Sequestration and How Not to Govern

Ryan Alexander is the president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Before heading home last week, the Senate and the House passed a sequester work-around to spare us from what had become the most visible consequence of the Budget Control Act – delays for travelers and smaller paychecks for air traffic controllers. Really, Congress, is this how we are going to fix the budget, temper the effects of across-the-board budget cuts and move the country forward? It is almost so absurd that it feels like I should be writing for The Onion or some other satirical outlet. 

It is not that furloughed air traffic controllers and delayed travelers deserve no sympathy – they do. I don’t care what your job or your salary is, if you are counting on a paycheck, a reduction at the wrong time can be tough to take. Similarly, a delayed flight that contributes to missing a meeting or failing to make it somewhere for a big event can have real consequences.   

But that’s the point: there are consequences to sequestration. And there were supposed to be. Policymakers included the threat of sequestration in the Budget Control Act because they believed the fear of the thoughtless, across-the-board nature of these budget cuts would force more thoughtful and productive deficit reduction measures. Now that they see the thoughtless consequences, lawmakers are starting to undo the most unpopular. First Congress saved the meat inspectors, then the air traffic controllers, what’s next? Acronym by acronym, agency by agency sequester saving carve outs are no way to fix a budget or run a country.    

[See a collection of political cartoons on sequestration and the fiscal cliff.]

And the air traffic control funding fix seems particularly cynical – in order to reverse furloughs and avoid layoffs, Congress took money from the Airport Improvement Program, which funds capital improvements at airports. If three days of delayed flights brought on such a panic that Congress had to act to free up money, what will happen when runways need repairs down the line? Does anyone really think Congress will say “Sorry, we spent that money to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers, those repairs will have to wait” instead of borrowing more money from some other account? The low tolerance for political pain makes that outcome impossible to imagine.

For all of its hand wringing in the last two years about debts and deficits, Congress has made almost no tough choices. The bipartisan “super committee” failed to identify even one dollar of deficit reduction. Both Republicans and Democrats are unwilling to propose packages of targeted spending cuts to meet any portion of the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction they swore themselves (and us) to with the passage of the Budget Control Act in 2011. The fiscal year 2013 spending bills weren’t adopted until the fiscal year was more than six months old.  MAP-21, a transportation reauthorization bill that was one of the more consequential pieces of legislation passed since the 2011 debt ceiling showdown spent more money than it took in. Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff deal did raise revenue by letting the top tax rate return to 2001 levels, but it made permanent a number of other breaks and added a huge package of so-called “temporary” tax breaks in an extenders package. In fact the deal as a whole subtracted more from the baseline than it added in new revenues.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

After all those debates and failures, Congress seems to be on a path of articulating a vision of democracy by piecemeal and political posturing. Does anyone actually believe that the best America can do is adding back pieces of government, one at a time, with temporary funding fixes? 

For its part, the Obama administration made a bad situation worse by simply assuming that some magical sequester solution would appear and make the budget all better. This ostrich approach means that amount of savings estimated from 9 months of across-the-board cuts has to be crammed into five, making the depth of the cuts more severe.

So what should policymakers do now that the pain of sequestration is upon us? Keep themselves busy with program by program exemptions? They have shown us that they know how to add, but not subtract spending, and how to subtract rather than add new revenues. What we need to see is the Congress and the president make hard choices that will get us closer to kicking the habit of spending more money than we take in. Every member of Congress and the president chose to run for office and worked hard to win. Now it’s time to do the difficult work we elected them to do. Here’s our $2 trillion in deficit reduction to get them started

Article source: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/04/30/the-sequester-cuts-air-travel-and-the-absurd-us-congress

All Things Travel: 787 Dreamliner Service Returns To Logan June 1

BOSTON (CBS) – The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will resume daily service between Boston and Tokyo again on June 1.

The Japan Airlines jet has been sitting on the tarmac at Logan Airport since a January 4 battery fire while the aircraft was parked at a gate in Terminal E.

The entire fleet was grounded worldwide and a new battery system is being installed in all of the 787 aircraft.

Boeing has 10 teams of 30 engineers each making the changes. About 50 Dreamliners had been in service, about half of which have been operated by JAL and All Nippon Airways.

No probable cause of the battery problems has been officially found to date.

Both the FAA and Japanese aviation officials have given clearance for the 787 to resume service.

The June 1 start-up coincides with the end of the spring business travel season and the start of the summer and fall leisure travel period which is very important for Japanese tourists who wish to visit Boston and New England.

The first anniversary of the JAL flight took place on April 22. The airline has been using a larger Boeing 777 on the route five times a week since the Dreamliner was taken out of service.

Both Japanese and Boston tourist officials have said that passenger loads on the plane have been satisfactory in the past year.

United will be the first U.S. airline to put a Dreamliner into service.  That’s expected to be in June.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

 

Article source: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/30/all-things-travel-787-dreamliner-service-returns-to-logan-june-1/

In Praise Of Travel Lists

travel listsTravel lists get a lot of grief. I’ve overheard many fellow travel writers offer the opinion that lists of various sorts are deeply inferior to any and all narrative travel writing. Others have suggested that lists are slowly crowding out real travel writing entirely.

C’mon now.

