The Traveler

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Flying slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo……………………………..Flying to Vancouver

.I’m traveling to NY in the near future, which got me to thinking…

Travel Tips Post!

   (Traveling Woman,  Bats for Lashes)

I’m going to send my luggage ahead by Fed Ex. Now that airlines are charging a fee per bag, why not spend just a little extra and eliminate the hassle of check-in, the extra time in security lines (which for me equates to running through the airport after my husband, still trying to get my belt through the loops) as well as an often interminable wait at the other end for your bags to hopefully come hurtling down the carousel shoot. Recently, my older son’s bags never did show up.  He’d packed electrical equipment, including new speakers and presents (not the kinds of thing you can take in carry on) and the bags were stolen.  The airline reimbursed us $0 -as in  ZERO, as they do not cover electrical or photographic equipment. They didn’t even reimburse for the cost of the luggage because we couldn’t produce luggage receipts. Extremely irritating.  Anyway, this way my bags will hopefully be ready and waiting for me at the hotel, my husband will be happier and I will arrive calm, cool and collected (perhaps just one belt loop missed)

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1) When we traveled in Bhutan with a couple of very well dressed friends, I marveled at how crisp and immaculate their collared shirts looked-even after hiking and scaling up the sides of the Bhutanese mountains (and yes, you heard me, my friends wear collared shirts while hiking-they also always stand whenever ladies are leaving or arriving at the table) I thought they must have secreted away an amazing laundress at the rustic countryside hotel we were staying in until they let me in on the secret;  Brooks Brother’s Non- Iron Shirts.  They call them Miracle Shirts, and I can see why.

Fantastic for travel, kids in college, or just anyone that doesn’t really love ironing…and I know there’s a few of you out there.  They come in both Men’s and Women’s styles.

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Tiger's Nest, Bhutan, slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo.…………………The Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan…………………..In a collared shirt

2) While we are on the subject of fashionable male travelers, how great are these Pumas?!  From the URBAN MOBILITY LINE, the Urban Flyer Fold makes slipping shoes on and off through airport security a breeze.  The back heel part just flips up and down.

“This is a brand new shoe from PUMA’s Urban Mobility Collection and won’t be available until late of February.  The shoe will be available on shop.puma.com. at select retailers including Atrium (NYC), American Rag (CA), Gimme Shoes (SF), Kitson (CA), Shoe Mania (NYC), and Madison (LA) and other select online retailers”  (from the Puma website)

Barnes & Noble Nook

3) I’m still using the first permutation of The Kindle from Amazon (not cheating on you Jeff…yet) but I was with a friend the other day who had the new “Nook” from Barnes & Noble and I must admit, I experienced a little electronic-reader envy.  Just a tad.  That coloured screen at the bottom, and the bright white of the pages caught my fancy as much as I tried to resist.

But if I got one, I wouldn’t want to part with my original Kindle as it has so many books on it, so then I’d have to carry both, plus my laptop and my iphone (and my Blackberry for out of the country) plus 17 magazines and one real book just for security and old time’s sake.

Hmmm…you see my dilemma…and the need to send baggage ahead.

and why my husband doesn’t want to be in line with me.

( The Nook $259.  Available at Amazon. KIDDING!)

And BTW, have we figured out what the iPad actually does that our laptops and iphones don’t and if we really need to get one?

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4) Are you like me and constantly leaving your adapters, chargers and battery packs plugged into the walls of your hotel room after check out? If so, these nifty little USB ports might be the perfect solution for us!  How can we miss these bright colours sitting right on the desk as opposed to the black or white of chargers in the wall outlet? They might not be the chicest knife in the drawer, but a great idea just the same-and only about $8. Think of  all the money we’ll save on replacing electronic accessories, not to mention what a great chew toy they make if you have a baby sitting next to you on the plane  :-)  (Colorful Flexible USB 2.0 Hub 4 Ports $7.89 Amazon)

5) What, besides electronics, books and magazines and any medications you can’t live without, makes you absolutely panic if you’ve forgotten once you get settled into your seat (that naturally is not the one you booked online)??  For me it’s warm socks.

