How to survive travel


September 16, 2015BY Wendy Parsley

Travel. It is a big part of our business. Location scouts, video shoots, tradeshows, conferences, festivals, oh my!

For the most part, we love to travel. Seeing a new city, learning about its history and culture, and tasting all of the amazing food along the way.

Speaking of food…one of our favorite magazines – Lucky Peach – did an article about travel tips back in their April issue and it got us thinking.

While there is a lot that we love about travel, we all have our bad travel stories. We started putting together our list for how to survive airplane travel.

What do you carry with you on an airplane?

  • Elle Chan: Spy movies and printed fiction for during takeoff or when your battery dies.
  • Jon Forst:  I carry more than most people because I like to have my creature comforts. Always carry my Bose headphones, laptop, a magazine or book or both, healthy snacks (usually raw almonds), gum, cell phone, thumb drive with movies, bottle of water. Did I forget anything?
  • Kate Keleher: Laptop, book, and phone loaded with podcasts. Nothing like the soothing voice of Terry Gross to distract you from the person seated next to you.
  • Wendy Parsley: Backpack only. I always check my bag – I can’t be bothered to try and fit all my clothes and toiletries into a carry on. In my backpack, you’ll find my computer, headphones, iPad with at least 3 new movies, and the current issue of Vanity Fair.
  • Jeff Starr: Wall Street Journal and USA Today. This is one of the rare times when I have a good amount of time to read a paper leisurely. New movie – thriller or action or cheesy mindless comedy that I know my wife won’t want to watch.
  • Wendy Cook: Headset, eBook, laptop, hand wipes, my own food and water.

How do you beat jet lag?

  • Kate: Denial.
  • Parsley: I can’t sleep on a plane. No matter how hard I try. Cat naps are the best I can manage. Long flights can be brutal – but once you are on the ground – go for a walk (event if it is just around the hotel) to stretch the legs and drink lots of water.
  • Jon: Workout usually does the trick or I just get less sleep on the road.
  • Jeff: Never drink coffee on an airplane. Don’t nap if going cross-country from west coast to east
    coast. Try and get a tad less sleep the night prior to a cross-country flight. Get a good workout in when landing to encourage sleepiness.
  • Cook: Get on the time zone of wherever you are immediately.
  • Elle: Drink water never booze.

Do you have a favorite airline?

  • Kate: Southwest. I’ll be honest – the flight attendants win me over every time with their bad puns and surprisingly good singing.
  • Parsley: I prefer Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic to most airlines. But ultimately it depends on where I am flying and who has the best route to get me there.
  • Jeff: Southwest. Despite everyone’s aversion to them, they offer me the best miles for the personal trips I’m looking to take.
  • Elle: Fly Lufthansa whenever possible. Germans are very timely and run a tight ship.
  • Jon: Brussels Airlines. I flew back from Italy and they messed up my seat assignment so they put me in 1A. I could have lived on that plane for a month with the service they provided. For domestic travel, I go with Delta.

What was your best airline or airport food experience?

  • Kate: Finding Surly Beer at the Minneapolis airport after returning from six months of backpacking in SE Asia.
  • Parsley: Virgin Atlantic from London to Shanghai in upper class. The only airline meal I have ever had that was worth eating.
  • Jeff: Air Asia to Bangkok or Air India to Dehli – rich, cultural food with myriad dietary restriction options.
  • Cook: Bring your own food. Things that work well: nuts, dried fruit, hard cheeses pre-cut into bite sizes, chocolate, crackers, rice cakes, leftover rice bowl with vegetables.
  • Elle: Never eat salad in U.S. airports except at SFO where you can get the best Crab Louie salad at Yankee Pier in the United Terminal.
  • Jon:  Maryland Crab Cakes with a touch of Old Bay at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).

What is your biggest travel pet peeve?

  • Kate: Any able-bodied person who just stands on the moving runway and lets it carry them down the hall, like they’re too lazy to walk 30 feet.
  • Parsley: The people that bring too much luggage with them on the plane. You know the ones with their carry on suitcase stuffed full, a backpack or other large carry on, plus another small bag like a purse or camera bag. Seriously!? Just check the suitcase already.
  • Jeff: I have two. Talking on the phone in a loud voice in order to seem/feel important. The person that brings in messy, hot takeout on airplane – just eat your meal prior to loading.
  • Cook: Lack of Wi-Fi on some major airlines (United, American).
  • Jon: Rude passengers that carry on 6 bags and act like it’s two and then try and put all of them above in storage.
  • Elle: I have a lot of travel pet peeves. But the biggest one is people who travel with pillows. No.
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