Archive for the ‘Making travel easier’ Category

Long Flight Comfort Part 2
January 7, 2010

Winners and Losers

Seat Cushion—loser  😦 Again, I think this could be useful but because I got to lie down across four seats on the flight from Tokyo to Manila I did not need it. So I guess maybe it’s not really a loser, just not a winner?

Travel blanket—loser 😦 Maybe it’s because Japan Airlines is really good, or maybe because technically I was flying internationally so they had more amenities. But they have blankets there that are lightly stitched together after washing so you know nobody has used it before you. So needless to say I did not use my travel blanket. Also, I know that they post dimensions on Amazon, but I swear this thing was way bigger than I expected.

Compression socks—winner!! Actually, big winner.  They are not perfect, as I could still see some mild swelling in my feet.  My ankles were barely bigger than normal, though, which is a minor miracle. Considering that I was in transit for 27 hours total, I think they worked amazingly well.

Slippers—winner!!  They were very helpful on the long flight. Highly recommend for long flights.

Toiletries—neutral.  I didn’t end up needing any of these things, as American Airlines gives you a little bag with toiletries in it when you fly Business Class. But if I were in coach the whole way I would definitely need these items.

I guess the bottom line is that if you are lucky enough to get upgraded, long flights are much more comfortable without you having to do anything.  However, if I were in coach I think I would use all of the items I brought. So I guess that means everyone is a winner! Go team Road Warriorette!

Okay I think the lack of sleep may be making me delusional. Can’t wait to get back home!

Long Flight Comfort Update 1
January 5, 2010

This is the Winners and Losers version, Part 1.

Kindle—Winner!!  Normally for a two day trip I will bring 4 books. For a trip with 50 hours of flying I brought 8, on my Kindle. The first thing I noticed as I was picking up my purse to leave for the airport was how light it was. Awesome! I have read two books so far, and my eyes have not hurt at all, which I was concerned about. It has been great! The only problem is that I did not receive my case before I left, so I am constantly worried about dropping it or breaking it.

Eye mask—Winner!! Of course, I didn’t end up needing the one I bought because they give you one in Business Class on American, which I didn’t realize. Oh well.  Not only did I use the eye mask on both long flights, but I used it in my hotel room yesterday when I was sleeping during the day (remember, I’m working at night and sleeping during the day).  The only disconcerting moment came on the first flight when the nice man beside me had to wake me up so he could get out of his seat. It was pitch black even when I opened my eyes, and there was a quiet, unknown, Japanese-accented voice in my ear. Took a minute  🙂

Ear plugs—loser 😦  I didn’t end up using them, because when it comes down to it, it creeps me out. I didn’t realize this until I was about to put them in. Maybe I will try again, maybe not.  What I did end up using was my iPhone White Noise app with headphones, and that was great. With the eye mask on and the white noise going in my ears, it was like I was the only one on the plane!

Seat Organizer—Loser  😦  I still think this could be really useful, but it took up a lot of room in my backpack that I just didn’t have to spare, so I didn’t even bring it. I think for another trip it could work, so I’m going to try again.

Next edition:  Seat cushion, travel blanket, and compression socks. Fun times!

Long Flight Comfort
January 2, 2010

Tomorrow I leave for Manila. It takes 26 hours of travel time just to get there. So I leave Sunday morning and land (because of the time difference) on Monday night. Wow! That is a long, long time in the air.  I will be honest, I have never been on a plane or in transit this long.  Luckily I got upgraded to Business Class during the longest flight, from DFW to Tokyo, which is fourteen hours. However that still leaves me with a five hour flight from Tokyo to Manila in coach, so I want to be as comfortable as possible.

Because of this long flight, I am trying several new things to facilitate my comfort. Here is a quick rundown of what and why, and I will come back (hopefully throughout the week, assuming my internet connection is solid) and give updates on how everything worked.

Kindle—I am very excited about this! Instead of packing 10 books for the combined 52 hours of flying, I am just bringing the Kindle. So much easier!

Eye mask and earplugs—hopefully this will help me sleep

Seat organizer—I am iffy about this, but if it makes things easier I am willing to try it. Basically it hangs on the back of the seatback tray in front of you and has room for glasses, a water bottle, books, a newspaper, etc.

