Travel: 10 tips for better trips

You need six months on your passport before it expires when traveling to most overseas countries. Make a copy of your passport information page and leave it with someone at home. Give them your itinerary. Be safe on the road. Leave a trail. Be alert. Be mindful of cultural differences and beliefs.

Carry a small plastic spray bottle. A fine mist will feel good on your face and it can become an instant clothes wrinkle remover. Mist lightly and smooth out the wrinkles with your hand. A good tip for home too.

Book cruises way in advance — a year for the best fares. Prices go up every 90 days. Make cruise spa appointments, excursions and specialty restaurant reservations online before the cruise. Late afternoon is a good time for spa visits. There is not a lot going on around the ship from 4-6 p.m.

Call your credit card company and tell them you will be making charges in new cities. Turn off your phone auto message streaming and use wifi. Consider a short term international roaming plan from your carrier. Leave your phone at home and buy a cheap, preloaded phone in the country you are visiting.

Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider trip insurance for adventure travel, volunteer vacations and multi-country tours.

Same-sex couples should travel with durable powers of attorney for health care, giving you the right to make medical decisions for each other. Hospital policies are changing and improving, but having the document in hand will help in the case of a medical emergency where moments matter.

Europe’s most scenic train ride is across southern Switzerland from Chur to Martigny. The most scenic boat ride is from Stockholm to Helsinki. The most underrated sight is Rome’s ancient seaport, Ostia Antica. And the least understood wine is green wine from Portugal’s vinho verde. The top two castles are Germany’s Burg Eltz and Italy’s Reifenstein. For romance, Varenna on Italy’s Lake Como is perfect.