Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Travel Tips

Having just returned from an extended trip to China, I made a few notes to myself for future reference.
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1. Check your departure gate until you have boarded the plane. We arrived at the Atlanta airport from our local airport with 4 hours to spare. As soon as we landed, my husband and I both received text messages to our phones from our airline giving us the departure gate and time for the next flight. After having a meal, we made our way to the gate.  Knowing that it would be 3 weeks before I had American food again, I decided to get a personal pizza to take with me on the plane. When I came back to the gate 30 minutes before our departure, another flight was boarding at our gate. Still not realizing that an error had been made, my husband decided to go to the restroom before boarding. As he passed one of the departure boards, he glanced up to see if our flight had been delayed. Much to our surprise, the flight was on time, but was departing from another gate on another concourse!!! We quickly grabbed our belongings and ran to the train then ran to the gate to get to the proper place. Never did we receive another text with the correct departure gate. Our plane was boarding and we were able to avoid a major disruption in our travel. Lesson learned: never trust the text message from your airline without double checking.
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2. Always keep a change of clothing in your carry on bag. Our flight was broken into 3 segments, the third being the longest at 12 hours. Shortly after takeoff, the attendants came through the cabin with a beverage service. As the flight attendant was stopped at my seat, she was pouring a cup of red wine for another passenger. I noticed as she was pouring that she was completely missing the cup. It never occurred to me to check to see where the wine was going. After a slight delay and a comment or two from her about her clumsiness, we both looked down at the same time to discover that she had just poured red wine all over my lap!!!She immediately apologized and said that she could get it out. I told her that I had a shirt on under my sweater and could take it off. Then I got a pair of yoga pants from my carry on bag and went to the restroom to change my pants. She took my clothes and washed them in hot water until everything was clean. Luckily, I had the extra clothes because the stains would probably have been set by the time we reached our destination 12 hours later. She also gave me a bonus of 2500 frequent flyer miles for my inconvenience. Lesson learned: keep a change of clothing accessible at all times.
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3. Put your sleeping clothes and toothbrush in last so that you don’t have to search for them after a long journey with a late arrival. I put mine in the outside pocket of my suitcase so that I could get to them very quickly when we finally got to a hotel. I knew that I would be ready to crash upon arrival so I am thankful that I had the foresight to keep those items in a handy spot.
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4. When packing multiple bags, keep a list of what is packed in each bag. Because this was a teaching trip, we had a lot of stuff. The three members of my family had 7 pieces of checked luggage, 3 pieces of carry on luggage, and 3 personal items. My original plan for packing was to pack teaching materials for each class is its own bag, family items in another, etc. However, due to weight limits on luggage, I ended up having to mix things up a bit. Carnival prizes had to go in with a bag of notebooks. Sports equipment had to go in a bag with snacks. Since our living quarters at the school were somewhat cramped, I had to leave things in the bags until I was ready to take them to class. So, I ended up having to open every bag and make a list of what was in each one so that I didn’t have to go through all the bags every day. Lesson learned: keep a list (this also helps if the luggage becomes lost somewhere in transit!).
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5. Whenever you are flying and you are offered a bottle of water, take it. Take the water whether you are thirsty or not. If you need to take a quick medication you don’t want to wait for another beverage service and heaven forbid you press that call button for a flight attendant! Enough said.
We had a wonderful trip that got off to a bumpy start. However, our airline made up for it on the way back with a complimentary upgrade to business class with seats that fully recline! All of our complaints were instantly resolved and we could not have asked for better service on the flight home. Go Delta!
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I’ll be linking to Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits at Stone Gable.