as he knew is Shabbat observant (as he is himself) to be online, is pushing the boundaries. Still the agent did everything in her power but the head of operations of Go Global, the giant conglomerate through which the hotel had been reserved replied quite clearly. “Unfortunately the hotel is not willing to waive the charges for the first two unused nights.”

So when the client reached out to me for advice it was clear that the only party to reprieve him of his cancellation fee would be the hotel. The fact that he would be in the hotel for last two nights gave him ample opportunity to plead his case. There’s still the mystery as why he chose to stay in another hotel his first two nights and this Best Western the last two nights. He mentioned something about being scared of the location of the property. Researching my column led me to Tripadvisor where I read a handful of positive reviews that seemed to sum up the hotel in a positive light.

However, Larry told me that he had read diametrically opposite reviews and felt the area could be physically threatening which is why he canceled the first two nights; unclear why the last two nights would be safer though. His cajoling the hotel to waive their cancellation policy fell on deaf ears. It was not an insignificant amount. The travel agency made 10% on his booking. On his $500 stay, they made $50.

Larry is adamant that his agent makes his loss right.

“As someone who has been a long-time client, this is a textbook example of how not to meet a client’s needs from the point of reservation through the resolution of conflict. I cannot understand why client retention is not of the utmost importance.”

I’m not here to chastise Larry why it took him nearly two months after the hotel was booked to decide to cancel 2 nights of his stay. I’m going to believe him that somehow someway he got spooked by sleeping there for half of his stay. I do take umbrage that in these days of internet bookings and mobile apps that travel agents take any clients as a given. Everyone in the travel industry is cognizant that you the consumer have a choice.

He filed a claim with his American Express to stop payment, but the paper trail the agent provided stymied that effort. There is no doubt that Larry will never return to his former travel agency; just like when a bag is lost, too often the travel consultant carries the burden.

However whether you book with an agent or online, these are the basics in how to select your hotel: Price: Typically the main determining factor, as the hotel rate is going to have to fit into your budget.

Location: This has a lot to do with why you’re traveling. If it’s for business, for instance, you’re going to want to be located in a convenient area, whereas if you’re planning to sight see, a hotel that’s centrally located is probably your best bet. And if you just need to relax or get away from it all, you might want to look for something a little more remote or located in a scenic area.

Parking: If you’re arriving by car at your hotel, you’re going to need a place to park. Things to consider here are if the hotel offers parking, how much it charges for that parking, and how secure the parking lot is.

On-site facilities: Depending on what you’re looking for in a hotel, you definitely want to check into what’s located on-site. You may want a pool or a restaurant, or you may be looking for other offerings, such as a spa or a golf course.

Complimentary breakfast: This can make a real difference in your budget and should be factored into the overall rate of the hotel. After all, buying breakfast for a family of four over a week’s time can really add up.

Reliability versus local flavor: This is one of the bigger decisions you have to make when choosing a hotel. You may prefer to stay in bigger chain hotels, where you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Or you might be a more adventuresome type, who wants to stay in a family-owned hotel or a bed-and breakfast in order to experience more of the local flavor.

Reviews: Finally, when choosing a hotel, always consult the online reviews. There are websites that are solely dedicated to this purpose, and you can read recent experiences of real customers in order to get a feel for what you can expect.

Following these simple tips will solve most of the problems except the number one complaint of hotel guests – noise. Be it loud occupants or noisy hallways, surveys hold that this is the largest irritant among hotel guests.

Larry’s noise however ultimately led nowhere. The hotel that had the power to refund him refused. The wholesaler informed the travel agent that their hands were tied, while the travel agent patiently tried to explain to Larry that nothing more could be done.

I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed, stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and may therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.

Mark Feldman is the CEO of Ziontours, Jerusalem.
For questions and comments email him at mark.feldman@

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The African Union is introducing a single passport to make travel on the continent easier for Africans

When heads of state from across Africa arrive in Kigali, Rwanda next month for the African Union (AU) Summit, they will be among the first Africans issued the new electronic African Union passport. The passport is meant to make travel on the continent much easier for Africans.

