We want your travels to the Dallas area to be as comfortable and effortless as possible. Below are recommendations for your consideration, which are discussed in more detail in the patient information package we’ll send to you after your first appointment is scheduled. Also, our concierge is happy to answer any questions. Although we are not a travel agency, we can assist you with making transportation and hotel arrangements.
Additionally, if you are an international traveler, we recommend you consult with your government’s department of foreign affairs or other appropriate agency regarding travel regulations and recommendations specific to your country.
Domestic and International Travelers
Do not take any medications before and/or during travel without consulting with Texas Back Institute. We recognize travel may create additional discomfort; however, taking medications such as aspirin can result in the cancellation of your surgery. Your patient information packet will explain this in more detail, along with other requirements you must follow to ensure your procedure can take place safely, as planned.
Length of stay. If you will be having surgery during your visit, we recommend you allow a one-day stay in advance of your schedule if you are traveling to give you time to adjust to our time zone and rest. The concierge will help you determine the length of your stay before you make travel and hotel arrangements.
Airline arrangements. Depending upon how long your flight will be and the degree of your pain to endure longer flights, we recommend you consider flying with an airline that offers business or first class seating so that you’ll be in a larger, more comfortable seat.
Transportation in the Dallas area. Unless you are accustomed to driving in a large, U.S. city, we recommend you use local transportation. From the airport, you will probably benefit from a more comfortable taxi or town car service. While shuttles cost less, they are not as comfortable and often include stops for other passengers.
Travel Money. Before you go, organize a variety of ways to access your money in the United States, such as credit cards, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Your nation’s currency and travelers’ cheques are not recommended for use in the United States. Consult with your bank to find out if your ATM card will work here; there are numerous ATM machines near Texas Back Institute. You will be able to use your VISA or MasterCard to pay for ground transportation (including taxis), hotel rooms, dining out and most all of your purchases.
Copy your valuable documents. Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets and visas. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
Tipping. Unlike some other parts of the world, tipping is expected for certain services. We recommend you purchase a travel guide to the United States that includes this helpful information.
- Airport porter or skycap – $2 per bag or more if the bags are heavy. $2 extra for curbside check-in is optional. If you arrive late and he helps you get to your flight on time, tip an extra $5-20.
- Airport wheelchair service – Only tip if you are assisted from the gate to the baggage claim area and/or to the taxi/shuttle area. A tip of $5 is appropriate. Tip more if they help you with your luggage ($1-2 per bag) or if they help you to your car.
- Taxi, limo, paid shuttle, or van driver – 15% of the total fare. Up to 20% if the driver helps with the bags or makes extra stops. No less than $1. Note that the rate quoted for limos often includes gratuity.
- Driver of courtesy shuttle – $1-$2 per bag if you are assisted with your bags.
- Valet or parking attendant – $1-3 is appropriate for parking or returning your car.
- Doorman – If he hails you a cab, $1-2. If he helps you with your bags in or out of the car, $1 a bag. Add $1-2 per bag if he carries them all the way to the room. If he just opens the door, nothing. If he is helpful with directions or restaurant recommendations, $5.
- Bellman – When he helps you with your bags, tip $1-2 per bag. Give him the tip when he shows you your room. If he only carries the bags to the front desk, do not tip him and instead tip the person who carries the bags to your room. Upon checkout, tip the bellman who helps with your bags. Tip more for additional services.
- Concierge – $5-10 for help with hard-to-get dinner reservations or theater tickets. Tipping is optional for advice, but $5 is the minimum. Tipping can be done at the end of the trip or at the time of service.
- Room Service – If gratuity is included, add nothing or $1; otherwise 15-20% that you can tack onto your bill and pay at checkout.
- Maid service – $3-5 per day typically, up to $10 per day depending upon how much mess you make. Tip daily because there might be a different maid each day. Leave the tip on your pillow. Err on the side of being generous, and tip on the last day also. If they change out your linens by request, give $1-2 each time.
- Tip 10-15% on alcohol and 15-20% on the food. If the service is poor, ask to speak to a manager.
Security and luggage requirements. See the Transportation Security Administration’s Web site for further details.
Language. Other than English, there are many Spanish speakers here; however, sometimes you need to ask for one.