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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taking vacation? These tips may help create a fun, stress-free time


Special to The Eagle

Summer is upon us and for many people that means taking a vacation.

Whether you're considering travel by plane, train, bus or car, the Better Business Bureau wants to advise vacationers to plan ahead to ensure a safe, fun-filled and stress-free vacation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the BBB advise consumers to be proactive when it comes to planning a trip by air. According to the Department of Transportation's 2011 statistics, 25.5 percent of flights were delayed.

The BBB and the DOT recommend these tips for travelers when booking and securing flights:

The early bird gets the flight. A flight that is booked early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight. If an early flight does get canceled, you may have more rerouting options.

Know your rights as a consumer. If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their next flight with space available to your destination, at no additional charge. If the cancellation involves a significant delay, find out whether another carrier has seats open and then ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that new carrier.

Unfortunately, compensation is required by law only when you are bumped from a flight that is oversold. Airlines almost always refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.

Secure your payment. Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under federal credit regulations.

For many, summer vacation means a road trip. According to a survey conducted by the DOT, more than 240 million vehicles travel U.S. roadways each summer.

The BBB offers these tips to make sure you are ready to hit the road:

Make sure your vehicle is ready to travel. Inspect your vehicle's fluids, tires, belts, wipers and lights. Make sure the spare tire is properly inflated.

Prepare a roadside emergency kit. Keep these essentials in your vehicle at all times: cell phone charger; sun screen; flashlight and batteries; blankets; matches or lighter; snacks and bottled water; first aid kit; jumper cables; signal flares; pocket knife; road atlas; quart of oil; hand cleaner and paper towels.

Create a list of emergency contacts you may need in case you are involved in an accident or need medical assistance, and take this list with you. Also, include a list of all medications and dosages for an emergency.

Leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a relative, friend or neighbor.

Take a copy of your vital information with you: passport, driver's license and health insurance cards. If your wallet or purse is stolen, you can refer to these copies when you make a police report.

Happening now

Recent storms in the area have caused property damage for many. The BBB recommends consumers check out a business before doing signing contracts. Contact us at 800-856-2417 or www.kansasplains.bbb.org for a list of accredited roofers and contractors.

Roberta Namee and Mary Ann Redeker-Perez work for the Better Business Bureau in Wichita. If you have questions or concerns about a company, contact the bureau at 800-856-2417 or www.kansasplains.bbb.org.

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