“The scene seems to be set to realize the dream of visa-free travel for African citizens within their own continent by 2020,” the AU said in a statement announcing the launch.

Travel in Africa is difficult for most Africans. They are required to have visas for over half of the countries on the continent. Only 13 African countries (pdf) allow other Africans to enter without a visa or give visas on arrival. In contrast, Americans can travel to 20 African countries without visas or with visas on arrival.

African travelers say they feel the same suspicion at immigration counters within the continent as they do outside of it. Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman and Africa’s wealthiest man, was himself once turned away by South African immigration officials as he struggled to locate his passport. Meanwhile his American staff sailed through border control.

Intra-African trade also costs more than any other region—as much as 50% higher than East Asia, for example. A truck serving supermarkets in southern Africa needs to carry as many as 1,600 documents, including permits and licenses, in order to cross borders, according to Anabel Gonzalez, senior director of a World Bank group on trade and global competitiveness.

The goal of the African Union passport, which Dangote said he is applying for, is to help turn Africa into a “continent with seamless borders” modeled after the European Union’s Schengen Area. Giving the passports to state leaders is a “symbolic and significant” step, according to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission. The goal of the African Union passport is to help turn Africa into a “continent with seamless borders.”  

Officials have been pushing for increased freedom of movement ever since the Organization of African Unity, a precursor to the AU, was established in the 1960s. The idea has gained traction over the last few years, however, due to the continent’s improving economic fortunes and population growth. The AU wants to abolish visa requirements for all African citizens visiting African countries by 2018, and establish a free trade area across the continent by 2017.

Skeptics point out that creating a truly borderless Africa will likely be quite challenging. The continent hosts many refugees from conflict areas, not to mention militant groups like al-Shabaab or Boko Haram. Then there are public health crises like the Ebola outbreak, and questions posed by the nationality of those who have been deemed stateless.

The Seychelles, Rwanda, Mauritius, and most recently Ghana have all loosened travel restrictions on their fellow Africans, allowing visas on arrivals or entry without the permit. But the process remains slow. Currently, only AU heads of state and government, ministers of foreign affairs, and other AU officials can apply for the passport, which will be recognized in all 54 countries belonging to the organization.

“Countries have said that they are going back to look at the practicality of doing their immigration regulation,” says African Union Commission chair Dlamini-Zuma. “But there is a decision and it is up to all of us to hold our countries to that decision so that indeed Africans can move freely amongst other African countries.”

Sign up for the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief — the most important and interesting news from across the continent, in your inbox.

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Senior travel opportunities let residents experience places they wouldn’t otherwise go

Senior travel

DANNY TINDELL / DOTHAN EAGLE A group of seniors pose for a photo in front of a charter bus at the Taylor Senior Center before traveling to Washington, D.C.

Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2016 7:00 am

Senior travel opportunities let residents experience places they wouldn’t otherwise go

Ebony Davis
Business Reporter

Those feelings of sitting on a bus for hours swapping stories with people on the seats near you, and passing by places on the road that you have only seen in pictures, are just some of the reasons why retired resident Bobbie Godwin said she has traveled with groups all over the country.

Godwin was one of several older residents who recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. The trip was coordinated by Debbie Loftis, director of the Taylor Senior Citizens Center in Taylor. Those who attended, many of whom are the Taylor center’s regular participants, had an opportunity to see a week’s worth of sights such as the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the National Archives, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial and several war memorials.

Loftis said the senior center tries to plan at least two trips a year for residents interested in traveling with a group to tour the country. Before she started planning them, Loftis said Godwin and her husband, Thomas, had planned trips for years for seniors and retirees interested in traveling with their peers.

