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.

Starting your travel journey.

Starting your travel journey.

Starting your travel journey does not have to be fancy or extravagant. I’m often asked where would be a good place to start traveling? There are plenty of options, from the Caribbean and Mexico to Europe and Asia, or even a cruise. The answer lies within the individual and what they are looking for from travel. However, there is some guidance I’d like to share if you’ve never traveled before.

Start with a staycation if possible. It is one of the easiest ways to get to know what to expect when you travel away from home. It also gives you some experience in knowing what you like, and what you don’t without spending money on airfare.

A staycation allows you to learn about the hotel check-in process.  Many first-time travelers are unaware that the hotel check-in times are usually afternoon or later. This often leaves first-time travelers with a wasted day of idling in the hotel lobby with their luggage waiting for their room to be ready. A savvy traveler plans out arrival times based on hotel check-in or arranges with the hotel for early check-in or luggage storage.

A staycation goal is to mimic a vacation setting, so it allows a non-traveler to assess what accommodations the hotel has to offer. While this might not be ideal on a planned overseas trip, many “staycationers” want to enjoy the benefits a hotel might offer that they do not have at home. This allows them to experience what they might want and not want in a hotel stay.

Another benefit of a staycation is that it often includes dining out at a unique or different restaurant. This allows non-travelers to consider what they might like from their dining experience. Many unique restaurants are not about the value, and if you are looking for value, then a more named restaurant might be a better choice. It can be frustrating while on vacation to go out to a nice restaurant and come back to the hotel to order room service because you’re not quite full.

Finally, a staycation gives you options that you might not have on a paid vacation. You might want to stay with a friend or two, which will let you know if they will make for good travel companions. You will also most likely have transportation or know your way around the city so that your options for entertaining yourself are much more plentiful.

These are my ideas on beginning your travel journey, and they may not be appropriate for everyone. However, the only way to start traveling is to do just that, and if a staycation is your start, then enjoy. What started your travel journey? I’d like to know.

Staycation tips.

Staycation tips.

Being a frequent traveler, COVID left me mentally exhausted.  I was living on an island state and Singapore, took the lockdown seriously.  The missed travel opportunities left me consumed with lockdown exhaustion, so when Singapore came up with the idea of a staycation, I was immediately on board.  Here are my five tips for making your staycation a pleasure.

1. A big bed! You’ll be spending plenty of time in bed so enjoy the pleasure of a nice large bed. The hotel will make your bed every day, and you’ll feel pampered sleeping in a freshly made bed during your stay.

2. A room with a view.  Staying in is part and parcel of the staycation so try to have a room with a view.  The higher the floor of the hotel, the more you will enjoy the view. Some hotels limit guests at the pool, gym, restaurants, and most public spaces in the hotel. While I understood this safety measure, it can restrict your hotel’s enjoyment, so having a nice view can make a big difference.

3. In-room service.  Dining out can be a big part of your travel plans, and dining in during a staycation was a guilt-free pleasure.  Even if it’s one meal a day, it can make your stay feel more like a travel experience and a way to pamper yourself.

4. A bathtub.  A bubble bath can be another indulging experience.  You will want to soak in the tub as long as you desire, so first, make sure the tub is clean.  Since you’re on a staycation, taking liquids such as bathtub cleaner with you only makes sense. Take your favorite bath oils, scents, or even floral petals like roses. The best part is you don’t have to clean the tub!

5. A night out.  Even though all restaurants are not open, some will be.  Make a reservation well in advance at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a reservation at a Michelin star restaurant that previously had a six-month waiting list. There was plenty of social distancing at the restaurant. I just told the chef my preference, let him do the cooking and deciding. It was indeed a dining-by-design experience.

Have you taken a staycation? It is well worth the splurge and can maybe relieve your travel angst.  Not to mention no airline tickets! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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.

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