Thursday, August 26, 2010

Have Carry On Bag, Will Travel

What is it about August? Last year I only got in about 6 posts during the dog days of summer, and I'm looking to beat that low record this year. . .a couple weeks of travel, intense humidity and a general break from improving the house have made for an almost project-less month!

I promise to get back into the swing of things in September, stay tuned for wedding shower activity ideas, fall decor and recipes, a (fingers-crossed) finished console table, more and more homemade cards and - most exciting of all - another room makeover at my parents' house (we tackled the kitchen last winter, next up is a basement bedroom!). 

In the meantime, how about I focus on all this recent travel with another trip tips installment!

This time around, lets focus on the plane ride itself. Are you the type who, like me, craves the window seat so I can tuck in and not have to get up for anybody during the flight? Are you the type who, like me, hopes that there is a helpful gentleman sitting near me who will throw my roller carry-on in the overhead bin for you? Are you the type who, like me, loves Sky Mall and American Way? (I've managed to read all but one month of American Way this year thanks to a few trips that fell mid-month, meaning I got one issue on my flight in and the new one on the flight back!)

That's Entertainment - Fully charge your iPod and download a couple fave TV shows to pass the time. I once was thisclose to buying a personal DVD player and in retrospect was so glad Best Buy was out of stock of the one I was going to get. Between the laptop I usually have with me for work trips and a video iPod, why should I haul around another electronics item?? I also like to bring my netflix with me so that I can watch them on the laptop when I'm back at the hotel for the night - my relaxation mode before the crazy early morning workday begins! 

BookIt - As much as I wanted to bring it, I left my hardcover version of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest at home during my last work trip, opting instead for a smaller paperback for the trip read. With my laptop already taking up mucho room in my backpack carry on, Lisbeth Salander and her heavy tome were not going to add to the weight. Of course, when I found myself sans laptop on the personal trip last week, guess which book now found a place in the bag??

I also like to bring my travel crossword book - doing one of these usually takes up the time between sitting down in my seat and actually taking off.  Bonus: doing puzzles like crosswords keeps the brain sharp! Invest in trivia games, puzzle books and the ilk - your older self will thank you! Check out my faves: MindTrap, Tribond, Will Shortz Crosswords and good old fashioned Trivial Pursuit.

Have a Seat - add seat preferences to your profiles to ensure you get what you want at the outset and where possible. I like window seats in the middle of the plane. I've had the exit row and front rows before, but honestly a shrimp like me doesn't need to hog the extra leg room from my tall co-passengers and I also don't like not being able to keep my bag under the seat in front of me. If you get on the plane and have a justifiable reason to want to switch seats, have the courtesy to ask the person whose seat assignment it is as opposed to sitting there first and assuming they will switch. 

Fight the Cold - High up in the clouds = chilly temps on the plane! I always wear shoes and socks as opposed to flip flops and layer up with a cardigan, pashmina or jacket. The free blankets are not so easy to come by anymore, so prepare yourself properly for the ride! 

The Air Up There - Aint just a Kevin Bacon movie. It is dry, dry, dry. Plenty of water, chapstick, eye drops and nasal spray are good things to keep on hand! I just came back from Colorado and I can feel the dryness in my lips and face. Ahh, moisturizer, you are a good friend.

Snacky Snacks - If you think the free blankets are a rare species nowadays, the free in flight meal is even more of one. Although, it is sort of funny when you think about it - other than overseas flights, can people really not go three hours without a meal being set in front of them? You can typically purchase snack packs from airlines today, though I know Southwest is still pretty giving when it comes to cracker packages and small candy bars. I say, pack your own ahead of time to get you through the flight. I myself am a sucker for Swedish Fish, Dried Fruit, mixed nuts and a good piece of chocolate. If you are going to go all out with packing your own meal - or grabbing something right before boarding - be kind to your seatmates and stay away from the smellier of McDonalds' meals.

Now Stretch - Especially on those long flights! Get up and walk around, move your feet, neck and wrists in circles or flex your muscles a little bit to keep the blood pumping. Nothing worse than sitting in one cramped little place for hours on end!

Hopefully some of these are helpful hints - until the next trip, adieu!

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