Archive for the ‘Travel Issues’ Category

Quick Packing Tip
January 11, 2010

This may be less of a packing tip, and more of a “What Not to Wear to the Airport” tip.

This weekend I went to Chicago for my sister’s bachelorette party. I left for the airport about twenty hours after arriving home from Manila, so there wasn’t a lot of time to get ready. Friday morning was frantic, running around doing laundry, Scotch-guarding boots, running errands, and packing.  Let’s just say that I was running late. Very late.

Luckily, I had printed out my boarding pass ahead of time, and when I got to the airport (with about five minutes until boarding time) there was no line at security. Yes! I thought. I will make it, and maybe have enough time to get lunch. I go to the security line, get all my stuff (laptop, shoes, toiletry bag) ready to go in the bins. Send it through the machine. Go to walk through the X-ray machine and…..beeeeeeeep!!  Yes, friends, that was me, setting off the alarm on the machine, for the first time in possibly five years.

I look down and realize—it is my shirt. In preparation for going out to dinner straight from the airport, I had worn one of my favorite winter-time party shirts. It is a black V-neck, with a large black and silver brooch sewn into the middle. Yes, I literally put on a shirt made of metal and tried to walk through the machine at the airport. Did not even occur to me that this would be a problem.

So as the very nice TSA lady pats me down, I watched the first group start to board my plane. And the second. And I pick up my shoes and suitcase and run to get in line, gasping for air, as my group is about to board. I made it, barely. I’ve decided to blame sleep deprivation from the Manila trip for the whole debacle.  But don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson!!

So this quick packing tip is: Don’t wear shirts with metal sewn in them to the airport! It will slow you down and make things complicated.

Happy travels!


Full Body Scanners vs. Privacy
December 31, 2009

There have been a lot of articles this week, everywhere from NPR to MSNBC to Huffington Post, about the new full-body scanners that may make an appearance in airports around the US.  Some say the high tech scanners could have prevented the would-be terrorist from getting onto the plane on Christmas Day.  The main reason these scanners have not been put in very many airports is because they see through clothing and form a full body image on a screen, which privacy advocates are concerned about. It can “show the body’s contours with embarrassing clarity” and perform “virtual strip searches” (from AP).

Of course I want our country and airways to be safer. But is this the answer? I don’t know. What do you think? Is it worth it to sacrifice this much privacy?

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 (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 (
  • 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!