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Top 10 tips for travelers this holiday season

December 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The busy holiday travel season will soon be getting under way and if you plan on traveling this year, experts have tips they want to share with you to make your airport experience a bit easier. In an Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA, viewers were asked about their travel plans for the holidays. The results showed that 58 percent of people are staying home while 24 percent are traveling but less than 50 miles. The remaining 15 percent said they are traveling more than 50 miles.

It's already getting busy at LAX and the peak travel period is still more than a week away. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Top Ten Travel Tips deal mostly with international travel. The goal is to get you through customs when you return in under an hour.

The most common mistakes travelers make, causing delays at customs are, "failure to declare items, things that should be declared," said Carlos Martel, U.S. Customs Border Protection. "Maybe travelers aren't savvy or aren't aware of prohibited items or some of the FDA requirements. People that are picking up medications abroad don't necessarily know or may know that those items are not approved by the FDA and cannot come to the United States."

At the U.S. Customs check point there is a table covered with products that cannot be brought into the United States: fruits and vegetables from certain countries, different meats and some exotic things like bird's nest.

"This is good for the immune system, for the people that use it and believe it," said Vr Sudanagunta from U.S. Customs Border Protection. "I don't know what it is but they believe it and a lot of people use it. This is expensive, really expensive. They sell for around $2,000 for this product."

Travelers told Eyewitness News that the long lines and crowds were what stressed them out the most.

"It'd be nice to see some happy people," said traveler Ruben Perez, when asked what could make traveling easier. "Sometimes the people you see aren't necessarily happy."

That's where the airport ambassadors come in. Their jobs are to reduce traveler's blood pressure and stress level. They're trained on how to help you get to where you need to go.

"I tell them first, 'We're going to take care of your problem. Please don't be nervous, just tell me exactly what you need and I will take care of it and tell you exactly what to do,'" said LAX ambassador Jeanne Chellino. "So just relax. Where did you want to go? Are you meeting someone? If you have any other need, just let me know."


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