Are you ready for travel?
After being confined for more than a year due to Covid, many people are eager to travel. However, travel, as we have known it in the past, is almost nonexistent. The thread of the Covid virus is ever-present, and people are even more stressed than the everyday stresses of travel. Here are a few things I think will prepare you for this new travel normal and help you decide if you are ready for your journey.
When headed to the airport, be reminded that while realities of 9/11 made you take things off at the airport. Covid facts will make you put on masks. Remember that the airport is federal property, and masks are required. It’s also a busy and, at times, loud place. So, speaking with a cover on and hearing things clearly because the person you are interacting with also has a mask on can be complex. Prepare to repeat yourself repeatedly. Also, know that you may be asked several times to comply with the mask mandate, whether you agree with it or not.
Airlines have cut back on their offerings and services while at the same time increasing prices. Previously, you would be offered a beverage service on some longer flights, followed by a lunch or dinner service. Currently, you may be offered a plastic bag with a small bottle of water, a cookie, and a hand wipe. Others may provide a shelf-stable snack or snack box, often for purchase. As limited as these offerings are, the reality is that there is never enough variety or supply for everyone on the plane. In addition, the offerings are often way overpriced but the only thing on offer.
In addition, the airplane can now often resemble a small cafeteria. Savvy travelers know in advance of the limited supply of food onboard the aircraft, so they bring their meals and snacks. The airplane, a closed tube, is filled with the aroma of fried chicken, tuna sandwiches, cobb salads, and any other smelly food passengers bring to consume. During this food buffet, other passengers who may have had a challenging day without the opportunity or means to get an airport meal often sit by hungry and with increasing frustration.
Travelers need to be aware that their expectations will often not meet reality. Therefore, people should question if they are ready for travel, especially as it is today. The best advice is to prepare for your trip, not only for the destination but for the journey in reaching your destination. How do you, or are you prepared for travel? I’d like to know.
5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.
Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.
1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.
2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.
3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.
4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.
5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.
I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.
5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.
As an avid world traveler who has done this both professionally and personally, my carry-on is always semi-packed. Here are my tips and advice on the 5 items I consider must-haves and should always be in my carry on.
1. A lingerie organizer bag (details on another blog post). The one I use has two sides, one for clean underwear and the other for dirty. You never want to get them confused!
2. An electronic organizer bag (blog post coming). With people being so connected it is so inconvenient to lose connectivity and most hotels do not provide enough power outlets for the technology we use in our daily lives.
3. A toothbrush which in my opinion is even more needed than the electronic organizer. Many people pack this in their suitcase but with the chances of your luggage being lost, I like to always have this at hand.
4. A medicine bag with items like Tums, ibuprofen, cold medicine, etc. I tend to also have eye masks, face masks, prescription medications, band-aids, Neosporin, alcohol pads, and such (more on another post).
5. Finally I always have a small makeup bag with the basics like mascara, lip moisturizer, lipstick, makeup remover cloths, toner, and face moisturizer. These are always found at beauty supply stores and pharmacies in travel sizes.
You make have other priorities for your carry-on. If so, what are they? I’d love to find out.
Unexpected travel experiences!
Every once in a while, travel brings some unexpected challenges. Recently my family had an unexpected travel experience. The current COVID policy with taxi services is that no passenger sits next to the driver. Therefore with 3 or more passengers an Uber XL or similar is needed. Unfortunately, this comes with third-row seating and unless you are familiar with the car you get, it is up to the driver to let the third-row passenger out of the car.
My brother, wife, and two nieces recently traveled to New York and took an Uber XL from the airport. As they arrived at the hotel, my brother, wife and one niece got out of the Uber waiting on the driver to let my other niece out of the third-row seat. As this was happening a random man jumped in the car and proceeded to carjack the Uber with my niece still inside. My quick-thinking other niece jumps back into the Uber and now both have been carjacked.
Everyone calls 911 and my brother tracking the Uber drive, jumps into a cop car with the Uber driver and the chase begins. However, the carjacker realizes he is being tracked and dumps the Uber driver’s phone. Meanwhile, my nieces are in the Uber screaming to get out, and as standard in NYC, no one pays attention. They demand to be released and the driver complies but somehow they decided they would not get out unless they had their luggage. The carjacking resumes and my nieces must have been screaming so much that the carjacker one again and stops and puts them out with their luggage. My nieces are then picked up by a pursuing cop who takes them to the precinct while the chase continues for the carjacker.
I don’t know how that chase ended but it was an unexpected trip and experience for my nieces and my family. I’ve never had anything remotely similar happen in my travel experiences. It was a reminder that in all travel we need to be vigilant and self-aware.
Have you had any unexpected travel experiences? I’d love to hear about it.