Getting on a Plane? Put These Numbers in Your Phone

PHOTO: When traveling, make sure everyone in your party has the same list of lost/found contact numbers, in case one phone is forgotten at the checkpoint.

Got a minute? Time to update your smartphone. Add these contacts now before you forget, especially if you'll be traveling anytime soon. Or anytime at all.

Be sure the phone numbers you add are local to your location so you can make a call on a pay phone even if you can't connect by cell phone or connections are spotty. I hope you don't have to find out just how useful they can be.

1. Airline Contacts

Obvious, right? But too many of us forget. You'll need it if your flight is delayed or canceled, a very real possibility in summer. It could also come in handy if your bag is missing when it's late at night and there's no one staffing the baggage claim office (don't leave the airport without making some kind of report). If you're an elite miles member, add your special "hotline" number.

Tip: This is a good time to follow your airline on Twitter, so sign up for that as well and consider adding the airline's app.

2. Lost and Found Contacts

Thousands of items are left at TSA security checkpoints every year, but if they're left at a checkpoint, airline and airport lost and found contacts won't do you a bit of good. Fortunately the TSA site has a list of phone numbers for all airport security lost and found offices.

Tip: Make sure everyone in your party has these lost/found contact numbers, in case you're the one who forgets your phone at the checkpoint.

3. Hotel and Car Contacts

Don't assume you can show up to claim your room hours after you were expected; some hotels will give it away. Show up a day late, and some hotels will charge you for the night even though you didn't occupy the room. When flights are delayed or canceled, let everyone on your reservations list know so there are no nasty surprises.

Tip: Add your hotel/car confirmation codes, too.

4. Insurance Contacts

Is your flight insured? Add that company's contact. And if you use your personal auto insurance for the rental car, add that contact as well.

Tip: Be sure to include the policy number with the contact info.

5. Consulate Contacts

If you're traveling abroad, keep contact information for the nearest U.S. consulate office handy. You may need it if you lose your passport or heaven forbid you run into some kind of legal jam. You can find numbers for every country at USEmbassy.gov.

Tip: It's not a bad idea to keep up-to-date with safety precautions, changing political situations and alerts or warning via country-specific information from the U.S. State Department.

6. Miscellaneous Contacts

  • Is Sparky in a kennel? Add that number in case of delays.
  • Is a house-sitter at your place? Be sure they have the number of your plumber in case of who-knows-what and be sure you have their info, too.
  • Is there a particular restaurant your friends are urging you not to miss? Another add.

A Word About Apps

Was it only five years ago that Apple began telling us "There's an app for that"? It's still true, so think of anything your heart might desire on a trip and find the matching app (it's not hard). One I've been hearing about lately is HopStop, which sounds ideal for visitors in unfamiliar cities. It pinpoints your location, where you want to go, and directs you to the closest bus or subway and tells you when they take off (it even gives you walking times and directions if you prefer to hoof it).

Take a moment to add this information. It's not much of a chore but little things can mean the difference between a trip filled with minor frustrations and a totally serene experience.

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