Mrs. Godwin said she and her husband have organized trips since 2001 after their retirement. She said they started by going on trips with a church group before planning similar trips at another church that were open to church members and community members alike.

She said some of the trips included visits to Niagara Falls; Toronto, Canada; Branson, Missouri; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; the Holy Land Experience in Orlando; and the Amish Country in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“We’ve enjoyed getting together and deciding on places we’d like to go,” she said.

“We’d have people to tell us they’d never go anywhere if we didn’t get up these trips. Everybody was so nice to us on these trips, and we consider ourselves a family when we go. We’ve only had to cancel one trip.”

Mrs. Godwin said safety and convenience were good reasons to travel together with groups.

“Our bus driver would drop us off right at the door to some places,” she said.

“There’s not much walking or being afraid. We’d just all stick together.”

Loftis said they plan to visit the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina in December, and that some seniors are already expressing interest in a cruise to Alaska planned for next year.

“The Alaskan trip I’m real excited about because some people have said it’s been their life dream to go there, but that they’ve never been able to get there,” Loftis said.

“It’s also a trip some people wouldn’t go on by themselves, so I think it’s great to be able to offer this opportunity and to plan in enough time for those who want to go to be able to plan and save money.”

Follow Ebony Davis on Twitter at @dothaneaglebiz

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Should You Feel Guilty Snagging an Orlando Travel Deal Now?

It’s really only a matter of time before the “Disney on sale!” emails start clogging your inbox.

In travel, discounts follow disaster.

Whether it’s Paris, Brussels or Orlando — after tragedy strikes a tourist destination, you can bet a fire sale will follow.

So it’s really only a matter of time before the “Disney on sale!” emails start clogging your inbox. After a shocking murder, a terrorist shooting, and a deadly alligator attack at a theme park, how could they not?

Question is, should you take advantage of the lower prices and book? Or should you hold off on buying to avoid taking advantage of the Magic City’s misfortunes? The price-cutting hasn’t happened yet, but already, experts and would-be visitors are asking these difficult questions. For a destination like Orlando, the answer may mean the difference between a difficult year and a dreadful one.

I have mixed feelings about this issue because in addition to covering the travel business as a consumer advocate, I live in Orlando. My neighbors work for Disney, Universal, for the hotels and resorts and restaurants in the city. This is their livelihood — and, to a certain extent, mine.

To put this into some perspective, Orlando is America’s number one tourism destination, welcoming 66 million visitors in 2015, a healthy 5.5% increase from the previous year. It is a massive mega-industry unto itself that has spent decades and billions of dollars cultivating an image as the happiest place on earth. Terrorists shootings and alligator attacks don’t feed that narrative.

Abraham Pizam, a professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida and a man widely regarded as the godfather of Orlando tourism, says the area has already experienced “a wave” of new bookings in the wake of the triple tragedy.

Cynics like me might interpret that as a sign that people are already pouncing on a theme park vacation in anticipation of aggressive discounting on tickets, meals and other extras. But Pizam sees it differently.

“It could be explained as a sign of solidarity with Orlando,” he told me. “Visitors have a desire to show their support and that is one way of doing this. Of course, things might change in the future and discounts may be a way to counteract the effects of the mass shooting incident on the decline in visitation.”

It may be too early to predict how aggressive the discounts will be. It takes time to measure the psychology of the buyer and to gauge demand for hotel rooms, tickets and rental cars. It would be unfair, for example, to look ahead to September’s lower bookings and discounts, with city-wide initiatives like Magical Dining Month, and draw a line to the mass shootings. September, after all, is always slow. But if business remains soft through Thanksgiving, Christmas and beyond, then maybe you can thank the disasters for the money you’ll save.

So: buy or not?

“This case is not so different from other afflicted destinations,” says Jafar Jafari, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and an expert on disaster tourism. “Should those who go to Egypt feel guilty because of discounted prices? And how about those who opt for Turkey now?”