Seat cushion—I know it’s probably silly, but five hours sitting sounds so long! I want to be as comfy as possible.

Travel blanket—I know in coach travel blankets are scarce (and sometimes scary). This one folds us into its own fairly small case.

Compression socks—trying to keep my feet from swelling! My mom swears by these. We shall see.

Slippers—so I don’t have to wear shoes all the time but can still get up and move if I need to

Toiletries—I’m also taking a little bag with chapstick, moisturizer, facial mist, and lotion so I don’t get dried up

For the actual trip in Manila, I am bringing a couple of new things.

Clothespins—Because I will be working at night and sleeping during the day, a friend recommended I bring these to keep the curtains closed

Emergen-C—because I will surely be somewhat sleep deprived. Got to keep the energy up!

Tune in throughout the week so I can (hopefully) update you on how everything worked out!!

Quick Packing Tip
December 20, 2009

Last week I met a nice woman on the flight home from Nashville. It was her first business trip, and she was telling me about her day.  It had not gone as smoothly as one might hope, and she ended it with, “And I only got five hours of sleep  because the flight last night was delayed, and this morning I had to get up and iron my pants!”

This may be a no brainer for a lot of us, but, friends, when you are traveling, please do not pack anything that needs to be ironed. I am not a big fan of clothes that need to be ironed anyway, but especially during traveling.  By the time you get to your hotel, you just want to check your email and go to bed! You don’t want to stay up (or get up early) to iron. There are so many professional, cute, non-wrinkly clothes that you can take! There are even button downs now that you don’t have to iron.

My go-to outfit for travel during the winter is a pair of no-wrinkle black slacks, like these from TravelSmith, a sweater like this one from Banana Republic, a jacket, scarf, and cute (professional yet comfy) flats like these. When you get to your hotel, pull your clothes out of your suitcase and hang them up, and in the morning you will be good to go. Without ironing.

Gift Guide for the Road Warriorette in Your Life
December 16, 2009

Finding presents for the people you love can be tricky. But never fear! Road Warriorette is here to give you a few suggestions for the lady traveler in your life.

Suitcase

The one thing required for all overnight trips. Ogio luggage is lightweight, durable, and the pockets will expand to amazing proportions. Mine fits into all overhead luggage carriers on normal sized airplanes.

Travel Kit and Travel Bottles

I love these Aveda travel bottles. I have used them for years and they have never leaked or broken. It’s nice to have a pump and varying shapes as well. Of course, you can’t send the cute green bag through security (make-up case anyone?), but you can pop the Aveda bottles into this clear, TSA-approved quart size bag that is infinitely more durable then that holey zipoc bag your loved one has been carrying around. And here is yet another super cute option for travel bottles! Great stocking stuffers.

Noise Canceling Headphones

There are a ton of great ones on the market. Here is a comprehensive review from CNet of top brands and a range of prices.

Pashmina

I don’t need to make another post about the Pashmina and all of its wonderful uses. Just know that it would be a perfect  gift for your favorite traveler.

Travel Purse or Briefcase

This beautiful (but pricey!) Tumi bag is a great example of functionality, shape, and attractiveness in a carry-on bag. However other (less expensive) bags would be great as well.

Business Card Holder

One of my favorite blogs gives a range of pretty choices in a range of options. Good for all people with business cards, not just travelers!

Travel Yoga Tools

I would be lost on the road without my yoga. Here is a great, lightweight version of my everyday mat so your favorite traveling lady can get through her asanas without slipping on the floor on a hotel towel (been there, it’s not awesome). Another great travel-friendly option is the Manduka Equa Towel from Lulu Lemon.

Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

The book about our lives! I will watch the movie before I read the book, but I hope someone gets me this for Christmas 🙂

Kindle

I don’t have a Kindle but I want one! Don’t pack 10 books for a two-week trip, just take your Kindle. Genius.

Travel Document Holder

Great for the traveler who is flying internationally on a regular basis. Keep your boarding pass and your passport together!  And this one is so bright, it will never get lost in the depths of your bag.

