January 9, 2009

Travel Dos and Don'ts

Travel is always an adventure...unless it's a nightmare. This past holiday season, the nightly news had limitless reports of travel nightmares: parents with infants stranded in airports for days, families stranded without medication, families routed from Washington to Kansas City to Denver to Orange County to Las Vegas only to miss Christmas and rent a car to finally get home. Actually, I met that last family when we spent the night in the Kansas City airport after our flight was cancelled. Abbie over at AbsTracked reports that she and her 8-year-old daughter spent large portions of both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day trying to fly across the country. Happily, Santa kept pace with their travels but the airline did everything possible to maximize the mess.

As a result, Abbie and I and assorted other stranded passengers have created a Do and Don't list to help keep the nightmare out of your next travel adventure:

Do put solution in your contact case and keep it in your carry on. Don't pack your glasses in your checked luggage . Don't put your contacts in a bottle of Dasani.

Do put the following in your carry-on bag: cards, a NEW book, a sandwich, three days of medication, a toothbrush, clean underwear, lots of Advil. Don't forget your cell phone charger.

Do add the airline's reservation number to your cell phone so you can get yourself on another flight when they cancel your flight at 2AM and you’re sitting ON THE PLANE! Don't believe the airline when they tell you to get your baggage before joining the long line at to the counter to get a new flight (use the cell phone).

Do sleep near the airport's administrative offices if you find you're in for the long haul. It's quieter and warmer on their carpeted flooring. Do sleep with the sleeve of your coat over your eyes to block the light. Do put guided meditation on your iPod. Don't try to go without sleep--right honey?

Do travel in comfy undies. If you're 17, just wear your pajama pants on the plane. Don't wear that new underwire you just bought.


Dos and Don'ts from Abbie:

Do check-in 24 hours in advance even if you're freaked out about having to pay for luggage for the first time and you're not sure how many pieces you will have. They might have cancelled your original flight, put you on one 3 hours earlier, and failed to notify you.

Don't spend more than 5 minutes trying to explain to your child why her Build-A-Bear animal's imbedded sound might appear to be an incendiary device when X-rayed.

Do have Santa review all of the TSA restrictions and new airline costs so that he understands why you want him to develop a "Plan B" if you're traveling on Christmas Eve.

Don't wear stinky *golf socks.

Do warn your child not to ask, "Where did you pack the glow sticks?" in front of the TSA inspector when she's questioning you about liquids.

Don't pack glow sticks.

Do teach your child how to put her arms back down when nervous about being wanded.

When the security man asks if that's a shirt under your over-shirt, don't say, "Yes." Say, "It's my bra."

On long flights, do buy the crappy, over-priced plane snack, if offered. In all likelihood, it's slightly less crappy and slightly less expensive than the crappy airport food. Besides, the flight attendants won't give you the mad face when you present them with your super-sized trash.

If you think you probably shouldn't, don't.

Do ask for a whole can of whatever you like to drink on the plane (Don't spread this around...we "can" people LOVE this.). We deserve it, damn it!

Don't be appalled to find a card stating that TSA has raided your luggage (that's not the appalling part) ... and the card is date stamped "December 32, 2008" (yeah, that's the appalling part).

* a hole in one.

Image from Dreamstime.

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