Sunday, November 25, 2012

Notes from a Road Warrior

There's a name for people like me. Right now, I'm a "road warrior," a creature who's been traveling for far too long!

A week ago today (last Sunday), I flew from West Palm Beach to Washington, DC, so I could attend a musical event at the Supreme Court on Monday. On Tuesday, my husband and I flew to Las Vegas, narrowly missing Betty, I guess! We spent Thanksgiving helping our son settle into his new apartment in Veer, which is next to the Aria hotel. Then on Friday, I flew to St. Louis. On Saturday, I did an event at the Buder Library. Today (Sunday again!), I signed books at Main Street Books in St. Charles, and then from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. signed at the Barnes & Noble in Fenton, MO. Tomorrow I fly back to Florida. I can't wait to get back home!

Are you a frequent traveler? If so, I have a few tips to pass on...

1. I mark all my power cords with a piece of bright green masking tape. They stick out like little flags and say, "Slan" on each one. It's a lot easier to see them, and harder to forget them, because they are so colorful.

2. Delta Airlines only allows 45 pounds of luggage, whereas most other carriers allow 50 pounds. So, I mailed a box to myself with some of my shoes and clothes, in order to lighten my suitcase. Did you know that almost every hotel will mail things out for you? Yep. The charge is small compared to what an airline will charge you for an overweight bag.

3. Staying on an executive floor or paying for hospitality lounge privileges can save you a lot of money. I've eaten one breakfast and two evening meals in the hospitality lounge. It has been quick, convenient, and I didn't have to pay an outrageous charge for room service. Plus, I was able to print out my boarding pass from the hospitality room.

4. Instead of bringing along pill bottles, I tape labels to sandwich baggies. These say, "Mon AM" and "Tues PM" and so on. Then I separate out all my pills and supplements into bowls at home. Finally, I pour the pills/supplements into the baggies. It's much easier to transport the baggies and I never have pill bottles open up and spill out.

5. Trips are a great time to toss old yucky stuff. I'm talking about those socks that are wearing thin. The undies that you've had too long. Pack 'em, wear 'em, toss 'em.

6. Always carry a lot of one and five dollar bills. The housemaids work so hard! Leaving a couple of dollars per day can make a tremendous difference in their lives. Tip generously. You'll feel good and create good karma.

7. Always, always put anything that can leak in a plastic bag. It never fails. If it could leak, it will!

8. Bring along your own GPS. It's familiar and you know how to use it.

9. Never leave anything on your bed that might get mixed up in the covers. For example, don't race out of the room after tossing your jammies on your unmade bed. Hotels employ folks just to strip the beds, and they race around to do it. Your jammies will wind up in a huge tunnel stuffed with dirty sheets and grubby towels from all over the hotel. Not good. Not clean. Ugh.

10. If there's a problem with the location of your room, ask to move immediately. I checked in here, and discovered my room was right next to chairs in a vestibule where people congregated to chat. I politely called down and told the front desk that this wouldn't work--and they moved me. Waiting is more problematic because you have to re-pack all your stuff. Do it right away, and be done with it.  Tip: If you wind up next to the vending machines or ice machine and they won't move you, put a sign on all the machines that says, "Out of Order." Because it is, as far as you are concerned.

One of the best books I've read all year is Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky. It's funny, quick, and educational!

Okay, what are your best travel tips?


Dru said...

You gave some great tips and no 5 is the best tip anyone has told me...lightens up the suitcase for your return home.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Lots of good suggestions, Joanna. I do travel some and will keep them in mind next time I'm heading out!

Miss Merry said...

Isn't it illegal to carry your drugs in unmarked containers? I always cart mine in the giantic bottles they come in :(

Betty Hechtman said...

I love travel tips. Thanks for sharing. You really did just miss me in Vegas. We stayed at the Venetian, but my favs are the Mirage and the Wynn.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Miss Merry, I don't know about that. My "pills" are mainly supplements. If you travel a lot, you might want to ask your pharmacist. Even if you just ask for small bottles or a copy of your prescription.