Travel care kit—Emergen-C, eyemask, earplugs

A few travel necessities can make a great stocking stuffer!

Travel Toiletries
December 11, 2009

This is one of those tough situations. It is so hard to feel beautiful while traveling, but it is one of the most important times! When you have to worry about remembering all of your presentation, your giveaways, and all the little details of working in a place NOT your office; or when dealing with the constant hassle of airline travel–you don’t want to have to worry about your hair, or if your makeup looks right.  (Or, like this week, it rained heavily all the days that you traveled. sigh)

This means that one of the trickiest things about traveling a lot is condensing all of your toiletries into 3 oz containers and then fitting them into a tiny little one-quart bag. It’s enough that we have to cut down on the number of shoes we bring, but the toiletries too? I know some people have just never adapted, and choose to check their bags even though it’s a pain. Just like packing your clothes, it forces you to make choices and only take what you truly need.

I have three small bags for my toiletries—one for makeup, one for non-liquid items, and the plastic quart-size bag for my liquids.  I have found that packing a few smaller bags is easier that trying to cram one larger one into not a lot of room.  I’m not going to talk too much about makeup—you know what you need to feel beautiful and polished, so take those things and figure out a way to make it fit into a small bag.  Below is my list for what I take for the other two bags. Change it around to suit your needs, but know that it can be done—a woman can take all the toiletries she needs in two small bags.

Non-liquids

  • Toothbrush
  • Contacts case
  • Glasses
  • Razor
  • Comb

Liquids–travel sizes (3 oz or less) of all

  • Face wash
  • Contact solution
  • Body wash (from a hotel)
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant (full size—I can’t find a travel size of my favorite deodorant)
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Hair smoother

Next time I will give recommendations of which toiletries I use, and love. Have a great weekend everybody!!

DFW has what??
November 10, 2009

This morning I was walking (okay, running) through Terminal C in DFW when something so amazing, so important, so impossibly exciting caught my eye that I skidded to a stop. What is this incredible vision, you ask? Yes, my friends, DFW now has a Sephora vending machine.

If you have read any of my previous posts you know that I love Sephora. I spend lots of time and money there. Makeup, shampoo, face cleansers….everything you need to be beautiful is there. And now they have the mini version in a vending machine at DFW airport.

It has everything a girl on the go needs (and might have forgotten at home). All the necessities! Makeup, shampoo, face cleansers….it is like all of the best products from the store distilled into one perfect place. There are also full kits available in case you forgot all of your stuff, from makeup kits to hair product kits to face kits. All in precious travel sizes.

The world of airport vending machines is no longer dominated by Best Buy and Netflix. Now the girls get something too! Next time I am in Terminal C I will stop by to say hi, look longingly at all the fun stuff, and maybe take a picture.  Maybe I’ll get really lucky and forget something in Salt Lake City and need to buy something! Fun, fun times.

Sleeping when traveling
October 7, 2009

What an amazing two weeks! Music festivals, travel (always travel), spending time with friends….busy but wonderful. There was so much going on there was barely time to sleep! And we all know that sleep is critical to being able to function at our fullest capacity. This is even more true when traveling, but when you’re not in your own bed sleep can be hard to come by. Whether it’s the ridiculously loud heating unit in your room, or the constant chime of the elevator, that last cup of coffee rolling through your system, or even tomorrow’s presentation running endlessly through your mind—there are tons of obstacles to sleep on the road. Here are a few tips from the experts at webmd.com (with a little input from me).

Some background:

  • Losing as little as 90 minutes of sleep in one night can reduce your alertness the next day by one-third
  • In a study done by Alertness Solutions, business travelers rated themselves as performing at a much higher level than they actually did (20%!!)
  • Study participants had lost a cumulative total of eight hours of sleep by the end of their trip, the equivalent of one full night’s sleep