Let’s agree for a few provisional minutes that the purpose of travel writing is, very generally, to inspire people to think about travel. (Why not? This is a good goal, all things considered.) Few genres of writing are better suited to achieving this goal than travel lists – lists of destinations, hotels, beaches, restaurants and so on. A list written by an expert can feel like an extended secret, like an invitation to experience the world differently.

Lists at their best are efficient. They cover key territory and reduce unnecessary noise. They reveal their writers’ passions directly. Are they the ticket to cross-cultural understanding? Not usually, but then very few traditional travel stories, no matter how drenched they may be in self-importance, ever accomplish this end.

Let’s take this past Saturday’s print edition of Guardian Travel as an example of the value of travel lists. The section was full of inspiring ideas in list form – summer holiday recommendations, adventures in south-west England, and cool accommodations on the Isle of Wight. There’s a more bullet-point-like list of upcoming holiday festivals in the UK as well.

The summer holiday recommendations kick off with some exciting suggestions about corners of France slightly off the beaten path, written by Jacqueline Mirtelli of Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency. Mirtelli suggests Cap Corse, the little-visited peninsula on the northern coast of Corsica, and finishes off her tip list with the inland villages of the Var, a region in Provence. Elsewhere Michael Cullen of i-escape tips the Greek island of Kastellorizo, Simon Wrench of Inntravel suggests the Danish Riviera, and Lucy Kane of Rough Guides lists Tbilisi, Palma and Montenegro as her summer travel recommendations.

In this short round-up piece the excitement of summer travel is infectious and inspiring. There is information here, and more importantly there are multiple jumping-off points for research. Could this sort of generalized excitement be achieved by one longer piece on, say, the Amalfi Coast? I’m doubtful that it could.

Like many absolutist stands that we travel writers get sidetracked into on occasion, the resistance to lists is misplaced. The wholesale replacement of narrative by lists would be a terrible development for sure; shy of that, there’s no need to attack the humble list. There is, however, as always, a need across genres for high-quality versions of all types of writing.

[Image of Cap Corse: Flickr | cremona daniel]

Filed under: Europe, Denmark, France, Georgia, Greece, Spain, United Kingdom, Montenegro

Article source: http://www.gadling.com/2013/04/30/in-praise-of-travel-lists/

Two new travel scams identified

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Article source: http://bostonherald.com/entertainment/travel/the_travel_guy/2013/04/two_new_travel_scams_identified

Breast-pumping mom ‘felt humiliated’ by flight attendant

Courtesy Dawnella Brahos

Dawnella Brahos with her child.

Despite reassurances by reservation agents that using a breast pump at her seat was allowed, American Airlines passenger Dawnella Brahos says she was was embarrassed on a recent flight from Minneapolis to Chicago when a flight attendant told her that plugging in the device was forbidden.

“She was speaking in a loud voice, reading a page from a manual and adamant that because it was not pre-approved medical equipment I could not use the pump at my seat,” Brahos told NBC News. “I felt humiliated. Everyone pretty much knew my business at that point and she kept checking back and eyeballing me the whole time to make sure I wasn’t using the pump.”

On April 18, Brahos, a 38-year-old mother of three from Lowell, Ind., was on the last leg of trip to California with her husband. Her three kids, including one still on breast milk, were at home with her mom.

Before her trip, she spent hours on the phone talking to airline reservation agents and their supervisors, all of whom told her not to worry.

Courtesy Dawnella Brahos

Dawnella Brahos and the Medela pump she was asked to not use by the American Airlines flight attendant.

“I researched which airplanes had outlets at the seats so I could plug in my pump and I made sure that the type of breast pump I had – a Medela – was approved. I brought along a big Angry Birds blanket to cover myself with. And my husband and I even paid extra to make sure we’d get seats next to each other so I wouldn’t be sitting next to a stranger while using the pump.”

During three legs of the trip, Brahos had no problem using her breast pump during the flight and says helpful flight attendants even let her plug in the breast pump in the galley.

But on the final leg of the trip, Brahos said the flight attendant told her she could not use the galley nor use the pump at her seat. “She even said I was making up the fact that I had used the pump on previous flights,” said Brahos.

“A lot people are saying I should have used the pump in the bathroom, but airplane bathrooms are pretty disgusting places to try to use a breast pump. And even if I did choose to pump in the bathroom, we weren’t even allowed to get up from our seats because the flight was so rough.”

American Airlines issued an apology, saying it does not have a policy prohibiting the use of breast pumps in-flight.

“We apologize for the experience Ms. Brahos had on a recent flight. Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle these situations with professionalism and discretion… As with other devices that have an on/off switch, customers will be asked not to use them during takeoff and landing.”

“Our procedures advise our crews to ensure that mothers who are breastfeeding or using breast pumps have the privacy they need,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely.

La Leche League International encourages mothers to check with the airline if they plan to travel with a breast pump. Because “we clearly still have a culture that is not yet aware of the needs of breastfeeding mothers,” La Leche International spokesperson Diana West says it’s a good idea to print out and carry a copy of the airline’s rules with them when they travel.

Brahos received a $100 voucher from an airline representative at the airport after she complained about her treatment, but is planning on filing a formal complaint. For now, she says she wants the airline “to let moms do what they need to do.”

Find more by Harriet Baskas on StuckatTheAirport.com and follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas

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In Reversal, US Allows Raul Castro’s Daughter To Travel To Philadelphia

After initially being denied a request to travel to Philadelphia to pick up an award, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro will be allowed to go, officials said Tuesday.