Good question. Is waiting for a discount ethical? I asked Anne Klaeysen of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, if people should hold off on booking a theme park vacation.

“I don’t see anything unethical about it,” she says. “It’s not your choice to have offered the discount. I don’t think a family who wants to go to Disney, for example, and couldn’t afford to go otherwise, is taking advantage of Disney.”

Klaeysen and other tourism experts are quick to point out that if the roles were reversed — if Orlando were suddenly the hottest destination on the planet, figuratively speaking — then the hotels, resorts and restaurants wouldn’t flinch at jacking up their prices.

“That’s capitalism,” says Klaeysen.

Still, travelers I speak with who are considering an Orlando vacation in the wake of the city’s disasters, tell me they feel pangs of guilt. It’s as if they’re kicking someone who’s already down — and they say that the fact that the travel industry would do it to them is a small consolation. American consumers really are terrific, aren’t they?

For them, Klaeysen offers this advice: If you book a big discount, take five minutes and go to a site like or the Brady Campaign, both of which advocate for reasonable gun control measures.

“Take some kind of action with regard to gun restrictions or gun control,” she says. “That is the ethical thing to do.”

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    Hotels are overrated

    HOW honest are reviews on travel websites? By this I do not mean: is the person writing the review who he says he is, and not the owner of the hotel boosting its rating or a competitor doing it down? (We have covered that problem before.) I mean, rather, to what extent are reviewers’ ratings a reflection of their actual experience?

    Last week, I received an e-mail from a small, family-run hotel asking—very politely, but with notable sadness—why I had marked it so poorly on In fact, having rated the various categories that the website demands, the hotel’s score had come out as nine out of 10. The service was excellent, and certainly far beyond what one might reasonably expect for the meagre cost of staying there. But I had docked a point because the room didn’t contain a comfy chair and the Wi-Fi was patchy.

    The hotel had 16 previous spotless reviews to its name. It obviously took great pride in that perfection. I had ruined it. And because of this I had thought hard before submitting my honest review, complimentary though it was. Which made me wonder, given how important such ratings are to small, independent establishments, how many reviewers before me had upped their rating a notch or two so as not to feel the guilt of being the first to tarnish a stellar reputation?

    In fact many of us feel compelled to inflate the marks we leave online. Over half of the reviews for electrical products on Amazon, for example, are five-star. (I couldn’t find comparable figures for travel sites, though my guess is that it is similar: according to Toonz, three-quarters of the reviews on TripAdvisor are either four- or five-star.) That top mark should be reserved for something exceptional. And by definition, that does not apply to over half of people’s experiences. But in reality, for most reviewers the top mark means nothing more than “good”; four is akin to “nothing terrible happened to me”.

    Hence, good ratings are nearly always one mark too high; bad ones one too low. Indeed, as both the Amazon and TripAdvisor research shows, very few people leave a three-star review, which would be the median score in an honest world. (Unless you apply the logic of Michael Gove, a former British education secretary, who once said that he would ensure that all schools performed above the national average.)

    That is not a problem as long as everyone knows the rules of the game. And, as we have written before, the fact that we can all now review the places we stay in is probably the single most important reason why service levels have risen. Checking out online what others think of a hotel is now so common that there is no place for the substandard places to hide. But there remains one problem: now that we are all so overly generous, there is no way to distinguish the truly mindblowing establishments from the merely pretty good. It would help us all if reviewers were more truthful.

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    What should vacationers pack in their travel medical kit?

    It’s a scary world of diseases out there, even for a vacationer.

    And that’s why it’s a good idea to pack a travel medical kit.

    What you take depends on where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and how long you’ll be staying. It will include your personal medications, like cholesterol-lowering drugs or inhalers for asthma and first-aid basics like bandages, aspirin and antibiotic ointments. You’ll definitely need more supplies if you’re headed for a place with mosquito-borne diseases like Zika — whether it’s a beach in a tropical paradise, a South American jungle or a destination in India or Africa.

