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Spring Break: Travel tips and department updates

By: Bob Browand

Hope you’re having a restful spring break Coogs! Here in Parking and Transportation Services, it’s business as usual until the University-wide spring holiday on Friday, March 18, which means we’re still working as hard as ever on several projects, including the launch of our new online system called FlexPort.

The new site, which is accessible through the myParking Account button on AccessUH, will be the campus community’s hub for purchasing permits, requesting METRO cards, paying citations and more. Learn more about the site here.

It also means we’re still enforcing parking rules campuswide through Thursday, March 17.

But, for those of you lucky enough to travel during your spring break, below are some helpful tips I found online to keep in mind as you get out and about this week.

    • Take turns behind the wheel. Rotating drivers can keep everyone rested with the added bonus of taking turns deciding on the music.
    • Take a map. These days everyone relies on their phones for navigation, but in some places, where service isn’t strong, you can lose that ability. Having a map is always a nice backup plan when on a road trip.
    • Do not take shortcuts. Stay on well-traveled streets while in unfamiliar places.
    • Do not carry large quantities of cash. These days ATM’s are everywhere so you can replenish if you need to. If you do have mostly cash, always keep part of your cash in your hotel safe and the rest of it in two locations on your person. That way if you are mugged or robbed, you won’t lose everything.
    • Always inform others of your travel plans including hotel and contact information while you are away. Give someone back at home a copy of your passport as well just in case yours is lost or stolen. This will help you if you have to get a replacement passport from the US Embassy.
    • Travel light.  Let’s face it: you’re probably going to be spending a large amount of your time at the beach or in the pool which means you’ll be in your bathing suit for most of the day. For the rest of your clothes stick to double duty pieces you can wear more than once and mix and match. You may even be able to get away with only bringing a carry-on and avoid the dreaded baggage claim and luggage costs.
    • Safeguard your valuables.  Use the safe in your hotel room for your valuables like extra cash, passports, travel documents, and cell phones. Change the code to your safe daily and don’t write it down on paper in the hotel room. We all know that sometimes no amount of preparation can prevent catastrophe, so what happens if you forget your passport in the taxi or drop it on the beach? Travel Guard’s ‘round the clock assistance can help you replace your passport and travel documents 24-hours a day.
    • Be aware of your liquids Did you know sunscreen falls into the “liquid” category according to Transportation Security Authority regulations? This means you can only carry 3oz or less in your carry-on, otherwise it needs to go in your checked luggage. If you aren’t checking luggage or need to buy sunscreen at your destination, it’s worth the trip to a local convenience store to buy instead of purchasing at your hotel. Hotel gift shops are already pricy and for items that are must-haves, like sunscreen, the price can more than double.
    • Don’t procrastinate. Since spring break is one of the most popular times to travel don’t delay booking your flights and hotel. Waiting until last minute could wind up costing you hundreds of dollars that you could have used on souvenirs and frosty drinks.
    • Never get in a car with someone you suspect is intoxicated. There is always a safer alternative.

These tips and more can be found at and

Enjoy the rest of your spring break!

published: Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2016