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Road Hazards

Travel faux pas take you off the beaten path: Here are several to avoid.

Entrepreneur magazine, June 1999

Missing a flight. Ignoring local customs. Forgetting your passport. Chances are you've made at least one of these mistakes while traveling overseas.

Put an end to the mishaps. Several travel organizations recently compiled a list of common slip-ups, along with ways to prevent them from happening:

1. Not showing up far enough in advance for your flight. An airline can deny you boarding access if you arrive less than 10 minutes before a domestic flight or less than half an hour before an international flight is scheduled to depart. "Arrive at least one hour before your domestic flight, and two hours before for international, and plan for delays such as traffic jams," advises Bridget Kimmel of Philadelphia-based corporate travel management company Rosenbluth International.

2. Not learning local customs. Declining a cup of Turkish coffee in the Middle East or missing a business meeting by a few minutes in Central Europe can offend your host and ruin a potential deal. "Travelers shouldn't tell jokes in business situations," says Jennifer Demmert, a sales and marketing representative for Kroll Information Services. "It might not translate well, and the guest could end up offending [his or her host]."

3. Not getting your papers in order. Leaving your passport at home or failing to obtain the right visa or permit can stop a trip cold. And going home might be difficult if your passport expires while you're on a business trip. "It can cause anything from a slight inconvenience to a major disaster," notes Vincent Vitti, president of VTS Travel, a New York City-based business travel agency. Another common problem: recently married women whose IDs still carry their maiden name.

Contact Sources

Kroll Information Services, (703) 319-8050, http://kins.kroll-ogara.com

Rosenbluth International, fax: (215) 977-4026, bkimmel@rosenbluth.com

VTS Travel, http://www.vtstravel.com

Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland, and a columnist for ABC News Online. Contact him at http://www.elliott.org.

Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.

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