Tips for a better night’s sleep on the road

  •  Get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave. In the Alertness Solutions study, participants got less than five hours of sleep the night before travel. They are starting out their trip almost half a night’s sleep in the hole! I have been guilty of this, and will do better.
  • Try to stay in a hotel that has excellent mattresses and bedding.  My favorites are Hampton Inn, Marriott, and some Embassy Suites.
  • Cut out caffeine four to six hours before bed
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. You might think that a glass of wine before bed will help you relax into sleep, but after it clears your system you may experience headaches, sweats, or nightmares that could wake you and disturb your sleep.
  • Relax before bedtime. Develop a routine that works for you that will de-stress you before bed. Some light stretching, restorative yoga, a hot bath, reading, a cup of hot (decaf!) tea….I have downloaded the “Meditation Now 2” app for my iPhone and do a 10 minute meditation before bed when traveling. It soothes me, and before I know it I am drifting off.
  • Exercise at the right time for you. People who exercise when traveling sleep better. I know it’s hard to fit in between meetings and dinners, but even twenty minutes will make a difference. I try to do an abbreviated yoga routine that takes about thirty minutes every day when I’m traveling (http://ys.austinwebsiteservice.com/sequences/happiness.html).
  • Don’t eat heavily right before bed, but don’t go to bed hungry. This is the hardest one for me. Because I am at meetings and trainings all day, I have to go to the hotel after work to check my email. I often don’t get to dinner until after 8, then by the time I get back to the hotel it’s almost 10. I am trying to do better! Going to bed with a very full stomach is very uncomfortable.
  • If it is noise keeping you up, try downloading a white noise track to your computer or iPod. I have a great one that has helped me many times over the years.
  • Some people have suggested taking a Tylenol PM or some other night-time medicine. If this works for you, have at it. I have to be really careful about this because I often have crazy dreams that make me feel like I haven’t slept, and then I wake up feeling really draggy when I take Tylenol PM. So for me it is the absolute last resort.

The most important thing to remember is that sleep affects your performance, your mood, your attitude, and your happiness! It can be the difference between having a great, productive trip that you feel good about, or a mediocre trip that you kind of feel was a waste of time. So take these tips to heart, make sleep a priority, and sweet dreams!

Travel tips for the temporarily handicapped
August 20, 2009

Earlier this year I had the misfortune of breaking my foot.  Luckily, I had no trips scheduled for immediately after my fall.  However when the time came for me to have to travel, I was flummoxed. I was on crutches—how could I carry a suitcase, get from my car to the gate, and then to the hotel?  I could drive, so that wasn’t a problem, but the rest of it worried me for two weeks. I searched the web for advice on how to travel while on crutches, but (again) couldn’t find anything really helpful. So, I muddled through on my own. Here are my tips for any who may find themselves in my situation.

1)      If you can, pack everything in a backpack.

I know it is not the ideal situation, but if you are used to carrying on and you don’t want to check your bag, a backpack is the only way to be self-sufficient. I pared down to only the necessities and was able to fit it all in my amazing expanding backpack (similar to this one http://www.buy.com/prod/wenger-synergy-laptop-backpack-by-swissgear-r-maker-of-the-genuine/q/loc/16234/10393071.html ).

2)      Get a purse that fits cross body

This way your purse is not in the way of your crutches.  With my backpack and my cross-body purse I was able to crutch around without aid a lot of the time. Much nicer than having to have someone follow you around carrying your roller bag.

3)      Have a lot of $1 bills for tipping the nice wheelchair people

Carry around $30-40 in $1 bills, depending on how many flights you have.  Assume that you will have one person wheel you from the ticket counter to your gate, another wheel you down the ramp to your plane, another wheel you from the plane to the gate, yet another wheel you from one gate to the next, and so on. You don’t have to tip all of them the same amount, but I assume around $2 per person (unless they wheel you for a long time, like they did for me in the Chicago airport).   While they wheel you your backpack and purse can go on your lap, and you can balance your crutches on the footrest of the wheelchair.

4)      Call the airlines ahead of time to request wheelchairs and assistance

Most airlines are really good about assisting people who need it. I called my company travel agent and the airlines to make sure I was in the system as someone who needed wheelchair assistance and seats that were easy to get to.

I hope this helps you! Of course, really I hope that you don’t get into this situation in the first place….and I hope it never happens to me again!

Sending good balance to all of my traveling sisters!

-RoadWarriorette