*** SHOW NOTES ***
Recorded at the home office, Chateau Relaxo, FL.
I admit it I’m a foodie, I’ve had weeks where it’s been Chinese in Pearl, MS, BBQ in Hattiesburg, MS and Crab Cakes in Kenner, LA. Not to mention finding myself back in Orlando hitting up Hillstone in Winter Park or Pisces Rising out in Mt. Dora during the weekend. Here’s a heads up for all those that enjoy eating like a 5-year-old…. White Castle is coming to Orlando. Late 2020 or early 2021 those tasty sliders will be available off I-4 in West O-Town.
Short of pretzels and Lorna Doone cookies I very rarely eat on planes. For some reason, the odor of food is magnified inside that cylindrical aluminum tube, possibly Alton Brown could shed some light on why.
Airports spend huge dollars attracting quality food vendors to their terminals, and in turn, there is no shortage of opportunities to clog your arteries while waiting for your next flight.
- Atlanta Hartsfield (ATL) – Paschal’s Southern Cuisine (Concourse B), Chicken + Beer (Concourse D)
- Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) – Zatarain’s (Concourse C)
- Memphis International Airport (MEM) – Interstate Bar-B-Que (Concourse C), Sam Adams Brew House (Concourse A)
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – Hissho Sushi (Atrium)
- Baltimore International (BWI) – Flying Dog Taphouse (Atrium)
Of course, there’s no shortage of McDonald’s, Moe’s and Asian Chao, to fill your belly. However, none of these culinary delights need to be brought on a plane.
That being said, I’ve brought countless “pre-packaged” local delicacies back home with me.
- Seattle provided several bars of chocolate… I passed on the Starbucks.
- In Buffalo, it was maple syrup
- In Nashville, more than one six-pack of Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA has made it back home with me.
- A layover in San Franciso Internation was worthy of some sourdough bread.
Prepping for holiday travel.
It’s the holidays, which is high season for travel. In episode #50 we talked about the busiest travel days – Wednesday, November 27 one of the busiest travel days around, since folks are trying to get with family. Follow that busy day up with the second and third busiest days of Saturday, November 3oth and Sunday, December 1st as folks are trying to get away from family.
The next big holiday is Christmas. This year it’s on a Wednesday, which makes it tough to parlay it into a three or four day weekend. Most folks plan for two chunks of time off each year, the summer and then around the Christmas holidays. Since Christmas is mid-week Saturday, December 21st and Sunday, December 22nd, will be busy as folks will be cashing in on those PTO days. The next busiest day will be Sunday, December 29th as folks need to get home in time for New Years’. As you would expect the best two days for travel are Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
My last ten days of travel have looked like this – Last Tuesday I flew into Atlanta and then back to Orlando late Friday night. An early morning Saturday morning back to Atlanta with another early morning flight yesterday back to Orlando. Yesterday the morning of the 25th at the Atlanta airport we made it through TSA pre-check in under 3 minutes.
Let’s go with the fact that you’ve already booked your flights, hotel rooms and reserved your rental car. I have three travel tips ….. be organized, have a plan and pack smart.
Be Organized – This covers a crazy amount of ground, and asks a bunch of questions.
- Traveling with family? Is everyone’s name spelled correctly on their ticket? Storytime…….
- Arrive early. I once worked with a person whose single goal in life had to have been boarding the plane right before they shut the door. I always arrive at the airport 2 hours before my flight. So what if I’m early, most airports have WiFi and I can always get some work done.
- Apps, have you downloaded all the applicable apps? Airline, Hotel & Rental Car? Do you remember your user name and password? Don’t forget rideshare as well as food share. How about NetFlix and Hulu.
- TSA app – perfect for anxious travelers as it will let you know approximate wait times and will also tell you what you can and can’t bring on the plane. Turkey … yes, Gravy… No, Carving Set……No
- Confirmation numbers. Try TripIt, it’s free and will easily organize all your travel information. If not create an e-mail with all those numbers, send it to everyone in your party, including yourself.
- Phone numbers and addresses. Add it to the email above! It’s great that you’re staying at the Hampton Inn Lawrenceville, GA. If you google that, you’ll find five Hampton Inns.