    For suggestions, we talked to three travel medicine experts about what travelers should bring and also what they should do or avoid doing to stay healthy.

    Our advisers are Dr. Lin Chen, director of the Travel Medical Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Boston; Dr. Davidson Hamer, director of the Travel Clinic at Boston University, and Dr. George Rutherford, head of the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco. They know from their own — and their patients’– experiences how critical a kit can be.

    Let’s start with the tourist who wants to kick back and relax at a posh beach resort — say, a Caribbean Island or Mexican resort town.

    You’ll likely eat and sleep in air-conditioned rooms. You might enjoy a screened patio. But eventually, you’ll head outside and need a mosquito repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mosquito sprays containing DEET, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. A well-stocked hotel gift shop — in tourist magnets like Cancun or Cabo San Lucas — knows what its guests need. “If you’re going to be visiting places that cater to tourists, they’re going to carry products with DEET,” says Chen.

    But even if you think you’ve covered every bare inch of yourself with repellent, a wily mosquito can find that one square inch you missed. Say you’re at a resort in in the Solomon Islands in Oceania, a place with a high risk of malaria. The anopheles mosquitoes that carry malaria bite at dusk and dark, and they like to gather under trees to breed and hide out in tree holes. “If you’re standing under a tree at dusk, wearing a bikini, with a drink in your hand and think you’re not going to get bitten by a mosquito, you’re delusional,” says Rutherford. Cover your arms and legs with clothing or repellent, he says. Better yet, don’t stand under trees at dusk!

    In these tropical spots, the sun is another potential hazard. Pack or purchase sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays and is rated at least SPF15. And the CDC recommends putting sunscreen on first, because it is designed to be absorbed into the skin. After it dries, use the repellent, designed to stay on top of the skin.

    If you’re staying outside tourist areas but in a place with plenty of retail outlets, can you count on buying supplies like sunscreen and mosquito repellent?

    Probably — but maybe not. A health scare like the Zika virus can send locals and visitors alike clamoring for repellents. “I talked with a group of students doing research in the Dominican Republic,” says Chen. “They brought their own DEET but used it all up. When they went to buy more, the shelves were all empty.” Some of the students got mosquito bites and came down with chikungunya, she says. “If it’s possible, bring your own products — and enough to last,” she says. Products containing 25 percent DEET or higher will protect for 10 to 12 hours, though they might need to be refreshed if people sweat, or swim.

    What if you’re really roughing it, in the bush of Africa or the jungles of Latin America or rural villages in Asia?

    Repellents alone aren’t enough. “A key thing is whether an area has malaria,” says Hamer. “If the risk is moderate to high, an anti-malarial is essential.” The CDC has a list of areas in the world where malaria is a risk to travelers. You need to start the prescription before you go, take it during your trip and continue for a prescribed time after returning home.

    If there’s a risk of malaria, and you don’t know what your accommodations will be, bring an insecticide-treated bed net. “Use it in rustic settings or in a private home that may not have good screens,” says Chen. The CDC says the nets, which come in a variety of sizes, should reach the ground. Depending on the ceiling height from which a net hangs, if it doesn’t reach the ground, tuck the bottom ends under the mattress so mosquitoes can’t get in. Look for a net that has long-lasting insecticide treatment, developed to repel mosquitoes for up to three years. The World Health Organization has given full or interim approval to 15 such bed nets. They’re available in a variety of sizes, from small to extra large, and generally cost less than $30.

    If you’re hiking in Costa Rica, or the forests of Peru, sand flies can get you, and they carry leishmaniasis, a disease that causes sores or damage to internal organs.

