Randy Dean's Timely Tips

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Timely Tips© Volume 2 Issue 3: March 2005 — “The Travel Maestro -- Final Act (and Internet Password Sanity!)”

OK, so you show up at the hotel, or the ticket agent desk, or the car rental counter, and they ask you for your hotel rewards program number, or your frequent flier account number, or your "Preferred #1 Emerald Club Gold Expresslane" account number, and you pull out your wallet or purse, and then spend the next 15 minutes going through about 300 travel cards trying to find the one with your correct account information. Sound familiar?

If so, here is a VERY simple tip for you -- have you ever considered putting all of those important numbers in a single, easy-to-access and secure place? I have done just that, and it has made traveling so much easier and more enjoyable (and my wallet SOOOO much thinner!)

Here's how I've done it:
A few years ago, I downloaded a very inexpensive Palm software program named "Secret!" by Linkesoft GmbH ($21.90). Secret! is basically a standard memo pad for your PDA device, except that it is password protected and does not show up in an easy-to-access format on your desktop or laptop (even though the data is backed up when you synchronize!) I created a password that only I know, and then I created a single memo in that program named "Frequent Flyer/Travel #s". I then created line-by-line entries for each of my many frequent flier, hotel, and car rental numbers.

Whenever I travel now and need to access account numbers, I simply pull up "Secret!" from my Palm programs icon, enter in the password, open up the travel memo, and "voila!", I'm in business with all of my travel account info. And, using this password-protected memo in conjunction with the downloadable 800-travel-number memos from last month's Timely Tips (on my web site -- www.randalldean.com), you can actually do just about any needed travel transaction just by having your PDA handy along with your cell phone (and if you are really slick, you use your combo PDA/phone and have it all in one place!) ;-)

I did a quick search on the PalmOne Web site -- www.palmone.com (Pocket PC users, check the PocketGear site -- www.pocketgear.com), and not only did "Secret!" pop up, but so did about 100 other PDA password-protected memo/storage programs, some less than $10. And of course, if you are a planner user, you could create a single page in your planner that has all of these account numbers (but make sure you don't lose your planner or let it get stolen!!)
I've actually taken advantage of "Secret!" to not only list my private travel account numbers, but I also have a memo with all of my Internet account log-ins and passwords (who can possibly remember all of these!!), telephone calling card account numbers, credit card account numbers, and even memos on my personal goals and dreams (because I don't want just anybody reading my goals and dreams!!) You could put just about anything that is very private in this memo pad, and be confident that it will stay just that -- very private!

And of course, using this strategy has also saved me a lot of time, because I don't have to fumble around with 300 travel cards, or try to remember 300 different Internet account log-ins and passwords -- now I just have to remember one (the password to "Secret!" itself), and I can find all of the rest of these account numbers, names, and passwords whenever I need them.
I hope this month's tip allows you to be a more efficient and less-stressed traveler (and Internet user!) And without all of these traveler cards to haul around with you, you will no longer have to check your wallet or purse as an extra oversized piece of baggage. ;-) Watch for another issue next month -- until then, stay Timely!


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