Monthly Archives: September 2011

Life. Uncomplicated. Part Three.

Tips, tips and more tips! I feel a bit like Oprah – without the status, celebrity and money! Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

Today we talk alcohol:

1 – Ever drop a piece of cork in a bottle of wine? 

If you lose any part of the cork in a bottle of wine and you don’t want pieces of cork floating in your glass, hold a coffee filter over your glass and pour the wine into the glass via the filter. Voila! The pieces of cork get stopped by the coffee filter. Genius!

2 – I always keep a bottle of Champagne (or Cava or Prosecco) in the fridge because you just never know when you will want to properly celebrate.

3 – If you need to chill a bottle quickly, put it in the freezer. Simply enough. But set the microwave timer so you don’t forget to take it out. Crucial 😉


Be Inspired

Check out Matador’s 50 most inspiring travel quotes of all time. My personal favorites include:

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

I love this next quote and I hope my writing gets this across. The unknown allows us all to experience things outside of our comfort zones. When taken out of that familiar setting, something as simple as buying a knee brace will require effort and patience to get it done. It’s the lack of familiarity, and assumed ease, that makes the experience – behind door number one, two or three that much more exciting. 

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson (who is one of my favorite travel writers)

I have mentioned this quote in a previous post

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

And this quote applies to life in general, it is not exclusive to travel.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

WHY Should I Have All the Fun?


Some of you send me rough ideas for WHY Wednesdays…and I thought WHY should I be the only one posting for WHY Wednesday?

If you need any inspiration you can search in the categories along the right side of the blog, click on the link for WHY Wednesday and you can see my previous WHY Wednesday posts.

Send me your write up for WHY Wednesday. It can be about ANYTHING your heart desires!

Email me your very own WHY Wednesday and I will post it as a future WHY Wednesday right here on Simply Three Cents!

Happy World Tourism Day

“World Tourism Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tourism to global well-being. As we travel, let us engage with other cultures and celebrate human diversity. On this observance, let us recognize tourism as a force for a more tolerant, open and united world.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for World Tourism Day 2011

Just another excuse to travel! As if I needed another…

The Amazing Race started last night!


While it’s not at all how I like to travel, I can’t get enough of The Amazing Race (to be referred to as TAR in this post).

I like to take my time to soak up a place, a  culture and it’s food…except when I happen to be running for a connecting flight in Frankfurt.

Of course TAR is edited to show the worst of some people – ignorance, getting mad when there is a language barrier, etc. – but at the end of the day, it IS reality TV. You just have to hope that when the cameras are off, the offending teams are not so insulting to the local cultures.

There have been some eye-opening places featured and I have picked some of my destinations based on where TAR went. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get to Ushuaia, Argentina – the southernmost city in the world – because of TAR.

It also doesn’t hurt that the host of the show, Phil Keoghan, isn’t so bad on the eyes.

If you watch, have any of the destinations featured on any season of TAR inspired you to go, or plan a trip, there?

Stop and Smell the Roses

This post from the Solo Traveler Blog reminds you to remember to stop and smell the roses.

It’s much easier to do when traveling, and not so easy when you are caught up in the grind. But this is a good reminder for the ‘in the grind time’ as well.

Make sure to watch the video in the Solo Traveler post as well.

Overweight Plane

How then is it that a flight, fully loaded with passengers, luggage and fuel, needs to get three tons, yes THREE TONS, off of the plane prior to take off. Yes, this happened because my parents were on a flight with this problem just the other day.

First they were told that the longer a plane sits on the ground in a warm climate, it expands, and becomes heavier (raise eyebrow here).

Then the pilot apologized because apparently someone messed up their calculations since the configuration of this particular plane was not typical to this route…was this the first time the plane was in use? No, because it had traveled from SFO – HOU – PHX just that morning.

At least they were making someone accountable – whether that person knew it or not. I guess they thought removing only five passengers and their luggage and then proceeding to dump fuel is a good idea.

How can the airline board flight, an overbooked flight at that, and then have this happen? This raises several questions:

  • Isn’t the purpose of scales to control the weight on a plane? Or just to ensure the airlines charge passengers fees?
  • Would there be enough fuel for the flight? I am sure airlines are very aware of the price of fuel and try to only fuel up their planes for what is required to make that particular journey. Why was that plane so overloaded with fuel in the first place that dumping it would make a dent in the weight of the plane. And would that affect the plane to get from point A to point B.
  • When they dump the fuel, with passengers still on the plane, where does it go? Does this cause a fire hazard? I’m sure it’s not being spewed on the runway but is it going to cause a flammable situation? To dump fuel is one thing, to lighten tons of weight is another. That’s a lot of fuel. Can it be reused? Dumped?

