Theft on an airplane.

Theft on an airplane.

Most travelers never stop to think of having their items stolen on board an airplane. I recently took a women’s safety awareness class.  The one thing that stood out to me is that most crimes are crimes of opportunity.  Although theft on the airplane is rare, it does occur.  In most cases, the person never realizes that they were victims until after the flight.  Unfortunately, flight crews can do very little if it happens in flight unless the person is caught red-handed.  Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when traveling to prevent your items from being stolen on the airplane.

Place luggage across from your seat

Many travelers like to place their carry-on luggage directly above their seats.  When you are seated on an aisle seat, you can usually see what happens when someone goes into the overhead bin.  However, when you are sitting in a middle or window seat, you cannot see your luggage if it is directly overhead.  Your items can be stolen right before you without you knowing it has happened.  When you place your luggage across from your seat, you will always see it and anyone that handles it.

Lock your carry-on

Travelers assume that they only must secure their checked luggage, and I would advise that you lock and protect your carry-on luggage as well.  Remember that overhead bin space is shared space, and there is no guarantee that you will be able to stow your carry-on items at or near your seat.  On most crowded flights, especially during holidays, overhead bin space gets full very quickly.

Make your bag easily identifiable

Many bags look alike, and some dishonest travelers take advantage of that fact.  If caught, their excuse is that they thought it was their bag.  Place something on your bag that makes it easily identifiable, like a brightly colored ribbon, sticker, or bag tag.  Anything that differentiates your luggage will discredit the excuse of unintentional handling of your carry-on luggage.

Stow your valuables well

Many people like to have their wallets or purses at hand.  Unfortunately, this can be a perfect crime of opportunity for a fellow traveler.  Once you are onboard an airplane, there is no need to have your purse or wallet out.  Most airlines now are cashless, so having a single credit card accessible is enough for most travelers.

Use common sense

If you go to the restroom, take your purse or wallet.  Men tend to remove their wallets or phones from their back pockets and place them in the seatback pocket, and women will leave their purses unattended to go to the restroom.  In both these cases, travelers leave the opportunity open to become victims of theft.  The person traveling next to you is usually a stranger.  You may never see them again in life, and it is not likely to get to know them well while onboard.  Even though your seatmate or fellow travelers can be friendly, always remember that they are strangers.

I hope you have never experienced any theft while onboard an airplane.  I have seen it happen, and I know it can happen.  Be careful and use your common sense. Have you ever given theft on the airplane a thought? As always, your comments are welcome.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

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.

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!

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.

Massage, one of the best things for self care.

Massage, one of the best things for self care.

They are plenty of different types of travelers. Backpackers, weekenders, thrill seekers, and holiday travelers are but a few.  I have traveled extensively for work and pleasure and I consider myself a spa traveler.  For me, travel is not just to have been to a destination or to check it off my bucket list, I travel for the experience of travel.  Most importantly, a spa visit to wherever I go is a must as I believe that self care is the best care.

With Covid 19, travel is limited, but it is limitless in my mind.  Inner travel often takes me back to many of my previous travel experiences as well as the ones I’d like to have.  Lately, getting at home massages has been a way for me to elevate my inner travel experience. I believe that a massage is one of the best things for self care, a way to treat yourself and take a break from life.  For an hour, I can do nothing but be still and have someone concentrate on me, the ultimate getaway.

What travel experiences do you think you can bring to your life without leaving the presence of your home?  Can you make a cocktail or cocktail and take an hour for yourself? Can you just sit still and watch the world go by on your street or neighborhood?  Just people watch like we do when we’re on vacation and curious about the people and places we see.  Try it and let me know how bringing the inner travel experience to life works for you.

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