    DEET is only moderately effective against sand flies, Chen says, so cover exposed skin with long sleeves and long pants. Since sand flies generally bite between twilight and dawn, try to stay inside when the sun is down. Sand flies are found in Central and South America as well as parts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

    And here’s a tip if you find yourself outdoors with a lot of bugs around. Before you go, spray a fairly large scarf with Permethrin, a repellent for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets. “It’s safe to use, even on fine fabrics like silk,” says Chen. “If you get to a particularly buggy place, take it out and wrap it around any exposed area of your body.” The treated scarf should remain protective through four to six washings.

    We hate to pry, but are you a going on a sex adventure?

    “That’s why [travel medicine experts] have to ask what they’ll be doing on their trip,” says Rutherford. A Bangkok sex tourist would benefit from a Hepatitis B vaccine about a month before traveling, and condoms should be in the medical travel kit. And because Zika has been found to spread sexually from an infected male to his partner, “sexual exposures in Zika lands is a bad idea,” he says.

    You want to experience the culture and cuisine of the region you’re visiting, but it could land you in trouble. Be prepared for gastrointestinal distress or allergic reactions.

    Drink bottled water — that’s the resounding chorus of advice. But check out that bottle. “I stayed at a hotel in India, and the bottled water looked kind of dirty,” says Hamer. “I asked where it came from, and they said, ‘We fill it from the tap.’ I’ve probably traveled to more than 80 countries, and there’s almost no place where I haven’t been able to find bottled water. But make sure the seal is intact.”

    Eat peeled fruit, and beware of fresh salads, beautiful garnishes or salsas because they might have been washed in contaminated water. Eat foods that are steaming hot, and “take a towel and bottled water, and rinse off utensils before using them,” says Hamer. That way, you’ll know that their last rinse and wipe has been with uncontaminated water.

    If curiosity or good manners made you eat or drink something your stomach regrets, be prepared. “Make sure you have Pepto Bismol or Imodium for an upset stomach,” says Chen. “We don’t recommend using it lightly, but for severe traveler’s diarrhea, you might bring a prescription antibiotic.” With all the fears about overusing antibiotics, Hamer suggests taking them as last resort. Drinking a lot of water, along with Imodium, should be all it takes if the problem is limited to one or two loose stools a day, he says. “But if you’re having many loose bowel movements a day, with a fever or blood in the stool, take an antibiotic,” he says.

    And bring an antihistamine, even if you don’t think you have allergies. “Sometimes people run into something they didn’t know they were allergic to,” says Chen.

    Each country presents its own health challenges. How can you be prepared for your destination?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has country-specific recommendations for immunizations as well as other medical advice for travelers. “When travelers call [the Travel Medical Center at Mt. Auburn in Boston], we tell them that’s a very good resource to start with,” says Chen. The International Society of Travel Medicine has a to find specialized practitioners who will make individual recommendations before you go, during your trip via phone or email, and after you come home.

    Any final words of wisdom for people off on adventures to far-flung corners?

    Air pollution is severe in places like India and China. “If you have lung disease, bring an inhaler, even if you haven’t had to use it for years,” says Chen. “Pollution can trigger a flare. It’s not a bad idea to wear a mask. And if you want to exercise, do it indoors.”

    Will you be traveling on the water? You might pack some seasickness pills, says Hamer. Or climbing mountains? Ask your physician to recommend a drug to combat altitude sickness.

    And oh yes, says Rutherford. Inadequate roads, old jalopies and risk-taking cab drivers can be as dangerous as disease-carrying mosquitoes. “Buckle your seat belt,” he says. “And if your cab doesn’t have seat belts, get out.”

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


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    Dressing down for safety as you travel

    Sue Groenewegen is dressing conservatively. Dan Church plans to blend in. And Robin Smith is wearing “less bling.”

    It was bound to happen, with all the recent incidents of terrorism and dire State Department warnings. The last thing anyone wants to do this summer, it seems, is to look too American when traveling. But how do you avoid it?

    As it turns out, clothing designers have anticipated this trend and are offering stylish summer threads that don’t stand out. The options go beyond low-key shirts, pants and dresses in dark or muted colors; some of the attire is designed with security in mind.