 O. M. G. The very moment the realization sets in I’ve forgotten my fuzzy socks I go borderline frost-bite.  Honestly, I don’t care if my feet look like golf club covers once I’m settled in to my little Pod of Peace (God willing) for the next 5 1/2 hours (unless of course Sawyer is sitting next to me) I just cannot bare my feet being cold.

They’re chilling up now just thinking about it.

Other necessities?  Mints, travel bottle of perfume or perfumed sachets (I once sat in the midst of a soccer team on a European flight…apparently right OFF the field and onto the plane. I’ve never quite recovered) 6) Bliss Problem Salved 20-in-1 Wonder Balm, 7) Baume de Rose Lip Balm from By Terry, notepad and pen, camera, 8) Bose Quiet Comfort head phones, 9) Bananagrams, my own tea bags, a big warm scarf, layered clothing, whenever possible my own pillow, moisturizer, incense, travel candles, extra socks in every bag.

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By Terry “Baume de Rose” lip balm

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10) I now keep a “Travel Drawer” at home, where along with my bag of various adapters and extra camera batteries etc., I store my small travel pillow, things that might be fun for upcoming trips, and all sachet and small bottled free samples of moisturizers, perfumes, hand and eye-cremes, shampoos etc. I get when purchasing cosmetics.  Sometimes, if it’s just a short trip, I can get away with a toiletry bag just filled with samples, eye-make up remover, cotton pads and nothing else. It’s great.  I always check out the “travel size” section in good pharmacies when I travel too-you never know what new thing you simply can’t live without.

Lastly, a couple of “On the Plane” things we need to discuss;

-Establish your elbow room early.  It appears to be on a ‘I Was Here First’ basis.  GET THERE FIRST. If you have to go to the bathroom, put something on the armrest to mark it as yours, not unlike a theatre seat. (you’re never going to see this person again-although as Murphy’s Law goes, he’s probably the same person who saw you singing and dancing in your car on the highway last week)

-Try to avoid having ice in your drinks if at all possible. I know this is difficult if you’re American, but if you can secure bottles of water rather than cups from the flight attendant you are one step ahead of the game. If they refuse, drink cold white wine (note: IF forced to do this, maintaining control of the armrest skills might diminish)

-Start a little garbage bag at your seat and make it obvious to the person beside you you expect Martha Stewart-esque standards in your shared zone through-out the flight.  You might even want to decorate by displaying magazines prominently out of the seat pocket in front of you.  Little curtains of perfumed sachet sheets on either side of the magazine can be fun too.

- and to end on an indelicate but vitally important note:  ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure the toilet seat cover is down before you flush in those tiny bathrooms.  I once read that 100 billion zillion infinity germs spray up into the room (and on you) with the extreme pressure of plane loos.

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Please feel free to share any travel tips you may have- I’d love to hear them.

et Bon Voyage!!

36 Comments

  1. Slim, your photos are phenomonal….and I love your travel tips. I don’t get away from the ranch very often (horses+dogs+donkey+chickens+hockey-playing son=
    little travel), but when I do, I’ll refer back to these pages. I’m enjoying your blog SO much! Thanks for sharing all the beauty!

  2. Dear Slim,
    Fed X-ing luggage ahead of you is not only brilliant but manditory these days.
    My Leica D-Lux 3 was stolen from WITHIN my checked bag (I had it packed inside one of my handbags).
    Somewhere between the TSA loading dock at JFK and the baggage shoot at Termainal 7 at LAX, my luggage was opened, my handbag was ruffled through, and my camera was ripped off! (I felt soooo violated)
    After MANY phone calls and dozens of forms to fill out, I received a flat, to-the-point letter from TSA stating it was LAX’s fault….who (but of course) flatly said that it was TSA’s fault.
    Don’t you just LOVE the commercial airways?
    Anywho…I am fully recovered from that aweful experience…After reading your fab blog, I splurged and bought myself a Safari Edition Leica D-Lux 4! And I’m so happy now! :-)

    • It is not a house- it is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. It hangs on the cliff at 10,200 ft above sea level, and 2,300 ft from the bottom of the Paro Valley where you start your ascent. It is indeed a scary but magnificent perch.

  3. Dabbsie’s Do’s and Don’t for Travel

    Absolutely set aside a travel drawer or basket and toss in those handy packaged items—and hoard them the way crazy cat ladies hoard cat food.
    Never, ever visit any Chinatown—regardless of city.
    When they tell you its spicy—they mean SPICY–unlike the tame stuff that makes up spicy in the States.
    You can resurrect dead batteries for a couple of hours by rubbing them together.
    Bribery and tipping early work.
    Expensive luggage? Beat it up a bit or buy a cheap, crummy looking bag as an extra for your valuables.
    Jet Lag will win. Accept it.
    Always pack your own pillow case for hotels. Trust me. If you forget one, turn the hotel’s pillow case inside out. Take santi-wipes and disinfect the remote control–think about it.
    If you are prone to sinus infections or have drying during a flight, take some Vick’s Vapor Rub and coat your nostrils with it. This help keep things nice and flowing.
    Skip the airplane food. You’ll survive.

  4. Gorgeous photos and another great post. I really enjoy your travel shots!

    I think the kindle is essential for travel! I love it – it is always with me anywhere I anticipate a wait of any kind. As for the ipad- oh, I think it is going on the list too. It would be great anywhere you did not need the full capabilities of your laptop, but wanted to be able to access photos, music and e-mail, and surf the web.

    Best,
    Stephanie

  5. i think the ipad seems like it would be a good travel companion: you can bring your entire music collection, surf the web, check your e-mail, transfer photos from your quickly filling up memory card onto it, use it as a type of Kindle (Ibook store coming), play lots of App games, watch movies (10 hour battery life), and if you upload the Skype application on it then you have a phone on it as well. You could get away with just bringing this on your holiday and leaving your laptop, kindle, blackberry and iphone at home. For $499 and at only 1.5 lbs it might be worth buying just for travel purposes! as well, using Skype for all your long distance travel calling will probably help put that $499 back in your pocket really fast.

    and on that note, I can’t travel without my own coffee and Solo barista coffee maker….i’m a a bit of a coffee snob.

    I can’t believe you decorate your plane seat…..you were a blog waiting to happen

    those Pumas are sick…

  6. For a breath fresh and a winning smile, I’ve found these Colgate Wisp mini-tooth brushes really handy and do exactly what they say they will do. No water requires—just brush and toss.
    Try and get out of your comfort zone—-don’t ask for Cherrios, go for the Haggis.
    By the way, I just discovered Haggis is not allowed in the States. Does anyone know why?

  7. I have a separate travel bag with my shampoos, conditioners, comb, clips, rubber bands, hair bands, etc in one bag. Then I have one for just makeup that I love which is always packed for travel. so I never have to pack makeup, and cleanser etc. which takes so much time. I have one with sunblocks and lip balms with spf. You may think this sounds like a lot but it makes packing so easy. one, two three, packed. I was also given these packing checklist tablets. It has listed everything you might need to pack and you just check it off a list. EASY BREEZY. The new thing I am going to add to my Ready to Go pack list is underwear. Have at least 3 days worth of undies and bra packed and ready to go. now I travel a lot so this might not be suitable for everyone but it has made my life easier. I also pack only colors that go together when traveling to pare it down. usually in winter, black gray taupe brown. In summer, white, black, pale pink, and turquoise.

    • We also use a tablet of packing checklists with little boxes so you can check off what is packed. Makes it impossible to forget anything!

  8. SP, ditto what Canuck said, about decorating your plane seat! :D
    Also ditto travelling with own coffee and one-man-barista. The exception would be when in Italy or France ~ no need to schlep product or aparatus from home to those countries.

    My adaptor situation tends to be a little dicey. EG – I was in London in the middle of blow drying my hair with my Canadian blow dryer which was plugged into a UK adaptor/transformer gadget. I turned my dryer OFF, put it down and went to retrieve a product from my suitcase in the bedroom. Guess what? It turned ON, made very high-pitched buzzing noises, the motor smoked and blew up. Poof ~ end of dryer. Travel tip: don’t turn your back on your appliances when they are plugged into adaptors.

    Back to the “indelicate subject” for a minute. You will thank me. Does the thought of ducking into a filthy airplane bathroom make you cringe? It certainly does me. (My family ridicules me for not being a particularly easy going traveller.) Travel tip: avoid the latrine in the air altogether … twelve hours before the flight simply dial back your fluids to almost nothing. To alleviate your thirst on the flight ask for a cup with a few ice cubes to slurp on. Problem solved. My most impressive distance with no visit to the dreaded facilities would be Vancouver to Amsterdam. And … guess what?! The bathroom at Shiphol is spiffy and fresh like an operating room complete with sparkling white tile.

  9. Great post!

    My travel tips:

    After having to say goodbye to the luggage my parents gave me upon leaving for college (which ended up being duct taped by an airline attendant at some point and I was mortified to even grab it off the baggage claim, I was so embarrassed…..), I bought a set of Samonsite black luggage that 1 bazillion other people have. If you don’t want to watch every single person grab for your bag and man-handle it checking to see if it is theirs, dress it up with an obnoxious bright tag of some sort.

    On short trips where you need only 1 small suitcase, I always gate check. That way you know your bag is with you and you can grab it right when you land.

    No one call CPS on me for this one (or I have a feeling some of you are thanking me for this one) ……when traveling with a toddler, bring along some Benadryl. After taking my daughter on a short flight where she cried, kicked and screamed the entire time, I decided that the only way I would get back on that plane to return home was to add a little Benadryl to her bottle. The return flight was a breeze and I even got to enjoy a glass of vino.

    Oh and regarding lost luggage. I remember seeing a news story about Unclaimed Baggage Centers where all the “lost” and “unclaimed” luggage ends up and they sell all the items for discounted prices to hundreds of thousands who show up. Having been victim to lost luggage as well, it kind of makes you sick.

    And finally, I thought I would share two gross flight experiences:

    A man behind me had his shoes off, which smelled awful. And at one point he stuck his foot in-between the arm rests in front of him and the next thing I knew there was a bare foot next to me! And another time I was on a really long international flight, there was a young man in front of me who kept flipping his dirty dreadlocks over his seat. They were practically touching my tray. Horrific!

  10. My airplane survival kit:
    On longer flights I take a large bottle of water on the plane, add several rehydration sachets (Dioralyte) and sip it throughout the flight. It prevents the hangover-like symptoms of jetlag and works every time.
    Snooztime pillow, cashmere blanket, pashmina, sleeping pills, ear plugs, Guerlain’s Midnight Secret, travel size DDML and L’Occitane hand cream, eye drops, lip balm, baby wipes, fuzzy socks, Neals Yard aromatherapy roll-ons, Kindle, ipod, Bose headphones, notebook, Fishermens Friends, dark chocolate.

    One more for Dabbsie’s list:
    Never ever drink out of hotel bathroom glasses, not even 5*!

  11. Great tips! Great photos again…. You are coming to NYC and I am going to Santa Babe…. oh well we can wave from the Jets. Are you coming for fashion week?

  12. After my last flight I really did tag travel as a uncivilized venture and see it as such. But i never thought of decorating my zone, the one where i hold my breath for the whole flight. Now that makes civilized sense to me. Enjoying your blog immensely.

  13. I hadn’t planned on commenting on this post, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I got and wanted to share/vent. How do you ship luggage by FedEx?
    I am so angry because before Xmas I thought I did something that would save me money. One of our employees here in London was retiring and had mentioned he was going to buy himself an iTouch, because he could use it for emails from his retirement home in Spain. Thinking it would make a perfect Christmas gift to go along with the watch we’d gotten him for retirement, I ordered an iTouch online from the Apple Store the day after Thanksgiving. That day, everything was less 20%. I got the most expensive model and had his name engraved on the back, and had it shipped to my partner’s L.A. office. He packed it one of his suitcases and flew from L.A. to NYC and from NYC to London. When the bag came off the carousel in London my partner noticed it wasn’t zipped all the way. Later that day I asked for the iTouch and he gave me the plastic box from his suitcase. Something didn’t look quite right to me with the moussey kind of wrapping around the box. I took it off and discovered the box was empty. Someone either at JFK or London had stolen it. I am guessing it was JFK and someone from TSA, who (just like with Slim Paley’s son’s stuff) could see it on the x-ray machine and opened the bag. Whoever it was had enough time to unzip the bag, take it out, open it up, pocket the iTouch (engraved with someone else’s name) and put the empty plastic box back in the suitcase. Gotta be TSA because I doubt a baggage handler would have the time to rifle through someone’s bag sight unseen looking for an iTouch, speakers or presents. Convinced it was someone working for TSA, because the thief knew exactly where to look.
    Perhaps it is time to start tea bagging the TSA. I don’t mind that we are subjected to various security precautions, but we are forced to check our luggage, unlocked (unless you have a TSA approved lock) and then they steal what they want and you have NO recourse. It’s not the airline’s fault.
    The same thing happened with a former employee of ours. He was traveling British Air from L.A. back to London. At the counter they made him put his computer in his suitcase and check the case without locking it. (Not sure why he agreed to do that, but he did.) Needless-to-say, the computer was not in the suitcase when he reclaimed it at Heathrow, and BA refused to reimburse him because they told him he shouldn’t have put it in checked luggage despite the fact that he was told to do it in L.A. by employees of BA.
    I know Slim Paley can afford to send her bags by FedEx (boy can she) and so can I, but how do you protect people from this kind of theft who can’t afford FedEx?
    Richard Gretchen

    • Actually R.G., we inquired with UPS, Fed Ex, and a couple of other shipping companies, and believe it or not, Fed Ex. was the most reasonable. The key is to send it a few days ahead, rather than overnight.
      So sorry to hear about your employee’s gift and computer though- infuriating!

  14. Stephanie,
    I think Slim would agree, best to pack that camera and lenses in your carry on bag. In both instances I mentioned above it was the traveler’s fault these things went missing. My partner should have carried that iTouch in his carry on bag rather than pack it in one of his suitcases. And our employee should have stood his ground at the BA counter and made them let him take it in his carry on. Problem is that everyone (the airlines, TSA) uses “terrorism” as an excuse for everything and if you don’t do what they tell you then you do risk being barred from flying.
    Still, the people at TSA should not be abusing their power and using the x-ray scanners to “treasure hunt”.
    RG

  15. Yes, Andrea—I saw that undercover series, too. Do not use hotel bathroom glasses that have the little white diaper on top. Often they don’t make it to a dishwasher.
    Try and take your own pillow, too—not just a pillow case.
    Don’t rule out public transportation. I love all of it—monorail, underground, subway, but my very favorite is the city bus. You see everything and it is the best way to get to know the population at large.
    London Taxi drivers undergo a rigorous test. In fact, it takes years before they can be licensed. Think about all those Queen Streets. In my experience, they are also honest.
    I had a slight mishap in Spain as a young person because I saw one of Franco’s Facsista guards throw rocks at some stray cats. I, um, got on my high horse. It is always good to know where the American Embassy is in certain countries.

  16. Two squares of dark chocolate for after you’ve read your book club book, stolen your daughter’s bad tabloid and find that you are still only over Chicago. Purell and EmergenC too.

  17. “Recently, my older son’s bags never did show up. He had packed electrical equipment, including new speakers and presents (not the kinds of thing you can take in carry on) and the bags were stolen. The airline reimbursed us $0 – that’s ZERO, because they do not cover any electrical or photographic equipment. They didn’t even reimburse for the cost of the luggage because we couldn’t produce luggage receipts. Extremely irritating. ”

    ALWAYS CHARGE ALL TRAVEL EXPENSES TO AMERICAN EXPRESS. THEY WILL GET YOUR CHARGES REIMBURSED.

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