Tag Archives | Business

Airport-ing: How to Keep Your Clothes on

Tell us if this has ever happened to you:  You are late getting to the airport, a line of cars cue up to get into the parking garage.  Once you get in the door dragging you suitcase that has one wheel that doesn’t work right.  Then you line up at the airline ticketing, get to the front, only to find out that you picked the domestic/international line… Turns out you need to go over there.  Then your luggage is overweight,  you are forced to spread eagle your Samsonite right in the center of the airport and of course your leopard print unmentionables are going to be right on top.  Enter a frisky pat down in security, a split coffee, and then a late flight.  Ahhh the joys of air travel!

The time has come for the Fighting couple to reveal our super “secrets” to getting through the TSA regulations/customs/check in quickly and without doing a strip tease for a hall of complete strangers.  Our only warning, please use these new found super powers wisely.

 

Packing1) Prep and Pack-One of the keys to getting through security fast begins long before you set foot at the aeroporto.   Strategic packing can and will take much of the stress and hand-wringing out of the entire experience.  Taking a little time to prep three key things

Poundage-The male in our relationship is the guilty one of over packing.  He readily admits it.  Guilty as charged.  Knowing what your bag weighs can save you so much time.  If in doubt, weight it before you leave.  Stand on the scale…scream and call it a liar.  Step back on with the luggage in hand and subtract the two.

Parking and Petrol-One of the little known secrets to smooth airport-ing is parking.  Read the signs as you drive in, understand the value of short term vs long term parking.  It may be cheaper and quicker to park in long term for the short term.  Crazy huh?  If you are returning a rental car, time your approach to the airport to hit a gas station a few miles away from the tarmac.  This will save you some hard earned pesos and you will avoid the line of other Chevrolet Malibu renters as they overpay for their petrol.

Chems-By now I am sure even the novice traveler is aware that you must place everything you own in a tiny plastic baggie.  Many airports are not even offering complimentary bags now, you must bring your own.  We check our baggage.  Sign up for the credit card that gives you one free bag and forget about all the bags, leave your chems in checked luggage.

Airport2) Be Kind– Take your yellow highlighter and circle this super power on your computer.  One of the most effective ways to get through security fast and efficiently is to just be nice.  We spend an inordinate amount of time in airports.  We have never seen a situation where someone gets testy with TSA/Customs Office/airline personnel and it makes everything magically go smoothly.  Usually these situations escalate and bad things happen.  Don’t let it happen to you.    The next time you get a pat down, give them a smile and say thank you.  Move on.

3) Be Smart-Our tip for smart “Q-ing”.  Books have been written and wars have been fought about standing in line.  There are some cultures that do well at cueing and others not so much.  Our secret is when in Rome…do as the French.  Mimic what everyone else seems to be doing.   Keep your eyes open for new lines opening.  Most importantly check with those around you to confirm you are in the right line.

A few more tips for smart airport-ing:

1)  Double check your expiration of your Identification, passport, ect.

2) Smart people check in online.  Why stand in line when you don’t have to?

3)  Give the TSA webpage a quick look-see once a year to stay up on TSA regulations.

Airport shopping4) Shop!   Long gone are the days when airports were these long halls of boredom.  For the most part, airports have become shrines to capitalism.   These temples of temptation offer every food, fashion and overpriced item your heart could desire.   During our recent trip to Thailand we flew through BKK (Bangkok Airport).  We were amazed at the shopping!  Show up to the airport early on purpose.  Wander through the overpriced duty-free shops, hit the quirky souvenir shops and take in the chic boutiques.

5)  Travel Aps-with the advent of the smart phone, the entire airport experience can be a lot less stressful.  Here is a list of a few that might help:

TripIt-One of those catch all aps.  Simply forward your travel (air, hotel, and car) reservations and it captures it all on one readable place.  Cool huh?

GateGuru-What gate is your flight changed to?  Need a map for of the airport?  Get the Guru.

iTranslate, Babelingo-She said what?  Get a good translation ap.

iTrans, HopStop-How to get to and from the airport via public transport.

This post was sponsored by Holiday Hypermarket.

