The Joys of Flying

My most current business trip started as most do: I called Uber for my lift to the airport while doing some last-second packing. After many years of traveling for work, I have fitting it all in down pat, although this pre-trip rush always gives me adrenaline. At the airport, I head to a different terminal, as I’m flying on US Airways this particular trip. As a long-time American Airlines fan, I was dreading flying this merging airline, especially with some updates announced today that are sending us frequent AA flyers into a tailspin.

Nevertheless, my trip went was fairly non-eventful–except for some small hiccups. So, here are some friendly reminders for all of us on a flying metal tube to have a pleasant flight:

  • Although your ring tone is a loud “Sweet Child of Mine” by the great Guns ‘N Roses, after the plane door is closed, it’s probably a good idea to silence your phone and have it in airplane mode.
  • Come to think of it, phones should always be in quiet mode during a flight, especially when you’re composing emails the entire trip. That means you, 6B.
  • I can’t understand why passengers seated in the rear of the plane place their carry on luggage near the bulkhead. Those spots fill up so fast, then those who are by law required to stow all luggage have nowhere to put their belongings…which can cause delays!
  • What you’re grabbing for balance every time you get out of your seat is actually the back of the passenger’s in front of you. Remember: we’re all in this together!
  • I’ve read multiple times recently in travel forums how few people actually respond to the flight attendants when they greet boarding travelers. I decided to preempt their greetings with one cheerful “good morning!!” of my own. It’s not only the polite thing to do, but they have been very lovely in response.

Hopefully, this week’s post comes across as a positive one. Travel is definitely my passion, even though I have to remind myself during delayed flights and encounters with rude passengers. We road warriors must remember that it’s all worth it–especially the opportunity to experience new cities, meet new people from around the world, and enjoy the rare–but incredible!–personal excursions we get to take.

 

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Six Hours in Riga

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I must admit it: I am a fan of the Olympics (even though some of the news reports about Sochi have been less-than-stellar). There is nothing like the thrill of watching the Norwegian men’s curling team (and their crazy-awesome pants) … Continue reading

Crossing Phuket Off of My Bucket List

Our trip to Thailand begain with more than 24 hours of travel on Hainan Airlines (which we referred to as “Mystery Airline” prior to departure, but it was oh-so-fabulous). My friend Brandi and I arrived at the then brand new Renaissance Resort in on Mai Khao for a refreshing welcome drink with our third traveling companion, Linda. Let me tell you something about Linda: she was kind enough to use her Marriott points to treat us all to three days in paradise in Phuket, and she definitely completed the triumvirate of awesomeness.

We had so much fun lounging on the Mai Khao Beach, giggling though little inside trip jokes, trying new foods, and getting lovely Thai massages by the ocean (an hour of massage bliss for $10? Priceless!) We could have spent our entire time in Phuket at our hotel, yet we did spend one day journeying outside of our resort–shopping for handcrafted souvenirs, buying local artwork–I purchased two matching Thai angel paintings–and experiencing the amazing cuisine.

A highlight of our time on Phuket was our trek into the jungle…on an elephant! The giant beasts were very sturdy, as they hiked through foliage—rubber trees!—to show us a stunning view of the sea. After we disembarked, we got to feed our new friends bananas, and nothing is as surreal as having two elephant trunks in your personal space…I loved it!

After our elephant experience, we decided to head over to Phuket Town, where we walked through quaint shops and visited with the shopkeepers. We left after three wonderful days for Bangkok (more Thailand adventures here), yet I would highly recommend Phuket as a stop in any luxurious Thailand itinerary.

How to Fit It All In (Part II)

Since I began my blog earlier this year, the most popular post has been “How to Fit It All In (Part I).” I recently was on a two and a half week vacation/business trip to Europe, and I used my packing strategy–including using my Ogio backback and my Samsonite Suite-case–to prevent having to check a bag. You can see exactly what I packed in the infographic below.

How to Fit It All In (Part II)

How to Fit It All In (Part II)

Some other tips:

  • Always wear your bulkiest clothes/shoes on the flight; on this trip, I wore my workout clothes and tennis shoes on the plane.
  • Invest in SpaceBags. I use three on each trip, and they are incredible. Usually, I place my clothes in the larger bag, zip it, place on the floor, and use my knees to remove the air from the bag. Fold it in half and repeat.
  • Buy a sturdy liquids bag and keep filled with travel sized containers, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
  • Pick a color of shoes/accessories and stick with it. For example, I only pack black shoes, belts, handbags, etc., and I make sure all of my outfits work with them.
  • Do you really need to pack heels for Europe? I tossed in my wedge sandals at the last minute and did not wear them once.

Hope this entry has been helpful. I’d love to know…how do YOU fit it all in?

Belize It or Not!

Instead of a calm vacation where we languished by the beach, three girlfriends and I had an action-packed few days in Central America. We were wonderfully greeted upon arrival at Ka’ana, our lovely boutique hotel, even though this welcome soured by the end of the trip with hidden fees and sneaky charges. We stayed in Casita Two (Xa) and happily explored the grounds and enjoyed the pool area.

Our first full day there, we ziplined through the jungle before cave tubing. I highly recommend our tour company, cave-tubing.com, who picked us up from our hotel and safely delivered us home after a delicious local meal of red beans and rice. At the end of day one, we visited San Jose Succotz, a nearby Belizean village. There, we went shopping for handmade souvenirs and walked around the small community. We treated ourselves to pure sugarcane Coca-Colas and caught a local futbol game. Here, we really soaked up the culture of Belize!

Our second day took us to Tikal in nearby Guatemala, which I’ll save for a future post. I will say that it was magical. The last full day in paradise was spent at Xunantunich—another Mayan archaeological site—which we traveled to on horseback! This last-minute plan of riding horseback from Hanna Stables was absolutely the highlight of our time in Belize. We dubbed our guide Santiago “the most interesting man in the world,” as he shared his family’s history, took us over a hand-cranked ferry to the ruins, and treated us to an incredible meal at the Clarissa Falls Resort. His knowledge and warm hospitality made our trip that much more special.

Our last adventure in Belize was spending a happening Monday night dining in San Ignacio, where we dined at Ko-Ox Han-Nah. This place was worth the trip into town, as we once again feasted on the simple local fare before walking around the city center and enjoying the August evening breeze. (My one caution from this entire vacation: pack mosquito repellent!) While we didn’t get to see the famous Blue Hole, as we flew in and out of Belize City and were on the Western side of Belize, we had an adventure-filled three days in paradise! Belize it…or not!

How to Fit It All In (Part I)

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I often get the question: “how do you carry-on on an international flight?” Here is Part Une: the Ogio backpack (aka carry-on item one). You can view this infographic to see what I fit into my trusty pink carry-one. Stay tuned for more packing tips!

How to Fit It All In (Part I)

How to Fit It All In (Part I)

Whyoming Not?

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As a frequent business traveler, I spend anywhere from 40-60% of my work time away from home. I usually attempt to attach dinner with friends or grab drinks with colleagues while in far-away cities like Helsinki, Melbourne, and Chicago. Earlier … Continue reading