My parents had thought this was a one time thing but I had a story of my own to share. A few years ago I was with colleagues and we were waiting to board a flight from LGA to DFW. The flight was over that weight limit as well. They would only board passengers who had to catch connecting flights out of DFW.

It was a business trip and there were three of us, with many presentation materials. Since our final destination was DFW, we made arrangements to fly out of JFK on the next available flight. 

This crew knew the flight was going to be over the weight limits before they boarded the flight but they did not board by row. Instead they boarded by destination. The crew announced various onward destinations where passengers on this flight were headed and only allowed those passengers to board. If you were only traveling to DFW, you were denied boarding.

Have you ever been on an overweight plane? How did they alleviate the weight? Share your story in the comments below.

Up up and away

Everyone usually thinks about packing for the destination. While that is true, you want to be comfortable on the journey there.

Typically for flights under three hours, I don’t really care because that’s just an easy hop. It’s when you are in that plane for longer than two movies, where you want to be comfortable.

Here are my tips:

A travel pillow

I have two different kinds, one you can blow up – which ultimately takes up less room, and a Smarter Image one. Whatever you do, don’t pack a full size pillow from your bed.


I have one chance, and usually one chance only, to fall asleep on a plane. You’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor. While the doctor would probably not advocate using alcohol, a glass of wine before boarding, usually helps with zonking out for a bit.

Comfortable clothes

For flights longer than three hours, I wear leggings, a soft tee-shirt and a hoodie sweatshirt. I also pack a scarf and depending on how long the flight – a long wrap sweater – it can be used as a blanket.

Your bulkiest shoes

In the summer I travel in flip-flops. Truth be told, flops are probably not the best choice of footwear. Should you need to evacuate the plane, flops are probably not what you want on your feet. If I’m adventure traveling, I will keep on a pair of hiking boots or my Keens because those would be the bulkiest shoes in the bag. And because I don’t usually check any bags, wearing those bulky shoes tends to lighten up what I am carrying.


Always. My feet always get cold. Always.

Hand sanitzer

I always carry it but especially on flights. Have you ever seen an airplane bathroom? Even after I wash my hands in that gross place, I come back to my seat and squirt a few drops again.


Not only does this enable you to enjoy your own music, but you can listen to the airplane music selections at your seat. Anything in your ears works really well if you have a chatty seatmate or if you are seated near a barking dog.

An activity bag

Yes. Seriously. Always.

If you have any tips, share them in the comments section below.

THE Activity Bag

I don’t have kids, but I get antsy. I pack an activity bag (yes, seriously) for car rides, train rides and airplane rides.

There’s only so much time an airplane movie can kill. Here’s my list:

  • Notebook and pen
  • Book of Sudoku
  • Book(s)
  • iPod: loaded with music, TV shows I want to catch up on and audiobooks (for when carsickness sets in)
  • Earplugs: because you never know
  • Magazines from home I want to catch up on – I then leave these with flight attendants. Serves two purposes, they get to have new reading and I get to lighten my load.
  • Deck of cards

What do you pack to keep you (or the kids) occupied?

WHY Oh Why

Why does food poisoning linger and ruin the whole darn day? Why can’t you get it out of your system and be done with it? In one shot. There’s no need for it to be an all day affair. One and done.

I was struck with either food poisoning or something that absolutely did not agree with me last week. While spending a lazy day on the couch at home dealing and recovering, I noticed that daytime television doesn’t cater to viewers with food poisoning or even a sour stomach. I did a ton of channel changing because watching the morning news shows was making me even sicker. Each segment focused on food or drink and sometimes food and drink. It wasn’t until I scrolled into the higher numbered channels where I could find old 90s sitcoms, and ultimately doze off for a bit. (This is a compliment to those old shows.)

What I did learn is that I should have a back up bottle of ginger ale and saltines in my kitchen for days like this. The current beverage choices in my fridge were various flavors of seltzer, water, apple juice, grapefruit juice and tomato juice. Those juices were not ideal for a sour stomach. I never got enough energy up to go and make those crucial purchases. But now I know – those are definitely my emergency kit, and need to be a staple in my household.

WHY Wednesday.