Mariela Castro is to accept an award for her gay rights advocacy.

Castro will attend the Equality Forum’s annual conference on civil rights for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people, according to Malcolm Lazin, the advocacy group’s executive director.

Lazin, who had blasted the State Department’s travel denial last week, said organizers are “delighted” at the change of heart.

“She is unquestionably the leader for progressive change for the LGBT community in Cuba,” Lazin said Tuesday. “Her accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable.”

A U.S. official confirmed that Castro has been authorized to go to the event. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because visa records are confidential.

High-ranking Cuban government officials and Communist Party members cannot enter the U.S. without special dispensation. But Cuban academics, scientists and entertainers are finding it easier to visit because President Barack Obama’s administration has relaxed travel restrictions.

Castro, a married mother of three, is the niece of retired Cuban strongman Fidel Castro. She is also the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, part of Cuba’s public health ministry, and is the country’s most prominent gay rights activist.

Castro has instituted awareness campaigns, trained police on relations with the LGBT community and lobbied lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions. She was elected as a deputy in Cuba’s parliament in February.

On Saturday in Philadelphia, she will speak about her experiences and receive an award from the Equality Forum.

Lazin said that Castro had accepted the group’s invitation months ago and that he was surprised by the initial visa denial because she had been allowed to attend an academic conference in San Francisco last year.

But some Cuban-American lawmakers blasted that decision, calling Castro a shill for her family’s Communist dictatorship. At the time, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., called her “a vociferous advocate of the regime and opponent of democracy.”

Menendez was traveling in Central America on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment, a spokesman said.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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Article source: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/04/30/in-reversal-us-allows-raul-castro-daughter-to-travel-to-philadelphia/

Odd Travel Jobs: The Toucan Caretaker Of Cartagena

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Article source: http://www.gadling.com/2013/04/30/odd-travel-jobs-the-toucan-caretaker-of-cartagena/

‘The Shining’ hotel site of new Stanley Film Festival

Universal

Knock, knock: Debuting at the Stanley Film Festival, “The Purge” is a near-future story of a family beset by machete-wielding maniacs and other miscreants.

Travelers who take a shine to the spookier side of life may want to put Estes Park, Colo., on their weekend itinerary. Running May 2–5, the inaugural Stanley Film Festival promises four days of hauntingly good entertainment at the very hotel where Stephen King dreamed up “The Shining.”

“Putting a horror film festival together at the Stanley Hotel is a dream come true,” festival director Jenny Bloom told NBC News. (Disclosure: The Stanley Film Festival is sponsored by Chiller, the horror/suspense cable channel owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News) “It’s the perfect backdrop for watching films because of the actual paranormal experiences people have while they’re there.”

Those unexplained experiences have been a part of the hotel’s history almost since the day it opened in 1909. It was just two years later that chief housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson was injured in an explosion while she was lighting acetylene lanterns in room 217. She survived but guests have reported sensing her presence in the room ever since.

Other guests have reported lights flicking on and off, doors opening and closing and laughter and footsteps when no one else is around in other rooms and facilities throughout the hotel.

The Stanley Hotel

“I tell people that they’re former guests and employees who have since passed and come back to share with us again,” said General Manager Rick Benton. “They’re not mean, they just want some attention.”

In fact, it was just that sort of attention-seeking that reportedly gave King the idea to write “The Shining.” As the story goes, he and his wife were staying at the hotel in the fall of 1974 just as it was being closed down for the winter. As the only guests on site, they ate in the grand dining room alone, walked the empty corridors alone and retired to their room — 217, of course — alone.

Except, that is, for the young child they reportedly encountered even though there were no children visiting at the time. Given King’s fervent imagination, it was only a matter of time before phrases like “REDRUM” and “He-e-e-r-r-r-e’s Johnny” entered the lexicon.

For film fans, the upcoming festival promises to continue that legacy with nearly two dozen feature films and a selection of shorts and student movies. With names like “100 Bloody Acres,” “Maniac” and “The Purge,” the films promise plenty of screams and slashes.

“With horror, there are so many different subsets,” said Landon Zakheim, the festival’s program director. “You have thrillers, gore, psychological terror — it’s fun to see the different takes on them.”

Other festival events include a horror brunch (with bottomless Bloody Marys), a whiskey tasting (drinks served up by Lloyd the bartender, perhaps?) and a zombie crawl through the streets of Estes Park. Attendees can also sit in on panel discussions, including one that explores what Zakheim refers to as “the secrets of ‘The Shining’.”

Warner Bros.

An iconic still from “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance.

“Horror films in general represent a strange combination of high art and low art,” he told NBC News. “The Shining” is a classic example; it’s a horror film that’s broken out into the pantheon of great films.”

Between the slate of frightening films and the setting’s reputation for paranormal phenomena, festival attendees should be prepared for experiences that incorporate everything from the twisted imaginations of Hollywood to the unexplained occurrences of the hereafter.

No doubt, they’ll be in good in company: “Attendees should prepare to have a blast,” said Benton. “The former guests and employees who have passed through are going to be excited as well.”

Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him on Twitter.

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Testosterone not allowed: London’s first private women’s club

I’ve just entered Grace Belgravia, London’s first private members club for women only.

It’s a discreet black doorway in London’s swish Belgravia and already I’m feeling slightly self-conscious.