- How are you getting to the airport? Airport parking might be in short supply and can be expensive. An airport shuttle might make sense. Curbside drop-off as well as pick-up.
- How are you getting to the hotel? Rental car? Is the rental center on-site or off? Does the hotel offer a shuttle? If so, where does it meet you?
Like I said a bunch of questions, but if you have “SOME” of the answers it can make travel a bit easier.
Have A Plan – Stuff will go wrong.
- Take a deep breath, seriously. Short of you forgetting to reserve something…. rooms, rides or tickets…. delays are nothing personal and they happen to all of us. How you react to it is what counts.
- Phone and confirmation numbers now become really important. If your flight gets delayed feel free to get in line for the airline counter, along with everyone else, and for no other reason than it’ll make you feel like you’re accomplishing something. At the same time call the airline to plead your case, and you will need both the airline’s phone number and your confirmation number…. and possibly all the confirmation numbers of those in your party.
- Social media… no need to post your frustration. The reason? No one really cares. We’re sorry your vacation ski trip flights delayed. I’ll sit here eating my frozen pizza cheering you on.
- If you’re flights delayed and you choose to leave the terminal make sure you have your boarding pass so you can get back through TSA.
- Fly early in the day. The later in the day, your flight is the greater the chance of experiencing flight delays.
- Kids, if you’re traveling with them, plan to entertain them during a delay. Growing up my Mom always held back a few toys that we’d never seen. When travel plans went sideways she’d hand us these “new” toys and we immediately settle down.
- Clear. Not number one on my list, but a friend recently avoiding a huge TSA line by going through their “quick” 5-Minute application process…. it worked. A worthy consideration at the busier airports. If you have an American Express green card they’ll cover $100.00 of the $179.00 fee.
There’s no way you can cover everything that will go wrong, but covering a few of the scenarios will help to reduce the stress.
Pack Smart – Some Really Important Stuff
- Luggage. I’ve said it a bunch, “There’s two types of luggage, carry-on and lost”. However, I will check luggage, normally it revolves around large bottles of liquid that can’t be carried on. If you check it, make sure it has your contact information on it, and inside it.
- Medicine. My parents classify medicine as this… these pills keep me alive and these pills are for everything else. If you check luggage and you have “keep me alive pills” put them in your carry-on.
- Here’s a did you know? On the side of your pill bottle, there will be a short description of what your medicine looks like. It might include a description of its shape, size, imprint or color. Perfect if you’re looking at a handful of pills. Also, take a picture of the pill bottle with your cell phone.
- Clothes. Believe me, you really don’t need all that stuff. Focus on two pairs of shoes combined with a sensible jacket.
- Snacks. These go in your carry-on, and they will save you massive amounts of cash. Airport food is expensive and a Publix BOGO of granola bars will save you almost $48.00 in airport snacks.
- Wet Wipes. No, not hand sanitizer, but those pre-soaked 3″x6″ fiber clothes. If you’re a germ-a-phobe they’re great, but they will also remove teriyaki spots from your Asian Chow lo-mein. These came to my rescue last week on my flight home.
- Power bank. If you travel, even once a year, and you don’t have one then you’re a rube. If you’ve never noticed airport outlets are few and far between. A power bank will keep you from hovering next to the outlet waiting for someone to leave. Side note, make sure all of your devices are charged before you head to the airport.
More than likely you’ll have your own additions, but as you pack aks yourself, “Do I really need this?”
If you plan on traveling by car this holiday season a recent news piece lists the five deadliest roads for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel
- I-95 (Florida to Maine)
- I-80 (California to New Jersey)
- I-35 (Texas to Minnesota)
- I-20 (Texas to South Carolina)
- I-10 (California to Florida)
The total distance of these 5 interstates is just north of 10,000 miles. The roads will be packed, and there will be delays…. mark my words. Besides, it doesn’t have to be a race to get to your destination or to get home. If you find yourself on I-95 in Dillon SC spend an hour at South Of The Border, Pedro will thank you. I-20 in Birmingham, AL is home to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Admission is $5.00, and it’s a perfect place to recharge after a few hours in the car.
There you have it, safe travels and thanks for listening.
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