Plan B: My Top Three Travel Tips

July 29, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

I just read a story on Reuters about angry travelers in China smashing computers. I don't know what the whole story is, but, I'm here to offer my three favorite travel tips, to ward off such ugliness.

Flying isn't pretty anymore. You have to come prepared to take care of yourself (personal responsibility: there's a concept!) What? You were expecting the airline to take care of you? Oh, please! Your airline can barely take care of itself!! You have to know that travel is full of what-ifs: weather, mechanical problems, staffing issues, and legalities--it is not a perfect system. Know that bad things can happen and you may have to go to Plan B. Sadly, most people never, ever have a Plan B.

With that in mind, here are my top three travel tips:

Favorite Travel Tip #1: Dress appropriately.

Flight Attendants all over the world just sort of shake our collective heads when we see Little Skinny Lady boarding our airplane in a tank top, shorts and sandals.

Our planes seem to have zones which are generally divided into two sections: hell and meat locker. This means you are either hot or freezing. Little Skinny Lady? I can assure you she is seated in the meat locker section. So, while Little Skinny Lady is leaving a hot summer climate and traveling to an even hotter, tropical climate, she is an ice cube for 5 miserable hours on my plane. Why? Because she has brought no jacket, no pashmina, no sweatshirt...and there is nothing I can do to help her--Little Skinny Lady was in the last boarding group, so, of the 20 nasty, dirty blankets we have onboard, they were taken by the 100 people that boarded the plane before she did and there are none to give her. I've called the cockpit: they are doing their best to regulate an antiquated heating system. And, there are no other seats to move her to. As we come through with the beverage cart, she will, with chattering teeth, order coffee. It really doesn't help much, though...

So, Plan B is to start out your trip and dress in layers. Or at least carry a sweatshirt and wear jeans and not shorts. (Plus, it is safer with jeans--should an evacuation of the aircraft occur, the jeans will afford some protection of your legs.)

Favorite Travel Tip #2: Bring food.

Pack something, just in case. An apple, crackers, granola bar, sandwich....something! (I love it when I see a couple order Chardonnay from the beverage cart and break out some cheese, fruit and bread--sorta romantic on the plane!) Even if Plan A on the plane is a meal service--you just never know how long you could be stuck in a gate area, or worse--out on the ramp (tarmac). Plan B has your own food. Food keeps you busy, nourishes you, makes you less grouchy, and makes whatever delay is occurring to be more, uh...palatable! Plus, you just may not like what the airline is serving that day. (My crew meal yesterday was loaded with onions, and me no likey onions, so I had to go to my own Plan B.)

Favorite Travel Tip #3: Know where you may have to sleep!

This one, I learned after years of commuting back and forth to work. One has to be prepared for where one may end up for the night. That means is, you may have to pay for your own hotel room at your connection city. Or plan to sleep on the floor of the airport. If a delay or cancellation is because of weather, the airline is not responsible for your overnight accommodations. It is just an ugly fact that travelers need to consider before leaving for the airport: what if? Then go to Plan B.

Plan B may be calling a long lost relative in the connection city for a place to sleep. Have his phone number with you. Or hotel chain phone numbers. Or, wad up that sweatshirt you brought to keep you warm on the plane and make it work as a pillow for you as you curl up on the floor in an airport corner.

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July 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM delete

And people laugh because I carry a luggable loo in our van (5 gallon bucket with a toilet lid--lined with garbage bag and sprinkled with biogel.) My sister in law has scoffed at me because we tent camp. See, I can be prepared for #1, #2 or sleeping in the van or in the forest--hehehe. Actually, camping has its perks. Nothing like being about 40 degrees on a Montana night, a good looking man who hasn't shaved in days and your tent and fire next to a roaring river to give you sound effects you can't buy on a CD. All without kids, of course (and believe me, that is a rarity!) Ah...makes me wish I was there right now. Sorry, can't comment on airplane rides. I haven't been on one is so long :) Love you! CuzLilBit

July 29, 2008 at 10:18 PM delete

Oh my gosh this was a great post! I love it when people w/ small children board w/ NO Plan B. Especially no food. Like you said, personal responsibility.

July 30, 2008 at 8:48 AM delete

Amen!, I couldn't have said it better myself.

July 31, 2008 at 3:27 PM delete

All great tips, Blondie! Actually, I'm planning for my October trip to Germany, and was shopping today for a blanket for my overnight flight. However, I found that the regular size blankies are way too big to pack in a carry-on, so I decided on a baby blanket. It's small enough to fit in my carry-on, and it's just big enough to cover the upper part of my body. Plus it's soooo soft!

I like the tip about the bread and cheese. I think that that is something I will try!