Monday, April 04, 2011

A visit from our friends to the North

Thank you guest blogger Julie Ovenell-Carter from for today's insighful travel tips...

Canada is a country so big that it takes almost eight hours to fly from one end to the other. As a frequent traveler, I know a thing or two about long-haul air travel. When you find yourself staring in disbelief at an itinerary that includes 15 uninterrupted hours in the sky (who knew planes could stay in the air that long?), you’ll want to remember these 10 tips. Trust me: you can do it my way—or the hard way…

Today's 10 Links a Day: 10 great travel tips!
  1. Start by traveling light. At the end of a long trip, the last thing you want to do is stand around waiting for your luggage—especially if you’re trying to clear customs and make a connecting flight. I’m a long-time fan of Heys carry-ons—light-weight, attractive and virtually indestructible.

  2. If you’re really disciplined with your packing, consider the surprisingly stylish ScotteVest clothing line which lets you carry almost all your travel essentials—including iPads and underwear—in cunningly placed coat pockets.

  3. And if you’re not disciplined about packing—and somehow there always seems to be a direct correlation between the length of your flight and the weight of your bags—save yourself time and humiliation at check-in by investing a few bucks in a hand-held Heys X-Scale so you can weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport.

  4. Don’t leave your seat to chance.  When booking, use SeatGuru to choose a seat that a.) reclines, b.) is located away from the toilet and galley and c.) doesn’t compromise leg room with under-seat electrical boxes or other weirdly placed utilities.

  5. Pre-order a “special” meal when you book your flight. It doesn’t really matter what you choose—vegetarian, Kosher, low-fat—you’ll get fed first, and often you’ll get fed better. AirlineMeals.Net will give you a glimpse of what to expect from various airlines.

  6. Carry your own water bottle—ideally one like the lightweight BHP-free Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle. You can’t drink enough water on a long-haul, especially if you plan to enjoy a free glass or wine or two en route. (Though you’ll feel better if you don’t.)

  7. Invest in a set of expensive-but-definitely-worth-it Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Or at least a 50-cent pair of earplugs.

  8. Consider packing along some little blue pills. (But not those pervy little blue pills that the guy in 16C with the hairy chest and gold neck chain has in his pocket.) I never travel without a mild prescription sleep aid that goes by the name Zopiclone in Canada—I get a dozen from my doctor at the start of each year and save them only for long-haul flights.  I can get about six hours of deep sleep sitting upright—without a nasty “hangover” feeling.  My American friends tell me Ambien has a similar effect. Ask your doc for advice.

  9. If prescription pills are a no-go for you, consider mitigating the damage of time travel with one of the naturopathic remedies currently on the market such as such as NoJetLag.

  10. Never board a plane without lubricating eye drops such as GenTeal, a small tube of hand lotion and a good lip balm.

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