This was probably not the intention of club founder Kate Percival; one of Grace’s aims is to “take the stress out of daily life,” and the club is dedicated to “empowering and nurturing women.”

But I’m not the target clientele.

For starters, I can’t afford the $8,330 annual membership fee (plus a $3,000 one-off joining fee), nor the lifestyle or wardrobe that one might want to show off in this kind of establishment.

The relaxation room, replete with purple time-warp portal to a better world.

The club opened late last year to great fanfare — partly, I imagine, to do with the fees, glamour-tinged services (they’ll help you arrange private appointments with top fashion designers for bespoke fittings) and chic facilities.

But mostly owing to the testosterone-free environs.

Grace Belgravia’s style is feminine, but subtle.

Women-only clubs are on the rise.

“There’s been a paradigm shift, which means that, increasingly, women are seeking out other women’s company,” says Percival. “It’s not that they don’t love their husbands and partners, but they often have deeper conversation with women than men.”

Other female-oriented venues include The Sorority, a “women’s business club,” also in London, and STK, a chain of U.S. steak restaurants with a “flirty, feminine take.”

“Women spend their lives multi-tasking, always putting family and work before their own health,” adds Percival. “They are bad at actually making time to take stock, usually feeling guilty about having ‘me’ time and giving themselves breathing space.

“Grace was created to put the best of the best under one roof. I wanted to create a place where women could come and feel cared for and be intellectually stimulated.”

The bar: where you can relax after a hard day on the massage table.

Members come to socialize and attend events. Sir Richard Branson’s mother, Eve, gave a talk recently, as did Naomi Wolf.

But most are drawn by the spa, gym, restaurant, lounge, food delivery service (for $60 a day you can have vegan delights on tap), the services of a celebrity hair stylist and a medical center headed by apothecary to the Queen, Dr. Tim Evans.   

You might feel like Alice in Vogue-land.

It’s a world away from the fusty, cigar-fumed, whisky-clinking, darkened corridors that dominate the perceptions of men’s clubs.

In fact, it feels like the pages of Vogue come to life, all chic, cool grays and neutrals (except for the gym, which is nightclub dark), occasionally injected with warmth and friendliness.

I’m greeted by an “Angel” — every client has her own, a cross between a personal assistant and a shoulder to cry on.

She’s sweet, American, elegant in a white blouse and black skirt, looks fresh out of college, but later, I learn, has worked for a hedge fund and studied for a Masters in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Even the help is a cut above.

She sits me down and hovers over me while I sign a confidentiality agreement, so I can’t name-drop about members.

Then I’m whisked around for a tour of the premises.

We walk through an immaculate atrium, lined with expensive art. The artist on display when I visit is Ewa Batchelier and her paintings can be bought for around $5,300 each.

One of the classiest saunas we’ve ever seen.

There’s an atelier, posh-speak for a designer boutique, a gym that’s populated by model-gorgeous male trainers (there’s an incentive to join), a dance and yoga studio and the spa.

The therapists use high-end and organic beauty brands, like ila, the holy grail of holistic treatment junkies.

On the “Massage by Our Masters” list, there’s something called Integrative therapy and it costs $1,500 for 240 minutes.

I’m pointed in the direction of an anti-ageing Henri Chenot facial ($219 for an hour) and the therapist is a sweetie, no airs or graces.

I emerge an hour later, floating.

The Medical Centre, the one bit of the club open to non-members, is impressive.

Among the roster of experts on call are a cardiologist, dermatologist, nutritionist, psychotherapist, plastic surgeon, acupuncturist and women’s health therapist. 

Dry flotation treatment room.

So who are the dames who grace Grace? Who gets the golden pass?

“The club is for impressive women who recognize that they’re fallible and need support; it’s not for spoilt women who are looking for a place to have lunch,” says Percival. “I want these women to leave their egos at the door and be nurtured by the space and facilities that Grace offers.”

Females who work in law, banking, art, media, medicine, telecommunications and fashion are among the club’s members. No footballers’ wives here.

The majority are Brits, followed by American and Italians.

Lunchtime.

Men aren’t completely verboten: on Tuesdays and Thursdays, male guests are allowed in for drinks or dinner, and on Sundays for brunch, though they’re strictly barred from using the spa and fitness facilities.

So, hard luck fellas, you’ll have to head elsewhere for your modern metrosexual needs.

Grace Belgravia, 11C W. Halkin St., London; +44 (0) 207 235 8900

Article source: http://travel.cnn.com/behind-scenes-londons-first-womens-club-211901

Surprising, Smart Secrets Of Top Travel Pros

2013-04-27-2013LauraManskeSecretsTravelProsHuffPost1ac.jpg

How to find more joy on your journey? I’ve interviewed dozens of on-the-go, globetrotting gurus to bring you practical and inspirational travel strategies. Some ideas are quirky-fun and wildly creative, too! Try these tips to add more vroom to your next vacay!

