Category Archives: tips

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.

Xanax

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.

SOCKS

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.

Headphones

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?


Passport Day in the USA

Tomorrow is the day! The State Department is encouraging you, yes you, to get a passport!! If you have one, get your kid one!

Details in the link below. Safe travels!

http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_5535.html


Life. Uncomplicated. Part Deux.

I know I shared some tips the other day, and since getting things done doesn’t always happen in a timely manner, here are two more…for the ladies.

Eyebrows going crazy? Miss a threading appointment? Forget to pluck? Rub a little bit of cover up over the extra hairs. It works!

Sometimes when I have big occasions I like to get a pedicure as close to the date as possible. So my existing pedicure might be holding on just a little too long. Depending on where the color is chipping, just clipping the toenails can refresh the look to hold you off a few more days. Warning: this does not always work in your favor. It may take off more of the color than you wanted!


Life. Uncomplicated.

I feel like everyone has secret tips to make life easier. If we all shared, how much easier life could be! Here are three of mine.

Tip 1: Don’t you hate when you slip on a shirt or a dress and then you realize you just got deodorant all over a perfectly good outfit? It happens to me more often than not. I learned this trick years ago. Don’t wet it. Rub the material together — just rub a clean part of the material over the part that has the deodorant. May take a minute or two of rubbing but voila!

Tip 2: Tomatoes for taco night are a must. But I find chopping tomatoes messy, annoying and tedious. And I can never get it just right. Instead I buy pre-made bruschetta at the supermarket for taco night! They are already diced and seasoned so they instantly (and more importantly, easily) add kick to the meal!

Tip 3: Don’t you hate running out the night before a trip to pick up those last-minute things? When I know I am going away, I make my list early in the week so those ‘last minute’ things are done before the night before. Since my travel toiletry bag is always ready to go, I just have to take a peek to see if I am really low on something. Best case scenario (this doesn’t always happen) — I am packed and ready to go the day before. That way the night before is just compiling the little things that need to get packed the morning of (glasses, phone charger, phone).

What makes your life easier? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.


WHY leave?

This week’s WHY Wednesday questions why some travelers leave their comfort zone, only to eat foods that they are familiar with and know.

This was in the NYT and is crazy! The best part of traveling is eating like the locals…I don’t travel to faraway lands so I can eat cheese fries.

I have so many fond food memories from my travels but some of my favorites are getting freshly sliced cheese from a Swiss cheesemonger, spicy sausage on a roll with the local sauce in Bosnia and some unidentified tapas plate in Spain that the bartender sent over.

Personally, I’m not traveling just so I can eat something that I would eat after a night out at the bars when I was 22.

Eating while traveling is about finding a local market, tasting things on the menu you can’t get at home and being offered foods that you wouldn’t otherwise try. I ate fruits I never heard of in Costa Rica, I ordered fondue in Brussels only to find out that was actually mozzarella sticks and drank locally sourced milk at a market in Denmark!

Yes, sometimes there can be a negative experience. Like the time the boyfriend ordered the daily special in a small town in Tuscany and wound up getting a plate of fresh meat. So fresh, and chewy, in fact that he, a meat lover, had to follow each bite with a glass of water and a sip of wine. The place was small, and the staff attentive. Not wanting to insult, he finished most of the plate. I went with the pasta special of the day. Even now, years later, I remember how good my gnocchi and wine tasted. But he tried his, didn’t like it and didn’t insult anyone either and now we have a great story.

If something is on the table that you’ve never seen or tried, at the very least, take a bite! You’ll find yourself eating foods you wouldn’t have otherwise found!

Now the exception to this french fry story is ordering pommes frites in Belgium…you’ll need to get them topped with a few squirts of mayo, just like the locals!

Do you have any fond food memories? Feel free to post in the comments section.