The Practice of Travel
As I come home from an excellent relationship intensive in Heber, UT, seems a good time to update my travel tips.
1. Wear slip-on shoes, not laces. If you usually wear a belt, shift it to suspenders. Also having a satchel, purse, or jacket to easily stash your wallet, watch, etc. will speed up your trip through TSA *immensely*.
2. Have your contact’s phone number, name, and address memorized. Sure, having it in your phone and written down are all good – until your phone breaks or your briefcase is lost or any other number of things. Your memory is the last best traveler’s companion.
3. If you like hot drinks, bring a tumbler. It will often save you money getting refills (especially at outrageously priced airport cafés), can be filled on the plane and get you more than that little silly styrofoam cup, and besides, it’s good for the environment.
4. Be polite. Either *don’t* recline your seat, or if you must, turn and let the person behind you know that you’re about to do it. Why this is not taught at the same time kids learn to say “please”, I do not know. But economy ain’t getting any bigger, and the least we can do is not sacrifice other’s actual comfort for our own minimal improvement.
5. Check with the attendant at the gate to see if carry-on luggage can be checked to your destination. Often they’re happy to (it saves overhead space and quickens boarding time) and you get all the convenience at none of the cost.
6. Don’t buy bottled water. It’s not any better than the stuff in the water fountain, and you’re contributing to the ever-growing mountain of plastic that is slowly eating the globe (seriously). Instead, get yourself a collapsible water bottle. They’re cheap, they are easily carried, and really can help you get better hydrated.
7. You can actually do yoga in your seat on the airplane! Twisting poses, drawing your arm across your body, stretching your wrists, and (depending on your seating space) doing leg bridges, etc can make a long flight much more bearable. Try out any of the many “desk yoga” workouts available online, but modify them for the airplane seat.
8. Stay hydrated. Aside from the water bottle mentioned above, make a rule that when they offer water, you say yes. When they offer some other drinks, ask for water *in addition* to it. And never let yourself walk past a water fountain in the airport without taking a drink from it. Traveling dehydrates you far more than you’d think.
9. Unless you’re allergic to nuts, carry around a small bag of almonds, maybe mixed with something (I happen to like dried cranberries). For some strange reason, almonds are not only a good source of protein, they are also a magic food that helps counter cravings for *other* foods. So when you’re hungry, tired, and walking past some unhealthy restaurant choice, you can pull out the almonds and they will not only tide you over, they will also help get you past that craving for a double bacon cheeseburger with mushrooms. Plus you have something to throw in case you are attacked by nut-allergic ninja pirates.
10. Be polite (part 2). Far too often people presume while traveling that they somehow have some privilege that enables them to talk to the attendants, TSA workers, or shop cashiers as if they were second-class citizens. Don’t be that person. In fact, be the person who stands out because in the midst of a simple interaction (“*Would you like fries with that?*”) you managed to make a connection, human-to-human. You can be the person who the airport worker tells their family about that night, who had the nice smile and treated them so *nicely*. Really, though, you’re being selfish – because treating other people that way makes you feel really, really good about yourself. So tip extra, let people get in front of you in line with a smile, and layer on the “sir” and “ma’am” even if the person looks surprised to be addressed that way.
Actually, *especially* if they look surprised. A little respect can go a long way.
That’s the latest edition of “the Nomad’s Guide to the Practice of Travel”. Got more? Let us know in the