• Ask for the middle seat on an airplane. It doubles your chances of having an interesting conversation and learning something new.
– Bob Payne, editor, bobcarrieson.com; travel editor, destinationw.com

• Click a pic with your phone camera of the location sign where you park your car at the airport as you depart. Lifesaver when you return!
• Make copies front and back of passport and credit cards, then scan the pdf and email it to yourself and a colleague, parent, or friend before traveling overseas.
• Pack two small condiment packets of Heinz yellow mustard, which, when eaten, can relieve leg cramps. (It contains turmeric acid.)
• Take the shade off a lamp and use the hot bulb to lightly smooth clothes’ wrinkles, if no iron is available in your hotel room. (Wrap metal end in washcloth so you don’t burn your hand.)
– Lori Tucker, president, Tucker Associates, tuckerpr.com

• Consider a satin pillowcase! Not only do I use one at home, I always pack one as well. It keeps my fine hair from tangling, eliminates “bed-head,” and helps minimize wrinkles and morning facial creases.
– Debbra Dunning Brouillette, travel journalist, wordjourneys.net

• Slip the Sephora Instant Depuffing Eye Mask (sephora.com) under your sleep mask on flights and you’ll arrive looking fresh and rested!
– Andria Mitsakos, president CEO, AMPR, andriamitsakospr.com; founder, wanderlista.com

• Remember, men do not need to pack a pain-in-the-ass spray can of shaving lotion. Think about it: What’s in the hotel amenity kit that does the same thing as a shaving lotion (i.e. soften hair)? You got it: hair conditioner.
– Ed Wetschler, Caribbean editor, recommend.com; executive editor, tripatini.com

• Bring a scented mini travel candle. I am sensitive to odors and never sure what aromas might await me in a new destination. My favorite candles remind me of home, too. (Obviously, I’m very careful never to leave the candle burning when not in my hotel room!)
– Suzanne Willis, travel marketing and public relations executive

• Plug in a PowerTrip portable charger with a 3-way tap to maximize hotel room and airport outlets (powerstick.com).
• Use a silk shoe bag, which can double as an evening purse.
• Pack flannel pajamas or a robe. I once had to escape a burning hotel in a negligee and it was super embarrassing! (Cold, too!)
– Kyle McCarthy, editor, Family Travel Forum, myfamilytravels.com

• Get the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Cleansing Wipes (thebodyshop-usa.com). These wipes are perfect for quick facial freshen up during your flight and upon landing. I’ve even used them as a hand-and-face wipe for my son when he was younger. Also, if you are like me and always carry on your luggage, then these are a no brainer; no fluids, no mess, and pack flat.
– Nina Zapala, president, Zapala PR, zapalapr.com

• Wear Mountain HardWear’s Nitrous Jacket, which folds into its own pocket, weighs nothing, and doubles as a pillow on a plane (mountainhardwear.com). My wilderness-loving kids and husband appreciate these jackets as well. (Patagonia makes one, too.)
• Carry a reusable water bottle. (I’m partial to aluminum ones.) At the airport, after passing through security, I fill it with water, patting myself on the back for traveling greener. Then I don’t have to wait for a flight attendant to come around on the plane.
• Get quick-dry ExOfficio clothes (exofficio.com), especially helpful as lightweight adventure travel clothes.
– Eileen Ogintz, travel journalist; book author, The Kid’s Guide to Washington DC, The Kid’s Guide to NYC, and The Kid’s Guide to Orlando; founder, takingthekids.com

• Make a travel checklist. No matter how many times I had packed, I forgot something. Now I have a list. First thing on it is a thin tote bag, one that can be folded into almost nothing.
– Kay Showker, travel journalist; book author, The 100 Best Resorts in the Caribbean, The Outdoor Traveler’s Guide to the Caribbean, The Unofficial Guide to Cruises, and Caribbean Ports of Call

• Enjoy your good luck travel charms. I wear a little rope bracelet whenever I travel to South America. At my first travel conference in Lima, Peru, I missed a transfer and found myself across town from my destination with little prospect of getting a rush-hour taxi. Then, in the lobby of my hotel, I met an exhibitor at the same conference. Long story short, we found a shared cab to the conference, I practiced my Spanish with him, and he gave me the bracelet.
– Brian Major, executive editor, travalliancemedia.com

• Rethink your travel-size toiletries. I’ve cleaned out a couple small, round, lidded containers that had cosmetics samples in them and now use them to hold more than a week’s worth of toothpaste and shaving cream. The huge and more cost-effective tubes won’t make it through airport security and the ready-made travel-size items are more expensive, especially if you’re stuck and have to buy them at the airport.
– Clint Brownfield, travel journalist

• Pack a sketchbook. It’s my favorite thing. I have no artistic talent, but I love the discipline of sitting down and really looking at where I am, capturing it in a deeper way than a camera ever could.
– Pam Grout, travel journalist; book author, The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life, The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life, Girlfriend Getaways: You Go Girl and I’ll Go, Too!, You Know You’re in Kansas When…, Kansas Curiosities, Colorado Curiosities; pamgrout.com; georgeclooneyslepthere.com

• Stash a supply of antibacterial wipes to sanitize armrests on an airplane. Armrests are the “bathroom doorknob” of the travel experience — countless people resting their arms, books, snacks, and trash there for hours at a time. Do a quick swipe.
• Wear ThermaCare heat wraps (thermacare.com). I use them to minimize hurting my back and to reduce backaches on long flights.
– Nancy J. Friedman, president, Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations, njfpr.com

• Carry a small water mist spray bottle — to keep cool when traveling in warm climates.
• Tote a Mini Febreeze (febreeze.com). I love a clean-smelling hotel room.
– Katie Riguzzi, director of public relations, Club Med, clubmed.com