What are your secrets to getting around airports?  What did we miss?  Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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Our secrets for getting around Venice

 

It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.  -Peggy Guggenheim

 

Ahhhh…Venice.  The sights, the smells, the romance…the endless hours of walking around trying to figure out where the heck you are!  While getting lost is a Venice pastime that we highly, highly recommend.  At times, you want to get to a certain place by a certain time.  We are here to help.  Let’s begin our Dos with a Don’t:

Car

Enter in one of the “Fighting Couple’s” biggest fights.  Mike Google mapped Venice, and said, “it sure looks like you could take your car over to the first island where all the cruise ships are landed.  While there, we will find a parking place for an hour or so, unload our luggage, catch a “boat” over to the hotel.  WRONG!  Please don’t try this.  There is not a convenient place to unload a car even for a few seconds.  In the off chance to do get unloaded, the trek to a “boat” to get somewhere else is a mighty hike up and down stairs.  Park at the airport and take the water taxi.  Problem solved and fight avoided.  Venice is not car friendly on any level.

venice bridgeWalking

We mention this first as it is really the quickest and most cost effective way to get from point A to point B in Venice.  There are a number of great mobile phone aps that help you navigate afoot.  Find a really good map and enjoy the adventure.  Venice is made up of two central islands with the Grand Canal in a snake shape dividing them.  There is another long string bean looking island underlining the two above called the Guidecca.  There are bridges back and forth from the first two.  You must find another mode of transport over to Guidecca.  Small islands dot the exterior off the main three islands.

Walking around Venice can be a little daunting and more than a little confusing.  One hint is to focus on the bridges to decipher where you are at. If you can find a bridge, you can likely find yourself on a map.

 

Water Bus (Vaporetti)

The water bus or the Vaporetti is second only to walking for both convenience and cost.  During our stay beside walking, we relied on the Water Bus to get around almost exclusively.  Your first voyage with the water bus can be a little confusing so we have some easy steps for you:

1)Figure out where you are. (easier said than done…)  Then find a water bus stop.  They should look like this (below).  Pick up a water bus map.  Find a “line” that goes to your destination.  They are color coded to help.  The station below you can catch the red 2, purple 41, and 42 as well as the blue N.

Venice water bus

2) Buy a water bus ticket.  Most are timed 1day, 3 days, week…ect.  Get your tickets at some of the water bus stops, as well as some newspaper stands, or little stores around the stops.  If you board without a ticket, directly find a uniformed crew member to purchase a fare.  If you are caught without a ticket, you will be forced to pay a hefty fine.  Ouch.

3)Scan your ticket before boarding the bus.  Find something that looks like this (see below).  Hold your ticket next to it.  It will give you a little beep.

water bus ticket

4)Board your boat.  There are seats inside and out, standing or sitting.

5)Enjoy the ride.  You are going to have one of the most iconic views in all the world.  Venice is made to be seen on the water.

 

If your stay is 3 or 7 days you can purchase a Venice Card.  They are available online or at the airport.  This handy tool includes buses as well as waterbuses in the area.  As an added bonus it includes free or reduced admission to a number of museums and cathedrals in Venice.  You can also include the water bus trip to and from the airport.  A great deal for sure.  More info can be found at www.venicecard.com.

 

Water Taxi

Water Taxi VeniceWater Taxi’s are just that.  Very similar set up as “turf taxis”.  Wave one down.  Give them the location you want to go.  They will either have a time meter or quote you a flat rate.  A word of caution: Venice Taxi’s are the most expensive taxi’s in the world.  Know how and what you will be changed before shoving off.  The beauty of Water Taxis is they are fast.  Very fast.  These are the standard wooden motor boats.  It is usually just your party 1-6 people.   Drivers typically know the city very well, speak “tourist” in a few languages and usually offer a covered cabin.  Taxis can be few and far between in the early evening.  A note of caution.  Water Taxi’s do not have access the entire city.  There are canals that the boats cannot enter.  Have a general idea where you are heading and question your pilot if you are taking a roundabout path.

 

Gondola

Venice ManGondolas are also known by their other name: “Gone dollars”.  These floating coffin shaped boats have been around since the 12th century.  Taking an evening ride through the Grand Canal and down past the opera is something that every human must do once in a lifetime.  With that said the gondola as a mode of transportation to get around the city is not a good idea.  They are just too demmed expensive.  They average $100 for thirty mins!  We hear that you can get a better deal before sunset or before 7pm.  Good luck.  We highly recommend finding your gondola at one of the “approved” gondola stands at the northwest corner of St. Mark’s Square.

Check out our post on a Morbid Side Trip in Venice.

Enjoy your stay in Venice.  Try one of each of the above.  (Skip the car one.)  Take in the sights.  Eat a lot of gelato.  Kiss your lover a lot.  Make memories that you will never forget.  Bon voyage!

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10 Reasons Why I Suck As a Travel Girlfriend

–A hilarious blog post at http://www.nomadicchick.com/.   A must read!

There could be good reason why I’m single.

