Back on the road for the next round of reviews with some tips-and-tricks for the novice travelers
PHOTO: Me on the set of ABC's Let's Talk Live (c) Sery Kim
After almost a week at home after my wonderful trip to Japan with the Four Seasons, I am headed back on the road today for three weeks of extended travel. Abu Dhabi, Rome, New York City, Florence, a quick stop in Munich, London, Wales, Brighton, London again and then finally back to Washington, D.C. Even for me it's a bit of a ridiculous schedule but I wanted to do it -- and yes, you read that right. I will be in Italy this upcoming week, then flying back to the East Coast for a few days, before literally heading back to Italy after four days back.
THIS. IS. ME.
Sometimes when I look at my schedule, I wonder why I do this to myself. I had the absolute worst time this week trying to get over Japan's jet lag. I didn't sleep at all Monday night and Tuesday I think I slept about two hours. This entire week has been a haphazard adventure, at best, and last night was just about the first time I slept normal hours, i.e. bed when others sleep (around 2:00 am) and up when others wake up (7:30 am). Back to normal just in time to get on an entirely different time schedule than Japan or DC -- Abu Dhabi is eight hours ahead of DC but five hours behind Japan.
I wish I had a helpful solution to jet lag, but after two years of nearly non-stop traveling I really don't. In 2015 I can't remember having jet lag because I don't actually remember sleeping at all. That's probably why I was so much skinner than I am now. When I'm busy I don't eat. But the one thing I will say for those of you who do want to travel like a travel writer: don't drink before, during, or immediately after your flight. People often make the mistake of drinking a lot because it's free, but that's the worst thing you can do for your body. Alcohol, for me at least, is a stimulant, so unless I need to stay awake to write, I avoid it at all costs and instead drink copious amounts of water.
Actually, come to think of it, here are 10 good tips for those of you who are also hitting the road:
1. Bring an extra pillow for your lower back --> You know how they give young lawyers at law firms fancy chairs because, after three years of law school pursuing the job of your dreams, all that hardwork only means you have more hardwork to do, i.e. 2,500 billable hours a year. This means sitting A LOT. The lower back compression is just as real as the the need to have compression socks. If I am connecting domestically before a long-haul flight, I snag a few extra pillows from them and bring them onto the longer flight. If there is no domestic connection, then as soon as you get onboard ask for an extra pillow. Airlines have them but give them out on first come, first serve.
2. Pick a seat on the aisle --> Everyone thinks the window is the best seat for viewing when you fly, but that is not the case. On a long flight you actually want to get up and walk around and if you are on the inside then you can't without waking people up so definitely pick an aisle.
3. Pick a seat away from the bathrooms but also away from the meal preparation --> I think this is pretty self-explanatory.
4. Check out what movies and t.v. shows are on your flight --> When you fly every week like me, the "new" options tend to be "old." I really can only watch so many Disney movies and the new Bridget Jones before it all becomes a blur. So check out what is showing and be prepared with a book for backup. Nothing in travel is worse than 6+ hours of flying with no entertainment.
5. Make sure you use the restroom to freshen up while they are serving the final snack before landing --> There is always a lengthy queue to use the restroom after the final snack is served but there is literally NO line when you try to use the restroom while they are serving. If you can manage to avoid the stewardess serving then make sure you head there to wash your face, brush your teeth and freshen up any makeup.
6. Don't be mean to the stewardess --> Self-explanatory. You're stuck with them for a long time. Even if they are racist (that's definitely happened to me), you complain after you land.
7. If you do have a problem, definitely complain about it --> If you hated your flight, hated your seat, hated your food, hated everything, then tell someone. Seriously. The aforementioned racist on American Airlines, I definitely complained and I got a free flight out of it.
8. Premium Economy is worth it --> For long-hauls, divide the price of the upgrade by the number of hours on the plane. It's typically about the same cost as a Subway sandwich an hour. DO IT.
9. Please shower before hand --> Again, self-explanatory. You'll thank yourself and everyone around you will thank you too.
10. Charge your phone beforehand --> I know all the airlines say they have charges in the seat but sometimes it doesn't work. Once I was on a business class flight with Air France and not only did my charger not work but the reclining seat didn't work. It's not the people onboard's fault -- and they certainly can't fix it while on board -- and the last thing you need when you land is to have a dead phone. Really. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you board. It's something small but I have definitely needed my phone as soon as I landed only to realize the airplane didn't charge me up.
Anyhoo. Some quick tips. Safe travels!