• Understand what’s really essential. For me, it’s all about relaxing and knowing that I have the skills and equipment in order to make anything right. There are only two things that I absolutely must have while traveling: my ID and a credit card. Everything else is disposable and/or replaceable. Knowing that fact removes a ton of stress from traveling and somehow makes everything flow more smoothly. If I’ve forgotten anything, been robbed, lost my bag, missed my flight — they can all be remedied.
– Rob Klepper, vice president, Geiger Associates, geigerpr.com

• Bring duct tape. It comes to the rescue if a sandal strap, purse handle, or backpack breaks.
• Use a rubber doorstopper. Regardless of the hotel ranking, many hotel room doors and inner-connecting rooms do not have security locks. Play it safe and kick that doorstopper under the door.
• Cherish something sentimental. I wear or carry a piece of my mother’s jewelry. When I’m frustrated, lonely, or annoyed, I touch it and think, “How would Mother have handled this situation?” I know in most cases she would be more patient, friendly, and humble. She’d be grateful to be on a trip, regardless of the inconveniences.
• Take great photos with a 3-in-1 Fisheye, Macro, Wide-Angle lens (olloclip.com) for your iPhone or iPod touch. It fits in your pocket.
– Marybeth Bond, travel journalist, National Geographic and CNN; book author, Gutsy Women, 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America, A Woman’s World, A Woman’s Passion for Travel, Gutsy Mamas: Travel Tips and Wisdom for Mamas on the Road, A Mother’s World: Journeys of the Heart, A Woman’s Europe; gutsytraveler.com

• Keep warm. I always bring my cashmere travel blanket from Restoration Hardware (restorationhardware.com). Of better quality than most blankets you find in even business or first class, I use it on the plane, which is invariably cold, and it makes me feel pampered when I’m flying economy. Since it’s in an off-white color with light gray trim, it does double duty as a shawl.
– Karen Weiner Escalera, president, KWE Partners, kwegroup.com; editor, miamicurated.com

• Take care of your health especially the night before a plane trip. Drink lots of water to hydrate, workout, and sleep at least 7 to 8 hours.
• During a long flight, break mid-way to stand in the aisle and stretch your Achilles tendons and calf muscles.
• Do not fly hungry. Grab a banana, dried fruit, or instant oatmeal.
– Hoyt H. Harper II, senior vice president, global brand leader, Sheraton Hotels Resorts, starwoodhotels.com/sheraton

• Get a Kipling Eldorado small cross-body travel bag (kipling-usa.com). It can carry cash, passport, keys, and more. Well made, with strong zippers and lots of compartments and in great colors, it looks terrific.
– Phyllis Stoller, founder, The Women’s Travel Group, thewomenstravelgroup.com

• Invest in a waterproof shell raincoat. I layer my GORE-TEX raincoat (gore-tex.com) with my EMS fleece (ems.com) when I am cold on a long bus ride or flight. It blocks the wind and blasting AC.
• Facilitate sleep anytime with earplugs. I’m not an earplug snob; 80 decibel-level pharmacy ones work great.
– Nora Walsh, founder, patchworkcompass.com

• Roll a tennis ball under your feet to keep from getting stiff and sore on a flight. Sometimes I’ll put it behind my back as well for a sort of massage. It’s small, inexpensive, and easy to replace.
– Brian Povinelli, senior vice president, global brand leader, Westin Hotels Resorts and Le Mérdien, starwoodhotels.com/westin

• Walk! John Muir, the great naturalist and explorer once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” So anytime that I am away from home, I build in ample time to walk. Whether strolling beside a bucolic sheep-filled hillside in New Zealand or meandering along the River Seine in Paris, there’s no better way to appreciate a locale. And if I’m on a long beach or path, pure bliss is listening to a good book on tape. In fact, I often say that as a writer, my best travel stories come to me, unfolding while I’m inhaling the scenery on two feet. In my book, My City, My New York: Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places, so many people talked about the joy of walking that I devoted an entire chapter to it. As Mayor Bloomberg told me, “What do I love to do in New York? Walking the streets.” Walking is the ultimate way to explore. I never know what magic I will uncover.
– Jeryl Brunner, journalist and book author, jerylbrunner.com

• Try Instagram (instagram.com). It combines the fun of photography with the limit of text and is very immediate. There’s no editing like the way you do with blogs or articles. It’s much more off-the-cuff and uses filters that are reminiscent of the past like a Polaroid. It’s a fun way to connect on social media with friends and fellow travelers — and keeps my eyes sharp for an image that works well within the confines of the small frame.
– Waheeda Harris, travel journalist, about.me/waheedaharris

• Relax. I refuse to work on airplanes. I cherish the in-flight experience as much-needed “me time” — drinking an extra glass of wine, watching silly movies, attempting to defeat Spider solitaire in my iPod. When I see hard-nosed road warriors working on their laptops six hours into a flight, I don’t feel guilty; I feel pity.
– Mark Orwoll, international editor, Travel Leisure, travelandleisure.com

• Pack clothes that are wrapped in dry cleaning plastic. That way, if baggage handlers leave your luggage in the rain, no worries.
• Carry on the plane noise-cancelling headphones and nuts and raisins. Also, most important for me is the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine. If my flight is delayed for take-off and electronics are put away, I am guaranteed a good read for two hours!
• Download these two apps, which are on my iPad: FlightTrack (for gate numbers, delays, change in terminals; much faster and more accurate than anything posted at the airport) and The Weather Channel (for an up-to-date destination forecast).
• Bring an extra box of cough drops. When someone near me on the plane is hacking away, I give him or her the whole box — seriously!
– Laura Davidson, president, Laura Davidson Public Relations, ldpr.com