  1. I always pick nonsensical, dangerous destinations where you could be decapitated or kidnapped for ransom.
  2. I snore.  So loud you’ll open your eyes expecting a 300 pound truck driver next to you.  It’s ten times worse when I’m inebriated.
  3. I’ll always make you taste a dish first, in case of parasites or hair.
  4. If I even catch a glimpse of a rat, and let’s face it rats multiply across continents, I will shatter glass with my screams, thereby embarrassing the crap out of you.
  5. I’ll force you to carry the heavy gear.  Cause I’m cute and can get away with it.
  6. My sense of direction is tragically bad, which leads to hilarity and serendipitous encounters – NOT.
  7. My bladder is the size of a kidney bean.  Example: I demanded that a Thai bus driver stop in the middle of nowhere so I could take care of business during a precarious ride towards the Cambodian border.
  8. If you hanker for an erotic massage after a long day of traveling, forget it.  My ex use to call my fingers bone spurs.
  9. I tend to wander aimlessly in markets.  Welcome to two new emotions – annoyed and frustrated.
  10. Self-catering?  What’s that?
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Surviving the Talkative Airplane Seatmate

(CNN) — All I wanted to do was to fall asleep in my tiny seat on the last leg of a grueling day of air travel, when I was cornered by the Talkative Airplane Seatmate — a species oblivious to yawns and one-word answers.

My chatty neighbor was a forklift accident expert — a job he described in great detail as my eyelids grew heavier and heavier.

I mentioned that I was barely functioning after an 11-hour flight from China to California, followed by a six-hour layover at San Francisco International Airport.

Still, he recounted his life story, showed pictures of his family and listed his hobbies. I finally fell asleep, but when I opened my eyes, he opened his mouth again.

Most travelers have crossed paths with the Talkative Airplane Seatmate at some point, discovering that even lackluster responses and chilly body language can’t stop the stories or personal questions from coming.

“As soon as the guy beside me sat down in the aisle, I knew he was itching to strike up a conversation. I avoided eye contact like the plague, but he wasn’t a master of social cues,” wrote an air traveler this month in a post on Flightsfromhell.com, a Web site where passengers vent about their horrible flight experiences.

“I grabbed my book and made the mistake of turning my light on, an action that inspired him to break the ice. Immediately, he was completely facing me, leaning into my seat and asking me questions.”

Twenty-four percent of business travelers like talking to people on planes, according to a survey by the corporate travel management company Egencia. When trying to signal they want to be left alone, half said they start reading, 38 percent listen to music and 15 percent pretend they are sleeping.

Gregg Rottler, founder of Flightsfromhell.com, said he tries to stop talkers in their tracks by bringing a bag full of newspapers and reading throughout the flight.

Randy Petersen, editor and publisher of Inside Flyer magazine, flies up to 70 times a year on business. He said his favorite defensive strategy is to put on headphones immediately.

“I never want to be a curmudgeon,” Petersen said. “[But] there are plenty of people out there who find 11 o’clock at night on the red-eye from LAX to JFK to be a perfect time to be talking. I take the red-eye because I need to get some rest before I go immediately to a meeting.”

Nervous, nosy or networking

Why do these overly aggressive talkers do it?

“I think most of them are clueless, to be honest,” said etiquetteexpert and author Anna Post, who is also a spokeswoman for theEmily Post Institute.

“They’re not thinking about how their chatting could be affecting someone else. They’re just thinking that they want to talk, so they’re talking.”

Some also may be trying to network — especially during tough economic times.

If you’re not sure how much to talk with your neighbor or are faced with a Talkative Airplane Seatmate, Post offers the following tips:

To chat or not to chat? There is no obligation to talk with the stranger seated next to you, but some eye contact, a smile or a nod can serve as basic acknowledgment of that person. If you’d like to start a conversation, remember that some people may be shy or exhausted.

Stick to basic subjects. “Avoid things that are overly personal,” Post advised. “Avoid hot button things like politics. … You’re in a small space, you don’t want to set off any fuses.” Good topics? Your destination, the movie that just played or the book the person is reading.

Early clues that your neighbor has had enough. When people begin answering questions with a question or respond with “uh huh, sure, mmm hmm,” it’s time to back off, Post said.

Signaling you’ve had enough. “I like to do the long, slow unwinding of my iPod ear buds,” Post said. “It gives them plenty of time to recognize where I’m going without just cutting them off short. Then when they take a break, I say it’s been great chatting, I’m going to turn on the movie for a bit or I’m going to go back to my book now.”

Be polite but firm. Post advises against telling the person directly that you don’t want to talk. Instead, turn your attention to another task such as reading or doing work.

Networking in the air. Looking for business contacts is fine, as long as you’re not pushy. Being overly aggressive can damage a potential business relationship.

Talking with a colleague. When sitting next to a co-worker, a boss or someone you supervise, chat at least a little, Post said. “If they’re senior to you, follow their lead. Let them set the tone for how much to chat. If you’re on more equal footing, it’s going to be a bit more give and take.”

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