Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Expert Traveler

On my way back from Kentucky, I avoided the luggage check in line as I had no under plane luggage and had checked in online the night before and printed my boarding passes.  I headed to security, where there were several marked aisles.  I quickly spotted the one labeled "Expert Traveler", stopped for a moment to think, then put my finger in the air, looked at the guard and said "ah, yes. I am an expert traveler" and headed off to the scanners. 

I moved through them quickly, as I had no questionables in my bags, no gels or liquids over the limits,  no laptops to pull out,  and my shoes were open back clogs that I tossed into a bin.  A quick smile and thank you, and I was off to the gate.  All of this took maybe 10 minutes and five minutes later I was on the plane.  I had planned the time exactly. 

In the past several years,  I have flown internationally and domestically more than the average non-business person.  I have navigated subways and trains in a country that I do not speak the language and found my way through many airports east of the Mississippi.  You'd never guess that once-upon-a-time I had a travel phobia.  Life circumstances and my desire to have an adventurous life has forced me to overcome it, and I have learned a lot on these trips. 

This blog isn't for the saavy traveler...it is for travelers like myself who had to learn the hard way.

  • I don't bring my laptop unless I absolutely need it.  It is heavy and I hate having to dig it out of my bag and put it in a bin, then when it comes out, put it back in. Most places I go have internet access, or a computer in the house.
  • I check in online and print up my tickets. I have my Orbitz account send me updates via the computer AND my cell phone so that I get constant updates as to my flight status and gate info.  
  • I no longer pay to put my luggage underneath the plane. It saves 50.00, and the time of checking it and picking it up at the baggage claim.  You can get a large enough carry on bag that will fit a week's worth of clothes that you don't have to check, even though some of them have to be left before you board to be put under the plane as the smaller jets don't can't fit them under the seat or in the overhead bins.  For a 5 day or less trip,  I opt for a business travel bag, that fits a laptop,(should I bring one)  books, a small makeup bag, my meds, undies, socks, some shirts and one light pair of pants.  It fits comfortably under any seat.  No longer do I wait for any baggage; it is always with me.
  • If I have more clothing than I can fit in my bag, or gifts that I am bringing, I sent it on ahead via the US Postal Service to my destination (which is usually a friend or relative's house)  It is much cheaper, and I have the options of parcel post, flat rate priority boxes etc.
  • check each carriers rules on carry on luggage size/regs, and what should be put under the plane, and what is allowed in carry on vs. checked luggage.  It avoids a lot of hassles.
  • don't wear complicated shoes that take forever to get off and put back on.  
  • wear layers of clothes.  I have gone from freezing to roasting getting on and off the plane, and I suggest wearing socks.  The one time I wore sandals in the summer, my feet froze. 
Of course, there are times that you can't avoid complications.  Screwed up connections. Weather delays. Plane problems.  Those I can't control and try to smile and take them in stride.  If I get stuck in an airport, there are always book stores for one's reading pleasure, or crossword puzzle books which keep me thinking for hours.  I love to take myself out to lunch/have a drink, and I always get a chuckle out of people watching.  And someday, when I have my I-Phone, I can entertain myself with that.

Off to enjoy the sunny day here in the Hudson Valley.  The car is fixed, the top will go down, and I think I will head to the Mansions along the river. 

patti O traveler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would add snacks...raisins and sunflowers, or something...you never know how long you may sit..and being hungry is a drag. I bring an empty water bottle which I fill when I get through security as well, water is very expensive in the booths (and for more than one it adds up). KiSS