• Tuck into your carry-on bag something sentimental. Ten years ago, my sweet son gave me a wooden Christmas ornament that depicts San Cristobal, the patron saint of travelers. It has been in my camera bag ever since as I have traveled through more than 40 countries. It always brings a smile to my face and a sense of peace when I see it or run my hand across it.
• Maximize your camera’s use. I can barely read my own handwriting, particularly when I scribble in a hurry, so I use my camera to “take notes.” I snap a photo of my guestroom door, because few hotels put numbers on keys anymore. I also document restaurant names, menus, nametags, business cards, street and destination signs.
– Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, travel journalist, familytravel.com

• Keep a packing list on your smart-phone. For different destinations, my iPhone Note page gets tweaked. Recently, I forgot to bring my sunglasses, which now have been added to that list.
• Ask the hotel staff for destination recommendations. At our Jamaican hotels, many of the staff will go out in the evenings. If you’re a bit timid about going out on your own in a foreign shore, the people who work in hotels know all the fun things to do. At GoldenEye, many of our team love bringing guests out for a night on the town and showing them how great the island is. All you need to do is ask.
– Rachel Harrison, chief marketing officer, Island Outpost, islandoutpost.com

• Bring a bulldog clip for those hotel rooms where the drapes don’t quite close and the light floods in. It is invaluable!
– Geoffrey Weill, president, Geoffrey Weill Public Relations and Marketing, geoffreyweill.com

• Keep a journal. I will not leave home without a small moleskin notebook and a pen I love. While I often take notes for professional reasons, I have one notebook that is used exclusively for personal thoughts and observations. Each morning on the road, I start the day by writing. It can be on any topic — about the place I am, about missing home, any random feelings. It really centers me and gives me something to refer back to once home again.
– Susan Farewell, travel journalist; founder, travel concierge firm — Farewell Travels LLC, farewelltravels.com

• Tuck in a roll of Scotch tape. It comes in handy to close the lids of messy products like shampoo, creams, and perfume before popping them into my suitcase. Can also use tape to jury-rig all kinds of stuff on the road, from torn documents to dangling hems.
– Heidi Sarna, travel journalist, heidisarna.com

• Stay safe at your destination by thinking outside the box, especially when traveling solo! When other travelers ask you what you do for a living and you’re not sure if they can be trusted, tell them you’re a policewoman on holiday. I do it all the time just to be on the safe side.
– Evelyn Hannon, editor, journeywoman.com

• Be comfortable. I travel with my own down pillow. No matter how luxurious a hotel, I don’t like to rest my head on an unknown pillow. This is a bit of an annoying habit, but one that gives me comfort and I simply can’t kick. I don’t even take the pillow on the plane; it’s in my checked luggage.
– Andrea Schnoor, president, Andrea Schnoor Communications, andreaschnoor.com

• Stash a roll-up backpack. Invariably, in my travels, I will need to carry something around or buy an item. A foldable pack is easy, safe, and convenient. It also offers a great carry-on option for souvenirs.
• Invest in a voltage converter, if you travel internationally. Choose a universal converter that has different prongs for anywhere in the world.
• Buy travel insurance. I value its security. You never know whether your trip will need to be canceled, your luggage will get lost, or you will get sick.
– Jason Hedrick, American Express travel insider; general manager, Azumano Travel, azumano.com

• Exercise your way out of jet lag. My secret for overcoming jet lag and sleepless travel is forcing myself to do an afternoon or evening cardio workout (preferably ellipticals), which, after the first ten minutes, almost always makes me feel renewed.
– Peter Knego, cruise journalist, maritimematters.com/category/ship-blogs

• Pack your curiosity! It’s a quality that often eludes me in my day-to-day life where I walk around with a see no evil/hear no evil/speak no evil attitude. But when I’m on the road, I am open and eager for new experiences.
– Sherry Amantenstein, travel journalist

• Take a little travel clock that shows multiple time zones at once. I set mine for where I am at the moment and the time at home. That stops me from arriving bleary-eyed from wherever and calling my family at some weird hour. My clock also comes with a little flashlight and an alarm.
• Consider a small digital picture frame loaded with favorite family photos. Setting it up in my hotel room makes me feel more connected while traveling.
• Tuck a small lavender sachet into your luggage. It makes my clothes smell good and keeps odors in dirty-clothes away. I have two daughters and they have their favorite sachet travel scents, too.
— Nancy Schretter, managing editor, Family Travel Network, familytravelnetwork.com

• Evaluate your sporting equipment before traveling. Almost all equipment is more expensive to buy outside the U.S. If you’re going to Britain, the Caribbean, or even Hawaii to play golf, for instance, note that golf balls are much more expensive away from the Continental U.S., so bring enough with you. Same with most other sports, and that goes for game-appropriate clothing, as well.
• Traveling to play golf? (I’ll bet this tip applies to skiing, too.) If you will only be playing a round or two (so only skiing one day), consider leaving your clubs/skis at home and renting. Lugging equipment through airports and hotels, as well as dealing with airlines, can be easily avoided. Just figure out for yourself the threshold — two or more rounds? more than a day of skiing? — that makes sense to you for bringing your own gear.
– James Frank, contributing editor, LINKS magazine, linksmagazine.com

