Where can I travel without a passport?

The only places you can travel that are outside the continental United States are Alaska, Hawaii, and US Territories including Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix islands.

When should I buy my airline ticket? Is there a way to game the system?

Book a ticket when you need it. Research suggests that if you buy your ticket when most people do — between one and four months before you fly — you’re likely to find the lowest price. Don’t push the button too early or too late, because fares tend to rise, especially as you close in on your departure date. Some airfare soothsayers claim you can find a bargain by waiting until a particular day and time, like Wednesday at 1 a.m. in the airline’s time zone. But the savings are minimal and probably not worth your time, not to mention the lost sleep.

Are all-inclusives worth it? 

Yes: You want to know exactly how much that Caribbean vacation is going to cost. Consider the scenario in which you and your partner have three school-age children. Your number one goal is rest and relaxation. You have no plans to leave the resort besides a short trip into town. You like you endless margaritas, and the kids feel all grown up ordering an endless stream of burgers and virgin frozen drinks from the snack bar. You want to introduce the children to snorkeling and banana-boat rides. These are great reasons to choose an all-inclusive resort.

No: Consider the scenario in which you and your partner want to spend your vacation exploring wineries and hitting the newest restaurants. After grabbing breakfast from the hotel you plan to explore the island. You like an occasional cocktail but don’t drink very much. Your idea of a vacation is meeting the locals and getting to know places tourists don’t typically visit. You aren’t worried about paying more than expected. These are great reasons NOT to choose an all-inclusive resort.

I am a woman traveling solo. What do I need to know? 

Gender should never be an obstacle to travel, but unfortunately some countries are not as welcoming to women as others. But don’t draw a red line over these spots.  Here are some tips:

Always know where you going. Research in advance safe neighborhoods and methods of travel. Choose a hotel in a lively area with a constant stream of people. In certain countries, use only certified cabs; ask a hotel or restaurant to call you a ride. Also always make sure that someone — your mother, the concierge — knows your general whereabouts. Wear plain clothes and follow local dress customs. Stick to busy districts and streets and avoid traveling at night. If you feel unsafe or sense that someone is following you, duck into the nearest hotel or restaurant and ask for help. And even if you are feeling nervous inside, always walk tall, with confidence and attitude. Try to refrain from stating you are waiting alone.

I have a long layover. How should I fill the empty hours?

Before you even think about stepping outside, figure out how long it will take to exit and re-enter customs, immigration and security, and if you need a visa. Also calculate the estimated round-trip travel time, including potential traffic hazards. Now compare that number with the hours between flights.

If your layover is four hours or less, you should probably stay put. Most international airports offer exceptional dining and shopping, movies (Singapore), museum-quality art exhibits (Amsterdam’s Schiphol), guided airport tours (Brussels, Prague, Frankfurt) and even an ice skating rink (Munich). You can also book a day room at a mini-hotel (London Heathrow, Japan’s Narita, Beijing) or consider buying a day pass to an airport lounge.

For longer layovers, check the airport’s Web site or stop by the on-site help desk for information on transportation options as well as distances to major attractions. (Oftentimes, public transportation can be quicker than cabs.)

Which Caribbean island should I go to?

There are more than two dozen Caribbean islands, plus Bermuda and Mexico’s Cancun and Cozumel, and each has its own flavor. Here are some ideas:

• Snorkelers and divers: Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
• Nature lovers: Dominica, St. John, Tobago
• Beach connoisseurs: Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, Anguilla
• Partiers: Aruba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico
• All-inclusive fans: Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun

Why are the fares different from other sites?

Airlines practice the marketing concept known as "yield management, “where they sell as many seats as they can at the highest price they can get. It is impossible to pinpoint the cost of any single seat on any given flight. For example, some seats will be assigned special fares for corporate clients, while other seats will have been sold through a consolidator at a discount. Similarly, some fares may have been bought at a discount with frequent-flier award points or from a last minute Web special.

Can I take my pet through the security checkpoint?

Please remove your pet from the carrying case and place the case through the X-ray machine. You should maintain control of your pet with a leash and remember to remove the leash when carrying your pet through the metal detector. Animal carriers will undergo a visual and/or physical inspection. Contact the airline to determine your airline's policy on traveling with pets before arriving at the airport.

How early should I arrive to the airport prior to my flights departure?

You are encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours prior to flight departure for domestic travel and three hours for international travel. This allows time for parking and shuttle transportation, airline check-in, obtaining a boarding pass, and going through the security screening process, which includes screening of your carry-on baggage.

I forgot my identification; can I still proceed through security screening?

In the event you arrive at the airport without proper ID, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. By providing additional information, TSA has other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.

If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.

May I keep head coverings and other religious, cultural or ceremonial items on during screening?

Persons wearing head coverings, loose fitting or bulky garments may undergo additional security screening, which may include a pat-down. A pat-down will be conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender. If the situation can't be resolved through a pat-down, you may ask to remove the head covering in a private screening area.

Religious knives, swords and other objects are not permitted through the security checkpoint and must be packed in checked baggage. Inform the TSA officer if you have religious, cultural or ceremonial items that require special handling.

Inform the TSA officer if you have religious, cultural or ceremonial items that require special handling.

Should I remove my body piercing?

Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm and a pat-down may be required. If additional screening is required, you may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down.

Is Breast Milk, Formula and Juice exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule?

Formula, breast milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do need to not fit within a quart-sized bag. These items should be separated from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4 ounces.

Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in your carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening.