Martha Stewart’s 10 travel tips

July 23, 2014 - One Response

Yahoo Travel recently came out with an article listing Martha Stewart’s Ten Rules for Flawless Travel. Now I have to admit, 7-23-14-1I love Martha Stewart. I own several of her books (she has her very own Amazon page here), often watch her cooking shows, and generally just enjoy everything she does. So I was very interested in what her definition of “flawless travel” is.

A lot of her tips are great advice: avoid checking your bag if possible, keep an “essentials” list, bring a Kindle (which I post about all the time), and make sure your charger cords don’t get tangled. There were a few that, while a little goofy, I can totally get behind. For example, she recommends that people stay hydrated (great!), spritz their “favorite skin tonic” (okay, not too bad), and avoid alcohol (you may have a harder time with that one). She also recommends that if you don’t hire a guide for your trip, pop into the local café in the morning and get recommendations from locals (I love her optimism).

Several of her tips revolve around packing. She explains how to properly pack shoes and how to fold to avoid wrinkling your clothing, both of which include solid advice. However, she also recommends that you assemble your outfit, put it on a hanger, put a plastic dry-cleaning bag around it, and then pack it in your suitcase. Seems like that would waste a ton of space! Plus, each piece of my wardrobe does double-duty, so packing it as part of one outfit would mean another outfit left incomplete. If you’re that worried about forgetting what to wear together, put on each outfit before you leave and take a picture of yourself.

She suggests carrying on your bags for shorter trips, but recommends for people to bring a suitcase, a purse, and a messenger or duffle bag. I sure hope she can combine those bags together, because airlines only let you have two items. She then goes on to say that if you have to check your bag, make sure to shrink-wrap it or cover it with a waterproof canvas covering. I had to giggle when I read this. On the one hand, yes, airlines treat luggage pretty badly, and in an ideal world everyone would protect their luggage. However, I can’t imagine any business traveler (or regular traveler, for that matter) ever taking the time and effort to have their suitcase shrink-wrapped.

The one thing I felt was missing from her list was etiquette (which I also post about all the time), which surprised me. Being kind to others and not letting small things bother you helps tremendously with making travel “flawless”! However, Martha is still wonderful and I think overall her list is very helpful for novice travelers.

Readers, what do you think of Martha’s Ten Rules for Flawless Travel? Do you agree or disagree with my analysis?

Don’t forget to enter my $50 Amazon gift card giveaway before this Friday regarding the best carry-on luggage!  

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Business travel news roundup

July 23, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here are a few of the stories that caught my eye in the last week or so… (Pictured: 14 inch Newspaper Pattern Laptop Carry Case)

news pic bag

Readers, anything interesting come across your desk lately?

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Contest! What’s the best carry-on luggage brand?

July 22, 2014 - 65 Responses

You have probably noticed all of the recent talk about airlines cracking down on luggage size. Between hiring contractors to size bags in the security line and not-so-consistent size limitations, it can be a confusing world out there for people carrying on!

If you are looking for a carry-on for flying primarily in the US, it’s best to purchase a bag that fits into the 22”x9”x14”. A few other things to keep in mind:Victorinox werks 20

  • Quality construction.
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Roominess
  • Handle length
  • Good pockets and dividers
  • Spinner wheels
  • Easy to navigate in crowded airports

(For more details on how to choose the best carry-on, see my Guidelines for Choosing a Rollaboard Suitcase.)

Obviously, I know what I consider to be the best luggage brands. If I had to pick my top three, it would be Victorinox (pictured), Briggs and Riley, and Ogio. However, I am very interested in what you guys have to say. Reader comments have introduced me to luggage brands I never knew existed! My goal here is to create a list of people’s favorites and why, so people who are looking to buy can get good info about the different brands.

Here’s the contest part: leave a comment about which carry-on luggage brand is your favorite and why (even better if you mention a specific model). I will randomly choose a winner out of the answers, and they will get a $50 Amazon gift card. The winner will be announced this Friday, July 25, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won.

Remember, the more specific you are the more helpful it will be to people looking to buy a new carry-on. Bookmark this link if you think you may be in the market soon!

Here is a list of the most common luggage brands. Is your favorite on this list?

Open to US residents 18 or older. Only one entry per person. Winner must check RoadWarriorette.com and contact me within three days of being announced or else another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!!

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Being asked to change seats

July 21, 2014 - 61 Responses

Flying home last week was an interesting experience. One of the exciting things was that it was the first domestic AA flight I’ve 7-21-14-4been on that has individual entertainment systems at each seat. That certainly made the four hour flight more fun! But the most interesting stuff happened at the beginning.

On this particular trip I was gone for a week. After a long week away from home I hoped I’d get upgraded, but flying on Friday I knew the chances were slim. Since I had a short time to get to my connecting flight I picked a seat up front; and since I had tons of work to do I needed an aisle. As we were waiting to board, the gate agent called me up. Did I get lucky and get upgraded? I wondered as I made my way to the counter. Alas, no. She asked if I would switch seats so a mother and child could sit together. My new seat would still be an aisle, but would be in the exit row. I was a little worried about my connection, but she assured me there would be plenty of time to make it. So I got on the plane, stowed my gear, and sat down.

The plane was mostly full when I woman stopped at my row. I stood up, assuming she needed to get into the middle seat. She then said that her boyfriend was in the middle seat across the aisle, and would I please be willing to switch so that they could sit together? I told her that unfortunately I had to work and needed access to my bag. She asked if I was sure, I said I was, and she sat down. She then leaned across me to ask the guy sitting across the aisle from me if he would switch. He said the same thing I did—that he had work to do and was sorry but couldn’t switch. He also said it was a lot to ask for someone to change to a middle seat for a four hour flight, which I agreed with. She then proceeded to ask every single flight attendant who passed us if there were other seats for them to move to. Finally, after twenty minutes of her pestering people the guy across the aisle said he would switch.

Here’s the deal. This bugged me on so many levels. First of all, the guy across from me was right—it is a lot to ask someone to give up their aisle seat for a long flight. Having to say no made me feel really mean, but everything I said was true. I needed to work, I needed access to my bag, and to be honest I get claustrophobic if I sit somewhere besides the aisle for longer than two hours. Not to mention I had already given up an even better seat so people could sit together. Finally, they were in the exit row, for Pete’s sake! Most people would have been thrilled to be there.

I just really don’t like that I felt so guilty for saying no to something that I don’t think should have been asked in the first place. They didn’t even realize they weren’t sitting together until they got on the plane. If it were so important that they be next to one another they should have checked ahead of time!

Readers, what do you think? Should I have changed seats? Was the lady out of line? What do you do when asked to change seats?

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Posts from the past

July 20, 2014 - Leave a Response

What was going on this week in years past?Post from Past pic

2013

  • Want to know my top 3 travel pet peeves?  Click here.

2012

2011

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Road Warriorette Weekend Express

July 19, 2014 - One Response

Got something on your mind this weekend that you have a question on or want to discuss?  Here’s your chance!  Whether you weekend expresswant to share an interesting travel story, a packing tip, an etiquette tip, or anything else going on in the business travel world, comment here and we’ll have a discussion. (Pictured: Airplanes Games Plane Paper app, free.)

My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families and loved ones of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.  It’s just such a heartbreaking story.  This brings me to my travel tip of the week.

Travel tip of the week:  Stay connected with your family when you travel.  With the tragic news about Malaysia Flight 17 I am reminded of how important it is to stay in touch with your loved ones as much as possible when you travel.  If you need some ideas check out this post I did to help business travelers stay connected to home during travel. 

Week in review:

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MH17

July 18, 2014 - 2 Responses

Here’s the deal. There have unfortunately been a lot of plane crashes in our history, but MH17 is hitting me hard. Maybe it’s because I recently traveled to Asia and know people going to Malaysia soon. Or maybe I can’t freaking believe somebody shot a passenger plane down. Either way, instead of writing a post for today I’m going to go spend time with my family. I hope you do the same—call someone you love, check in with family, hug your dog.

If you want to read about it, Lucky over at One Mile at a Time wrote a piece that gave me chills. Chris at Travel Skills works through the way the news unfolded. Charlie at Running for Miles tries to find the words. And the always helpful Seth has some good info about No Fly Zones over at Wandering Aramean.

I hope we all know what happened soon. And I pray for the families and loved ones of the victims that were on the plane.

-Road Warriorette

FYI: Global Entry users

July 17, 2014 - 6 Responses

I got Global Entry last fall, and have sung its praises ever since. After waiting two and a half hours in customs returning from Manila7-17-14-1
last summer I knew I had to sign up! Now no matter how long the line customs takes about….two minutes. It’s amazing. Plus you get TSA Pre-check, saving time at the airport every time I fly. The price can’t be beat–$100 for five years of Global Entry and Pre-check. If you have questions about it, check out my post on Global Entry FAQs.  (Pictured: Visconti Soft Leather Passport Cover)

A frequent traveler friend of mine recently returned from Europe. An early member of GE, she helped to convince me of how great it is way back. She had renewed her passport before going, and just kind of assumed that would automatically carry over to her Global Entry membership. Unfortunately not. When she got to the kiosk it didn’t recognize her new passport. Cue sad trombone.

She learned the hard way that you must change the passport number and expiration date on the GOES website yourself. She said it’s reasonably easy to ensure go in and make the updates, but that she wishes she had known before her last trip! So this is just a heads up—if you renew your passport make sure you update the GOES site. Save yourself some headache!

Readers, do you have Global Entry? Any tips for those considering it?

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Airline regulations for carry-on luggage (and three more carry-on bags within those guidelines)

July 16, 2014 - 9 Responses

Yet another round of news stories has come out, reporting that airlines are continuing their enforcement of policies regarding TravelPro 20carry-on size. It’s gotten so bad that according to a news station in West Palm Beach the airlines have hired contractors—not in airline uniforms—to monitor passengers’ luggage. They will have people place their rollaboards into the ridiculously small bag sizers, proclaim them too small, and send them back to the airline to check them in.

The story interviewed George Hobica from Airfare Watchdog, and it’s his theory that while the airlines benefit tremendously by making people check more bags, their primary goal is to have airplanes loaded and unloaded more quickly. I appreciate his, shall we say, optimism and positivity about their motives, but I think it has a lot more to do with bag fees. Otherwise the guidelines would be more consistent, and consistently enforced. Many airlines say that your carry-on must be less than 45” if the height, width, and depth are added together, but the bag also needs to be no bigger than 22x9x14”. Also, the sizers would be more similar to the actual size of overhead bins. A bag that is exactly within the regulations, that fits perfectly into the overhead bin, can be deemed too big via the tiny sizers.

A lot of the bags most frequently recommended fall outside of the most common 22x14x9” guidelines—mostly they are wider than 14”. Also, many companies don’t include the wheels or the handle in the dimensions listed. My recommendation is to find a bag that is smaller than that and (as a commenter mentioned) to bring a tape measure when purchasing. Even though the guidelines say a bag can be 22” tall, I suggest getting a 20” bag. That way it doesn’t matter if the wheels and handle are included in the dimensions.

If you’re worried about being able to fit all of the stuff you need for your trip into a smaller suitcase, here are some of my best tips for packing light.

Here are a few more bags that fit within the carry-on size guidelines, recommended by readers:

TravelPro MaxLite 2 20” Expandable Spinner (pictured). A great expandable option.

Briggs and Riley Torq International Spinner. A solid hardsided option.

EBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible. It doesn’t have wheels but it will hold a ton of stuff.

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Business travel news roundup

July 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here are a few of the stories that caught my eye in the last week or so…. news pic updated

Readers, anything interesting come across your desk lately?

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