Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Travel Tips from here and there

Never wear flip-flops or high heels on a plane in case of emergency. 
Can you imagine, God forbid, that your plane crashes like the Asiana flight on landing in San Francisco? The aircraft is on fire and you've got to scramble over mangled seats to find the exit:  Your flip flops or Manohla Blahniks are not going to be an asset! Instead, opt for your heaviest, bulkiest shoes -  your hiking boots or walking shoes; those with the best, sticky soles, freeing up room and weight in your suitcase and assuring, if necessary, that you can get traction, climb over those seats, even jump out of a window (good shoes would help with your landing).

If you have a choice of seats on a plane, don't sit next to a woman. We tend to be chatty and use the bathroom more often than most men. Although I've sat next to older men with obviously enlarged prostrates (I'm just guessing here) who have to pee every 20 minutes - they are much worse. While I'm sympathetic, it's awfully hard to sleep if you have to let somebody out into the aisle too often. The ideal seat if you have a choice would be an aisle seat with two smallish 40's men in center and window….they'll be busy with electronic devices, won't talk to you, will probably sleep and won't require the half hourly pit stop. As far as chattiness goes, if you get next to a babbler, who wants to tell you about her hemorrhoids or her grandchildren's brilliance, politely slip on your ear phones, even if they're not attached to anything, as that usually politely discourages them.

Always wear a hoodie on the plane - for warmth and also to snuggle into for naps or real sleep. You can end up seated behind someone who wants to have their air stream focused on you, freezing you out. If the hood is large enough, it will help block out distracting lights and sounds, making sleep easier.
People tend to leave you alone when you're hoodied. 

Never wear shorts on a plane. No matter how beautiful your legs are! Wear your heavier, bulkier clothing…I don't care where you're going, the plane will be freezing and you'll free up weight and space in your suitcase. You can always strip down in the airport bathroom once you arrive at your tropical destination. Layers work really well. Wear your shorts and a light t-shirt, then wear long pants over the shorts and your heaviest shirt and sweater on top. If it turns out to be too warm, go to the bathroom and take off a layer. You're going to be uncomfortable on the plane, everyone is unless you're in the first class cabin, so you may as well be uncomfortable with the knowledge that you were able to pack that one extra outfit, because you're "carrying on" a couple on your body.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Shorts on a Plane

Choose the Asian Vegetarian option from the meal choices in advance. The food is usually better because it's cooked to order and not en masse. 

Bring ear plugs to wear on the plane and for noisy hotels. Take them out for aircraft take-off and landing just in case there is an emergency and you have to hear instructions. Remember that even in the newest gazillion dollar planes, the speakers are terrible. They often sound like something you might get pre-installed on your computer. Static, low volume and pilot accents combine to make it almost impossible to hear what's being broadcast from the cockpit. In my humble opinion, being able to communicate with the passengers should be a high priority in terms of safety check-lists. I've sat next to foreign travelers who infer erroneously, because they speak little English or are afraid, that there is an emergency because of the static, unintelligible muttering that passes for an announcement. "This is your captain speaking…..mumble, static, mumble static, static".

Pack a clothes pin or two for keeping the daylight from creeping in through that inevitable crack in the curtains or to keep a shower curtain secure OR even as a last resort, to hang up your laundry. The pin can be a God send. 

Have cheap business cards printed with your name and contact information, address etc. If you are interested in meeting people and staying in touch, people are more likely to keep a business card than a scrap of paper with your scribbling on it.  If you wish, include an interesting quote that you'd like to be remembered for, or a job description or as my retired brother-in-law has - a title that he crosses out with a black pen just enough that you can still read it if you try hard. He calls himself "Pornographic Stuntman". I make no apologies for him - it's his sense of humor.  If you don't get it or don't find it funny, you probably wouldn't get along with him anyway. My current title is Grove Goddess. Vista Print on-line is inexpensive and card creation is easy to manage. 

Take a couple of packs of Post-It notes. I can barely live without these anymore. You can stick them on your bathroom mirror with reminders. Stick one on your hotel room door, reminding yourself to do the final check around for forgotten items. Remind yourself to look in that one place you always overlook! For us, it's the bed....shake out the sheets and look underneath for books or magazines.
I hate to admit it but on my last trip I left my "dress" black shoes behind...either they were under a chair or at the bottom of a dark closet. Henceforth, I use the flashlight to check the closet. It wasn't fun wearing sneakers to dinner on a cruise. 


  1. Since I'm just getting ready to get on a plane - Nov. 6, I was particularly interested in your travel tips. I will definitely dress in layers and wear my heaviest shoes. Don't have a hoodie or ear phones. But a good book should do. When you're selecting your seats on line - how can you tell the age or gender of who's sitting in your row. That would be another helpful tip.

    1. Only on Southwest or the cheap Asian flights we take where you have unassigned seats.

  2. Well, now I know why you're able to fly so often and so easily. Maybe now I'll be more apt to schedule a trip.