Road Rules – “Acing the Airport”

We all know that traveling these days isn’t what it used to be.  If you remember the travel days prior to 9/11, we really had it easy and didn’t even know it!  We recall arriving at the airport 20-30 minutes prior to boarding and going straight to the plane.  Clearly those days are no more!

  • Always allow plenty of time to get to the airport so that you have some time to relax before boarding—a stressful act in and of itself!  Bring your PATIENCE with you.  Constant complaining or rudeness never gets you anywhere!
  • If you are a frequent “international” flyer, it pays to enroll in the Global Entry/Trusted Traveler program through the government website:  It will save time and patience when returning from an international trip by allowing you to go through a special kiosk instead of waiting in long lines for a customs agent.
  • A new application process will greatly increase the availability of TSA Pre-Check benefits to a broader population of U.S. citizens nationwide.  The TSA Pre-Check Application Program requires a background check, fingerprints, and an application fee of $85.00 for a five-year membership.  Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre-Check lanes at security checkpoints at more than 100 participating airports and on nine major U.S. airlines.  For information:
  • Know the TSA rules on what you can and cannot take through security.  Know the difference between liquids and gels that are subject to the 3-1-1 rule.  The TSA website  is helpful if you’re confused.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that will get you through security without having to disrobe—your fellow travelers will appreciate this!  Undergarments with “wires” almost always get you a pat-down.
  • Remember to remove shoes, coats, jackets and sweaters.  Slip-on shoes are a must!  Remove your laptop, empty your pockets, and hang on to that boarding pass and ID while going through the scanner.
  • Jewelry can be a pain—the least amount the better—and don’t put it on until you get through security.  Keep it in your purse.  Little drawstring jewelry pouches are great for this and will keep everything together.
  • Make it easy on yourself and your fellow travelers by having all those things you will need during your flight at the ready in your carry-on.  Place items such as glasses, books, medications, etc. in a bag that can be easily removed before you stow your carry-on in the overhead compartment.
  • A pashmina can be used for extra warmth or to wrap around your head for privacy while you sleep.  Beware of the “airline” blanket.  We’re not sure how sanitary they are!
  • Always clean the tray table on the plane.  We heard from an insider that they are rarely cleaned!   Use sanitary wipes (or hand sanitizer if you don’t have wipes).
  • You never know when you will need a quick snack, so always have protein bars, nuts, string cheese, etc. in your carry on.  Hunger makes you grumpy.   We also like the convenient flat expandable water bottles that you can fill once you’ve passed security.  We got ours at The Container Store.
  • Above all, be courteous.  Air travel, these days, is as stressful as it gets!  Leave that bad attitude at home!


Road Rules – “Packing With A Plan”

We all have our secrets for packing and if you’ve done it as many times as we have, you know what works and what doesn’t.  With proper planning, you can be on your way in no time!

  • Make a personalized packing list and save it on your computer for future use.  Include categories for clothing, toiletries, shoes, medications, documents, technology, etc.  There are many online that can be printed or make your own.  Get things like toiletries and medications ready ahead of time.  Be sure to check for items that need to be replaced.
  • Make sure you have a plan of what to wear.  Less is more!  Check with your airline for their baggage policy.  Coordinate shoes and clothing so that you cut down on taking more than you need.  ALWAYS check the weather at your destination.  It will give you an idea of what to expect.
  • After an unfortunate and embarrassing incident involving a piece of luggage with a broken zipper circling the carousel, we never pack anything “loose”.  Mesh packing cubes are the way to go.  Not only do they keep everything together, but they keep things organized and fit snuggly in your bag.  We like the ones from, and  Eagle Creek makes a great zipper bag made from parachute fabric which is super lightweight.
  • Pack anything you can’t live without in your carry-on: medications, glasses, contacts, documents, passport, etc.  Never pack valuables in your checked bag.  To save time when getting settled in your seat, have items you’ll want immediately in a plastic bag or container that can easily be removed rom your carry-on before it is stowed.
  • Always carry zip-lock plastic bags in different sizes.  They come in handy for so many things.  Those outside pockets of your suitcase are great for these.
  • Our daily newspaper comes in a long plastic bag – perfect for shoes.  And if those shoes have a not-so-nice odor, put a dryer sheet inside each one.  You can also store a few in your luggage for a nice, fresh smell.
  • To prevent leaking, place a piece of plastic wrap on bottles before replacing the cap.
  • We always carry hangers and pack them in the outside pocket of our suitcase.  There are never enough hangers in hotels!
  • Never leave home without duct tape.  It’s ugly, but strong and can be used for numerous things.  So your zipper broke on your suitcase in a remote area?  No worries!  This stuff works!!
  • Need to organize your earrings and smaller jewelry items?  Those plastic divided pill boxes are perfect for this.

Road Rules – “Know Before You Go”

Any kind of travel these days can be stressful! Being prepared and having a good attitude can alleviate a lot of that tension. We’ve traveled just about everywhere and learned lessons the hard way. We’re offering our survival techniques to keep you stress-free while traveling the world. We’re here to help you become the ultimate road warrior!

  • Always place identification inside your luggage, easily spotted, in case it’s lost. It is a good idea to put a destination address such as a hotel on this as well as your home address. If you have cell phone access, add that number too.
  • If you’re traveling internationally, check with your health care provider for information of coverage in a foreign country. One of our staff was hurt at a meeting and her insurance covered her ER visit in Brussels. No matter where you go, take your insurance card with you.
  • Read up on Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and get fitted for compression stockings to prevent blood clots on flights of more than three hours. Jobst and Medi are two brands that have excellent products. We like the nude ones that are toeless. They really don’t look so bad with sandals!
  • Make a photocopy of your passport. You’ll want to keep the copy in your wallet once you get to your destination and the original in your hotel safe. Give a copy to a friend or family member back home just in case the original is lost or stolen.
  • Make sure your name is correct on your ticket—it must be identical to the government issued ID you will be travelling with (driver’s license or passport).
  • Take your driver’s license and proof of auto insurance in the event you need to drive or rent a car unexpectedly.
  • Call your credit card company and advise them you will be out of the country so that charges will not be declined.