• Never leave home without a good read. As travel is always unpredictable, I bring my iPad, a few magazines, and the New York Times Book Review section. This helps make time stuck on planes or at airports positive and pleasurable.
• Use the GateGuru app. It helps me track and organize my travels and sync with Tripit.com and Kayak.com.
– Cheryl Andrews, president, Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications, cam-pr.com

• Slip a small flashlight in your carry-on bag. It comes in handy checking nooks and crannies for dropped pens and whatnot.
– Steve Larese, travel journalist, stevelarese.com

• Appreciate travel traditions. It never fails. Every time I start packing my brown Tumi duffel, my Havanese, named “Mojito,” goes into doggie funk. He sulks out of the bedroom, lies down with his fuzzy head between his front paws, sad eyes cast upward revealing the pathetically adorable white rim of his little eyeballs. He knows the drill too well: Another trip for me. Fast-forward to my return and it’s a euphoric ritual. I drag my bag through the door, and Mojito practically goes into convulsions. After frenzied thigh-high jumps on my leg, I whisk this squiggling 17-pound blur into my arms and exchange kisses and licks. When I put him down he pounces on my bag and furiously scratches at the zipper demanding my help, so he can bury his nose sniffing through the deliciously stale smells of a week’s worth of laundry. Then he locates his prey: a new squeaky toy from a strange land that he can happily destroy. Mamma’s home!
– Valarie D’Elia, travel journalist, TV host/correspondent, NY1 News, travelwithval.com

• Carry Clif bars (clifbar.com), since there is a good chance of missing a meal.
• Load your iPod with podcasts, since there is a good chance of getting delayed.
• Bring a real book, not battery dependent, since finding a power outlet is luck, not a given, in most airports.
– Everett Potter, editor-in-chief, Everett Potter’s Travel Report, everettpotter.com

• Share daily experiences with a faraway loved one. My travel ritual that truly helps me enjoy each place I go even more? Everyday, I email what I’ve discovered and experienced, along with photographs, to my 97-year-old grandmother, who instilled in me my love of travel. She likes to hear about my adventures and always emails me back smart questions. It is a way to share the beauty of what I’m seeing with someone else when I so often travel alone for my work.
– Karen Schaler, travel journalist, TV host/correspondent, Travel Therapy® TV and online video series; book author, Travel Therapy: Where Do You Need to Go?; traveltherapytrips.com; pix11.com/travel-therapy

• Carry on your luggage. How does a lady do it? Easy: I pick one color — black, brown, blue — then build the suitcase contents to match. Scarves, jewelry, shawls, sweaters add color. Every jacket has both a skirt and pants that compliment. Twin sweater sets mix and match. Keep shoes to a minimum, one low and one high heel should do it. Finally, a little hand wash detergent saves the day.
– Lou Hammond, president, Lou Hammond Associates Public Relations, louhammond.com

• Check your luggage. While you hear most frequent travelers talk about how they can squeeze everything for a week into a carry-on bag, I am the opposite. I spend half my life traveling and wouldn’t enjoy it without my favorite things. My cosmetics bag has small-size versions of all the many products I use at home so I don’t feel like I’m always in a strange place. It’s worth it to me to check my luggage and make my travel life more comfortable.
• Select lightweight fabrics, so you can layer your clothes. They don’t take up a lot of room in luggage. Also, I never feel like I’m wearing the same thing over and over.
– Marcia Frost, travel journalist and content editor, cocktailsandjoints.com; wineandspiritstravel.com; marciafrost.com

Have to check a bag? If traveling with a companion, swap a day’s worth of clothing into each other’s luggage. My husband and I do this. That way if one of our bags goes AWOL, neither of us has to run to the gift shop for an emergency T-shirt.
– Sally Kilbridge, editor-in-chief, destinationw.com

Finally, I leave you with my tried-and-true trip game-changers.
• Bring a lightweight electrical extension cord. I like to sleep with my iPhone on my nightstand (late-night emails, texts, twitter, music, photos, facebook, Huff Post news, and morning alarm), but hotels often don’t have an available outlet near the bed. Plug in that twelve-feet-of-energy across the room and — voilà! — the world is near my pillow. Traveling as much as I do away from family and friends, this connectedness is much appreciated.
• Stash extra Zip-lock plastic bags in quart and gallon sizes. Perfect for carrying a delicious pain au chocolat and croissant that I didn’t finish at breakfast, double-wrapping potential leaky toiletries, collecting colorful autumn leaves or beach seashells, and more.
• Snap a photo of your luggage (with your phone camera) when you have to check it. That way, if the bag gets lost, you’ll have a timely pic to show the airline rep instead of trying to describe it.
• Carry your business cards everywhere. Never know who you’re going to meet. It’s then easy to have your contact info at the ready. Some of my cherished relationships started in unlikely far-flung places and were jumpstarted by my handing peeps my card.
• Smile. Yep, it sounds corny, but I see too many people wearing frowns. A smile is good for you, especially when traveling away from home. It’s good for strangers who see you. It changes attitudes, turns a tricky situation around, and adds grace to the day. It opens hearts and doors. It doesn’t cost anything and yet is priceless. It’s the first thing I pack.



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