    That’s important to people such as Groenewegen, an interior designer from Woodbridge, Calif. Before she left for a recent trip to Buenos Aires, her tour leader warned her to “dress conservatively,” and she complied, choosing darker colors and more-subdued styles. She didn’t pack any of her real jewelry (“costume jewelry only,” she says) to minimize losses.

    Smith has gone a step further. “I am wearing less bling,” says the manager for a school district in Saxton, Pa. Part of the reason is to draw less attention to herself, but another part is to speed up the travel process. “I recently flew to Tampa, and because my sweatshirt had sequinlike embellishments, I was pulled by security for an extra check,” she recalls. “I had to go through the pat-down because of all the metal on my shirt. Lesson learned. Wear plain clothing with nothing shiny or flashy on it.”

    Church, a retired newspaper editor, is more aware than ever of his appearance when he travels, “particularly when I see fellow tourists clad head to foot from chain outlets in U.S. malls,” he says.

    Togs for travelers

    So what to wear?

    “With all that is going on in our world today, travelers have many concerns,” says Brian Thompson, general manager for the Seattle-based travel apparel company ExOfficio. “Their clothes shouldn’t be one of them.”

    ExOfficio offers several new products that are finding favor with the down-dressing crowd this summer. They include a women’s Air Space shirt ($70), which comes in black, has a hidden security pocket and an understated style; and a men’s Corsico shirt ($75), also lightweight, with sun protection and a security pocket.

    Products like the new Cubed Travel Jacket ($380), developed by New York apparel manufacturer Clothing Arts, are also resonating with security-conscious travelers. The Cubed jacket offers copious pockets to protect your devices and valuables from thieves. “The protection, however, would be pointless if you looked like a tourist or were dressed in attention-grabbing colors,” says Adam Rapp, Clothing Arts founder.

    But does fitting in mean giving up your sense of style?

    No, says Sarah Thies, a manager for adventure outfitter Orvis in Sunderland, Vt. “Dressing conservatively does not mean that you have to forgo fashion,” she says. For example, Orvis has several lines that are both stylish but not too in-your-face, including its women’s guide pants ($89), which come in neutral colors and are lightweight for warmer temperatures, and its stretch-linen utility jacket ($159), which offers full cover without too much bulk.

    “One of the standard things I tell women to travel with, from an accessory standpoint, is a pareo or large scarf,” says Lori Hirons, who founded the New York apparel company Island Contessa. “It has multiple uses, including keeping you warm on a frigid plane, dressing up a more casual travel outfit and serving as a head scarf in Muslim countries where you don’t want to stand out so much as a Westerner, out of respect.” (Island Contessa sells scarves that come in midnight blue, with an understated design, for $40.)

    In addition to headgear, Maria Pinto recommends packing clothes that are functional but discreet. Pinto, who founded and designs the Chicago-based label M2057, advises wearing a long coat paired with a simple shift dress or a pair of comfortable pants.

    Safety isn’t the only reason to try to fit in. “I also want my focus to be on absorbing the place and the people,” she says. “If you’re dressed to draw attention to yourself, you might be missing what you’ve come to see.”

    What not to wear

    All of which brings us to the things you should not wear this summer. If you’re traveling overseas, avoid T-shirts and sweatshirts, particularly those with college or high-school names. Often, they identify you as an American — and a target. Baseball caps are out, too, unless — maybe — you’re Michael Moore.

    “No fake nails. No golf visors. No khakis,” says Louise Lague, editor of the “Expat Almanac,” a guide for international travelers. “No fleece. Labels like Columbia and North Face are a dead giveaway.”

    Those rules will serve you well even when you’re just motoring across the country. Draw as little attention to yourself as possible. And if you happen to pack your favorite neon green fleece, anyway?

    “You can always say you are Canadian,” Lague jokes. “Nobody knows the difference.”

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