Hit The Road
Planning well makes for smooth flying
When I was a kid, I loved flying on airplanes. Part of the allure was that I was so little and the seats seemed so big; coach was practically first class for me. I also loved the tiny salt-and-pepper packets that came with those meals everyone used to complain about, before industry changes led to complaining about their absence instead.
I remember reading a "Little House on the Prairie" book in which the characters went on a train ride where the highlight was drinking water from a tap, and thinking the sodas served by the flight attendants was my 20th-century equivalent. My experiences back then are among the reasons I became so hooked on travel.
Flying today is different, not just because I've grown too big to feel like coach seats are spacious, but because the world is different. It was once exciting to wait at the gate with your social network. Now, it's a lonesome wait wandering through shops and diners.
I imagine that one day I will tell my nephew that once upon a time, we didn't have to take our shoes off to get through security, or that we used to be able to take full-size bottles of water on the plane, and he will be amazed. I am 23, and I already have "Back in the good ol' days" stories.
I loved the "Saturday Night Live" skit that satirized the new liquids and gels policy, depicting the training of airline employees. One of the trainees says, "So, if I have a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich and I put it in a blender, is that a liquid or a gel?"
Hah! It's true! These policies are so foreign to us that they often seem ludicrous. With so many people heading off the island for spring break, here are some tips to simplify your packing for a pleasant trip:
» Pack light: Substitute your laptop or DVD player with a book. The genius of books is that if you want to lighten your load, you can leave the book on the plane for the next person (or flight attendant) to enjoy.
» Try not to pack any liquids: Abandon your hand lotion and water bottles, but bring your contact solution if you need to. Remember, you're traveling for a few hours, not for a week.
» Ship your things in advance: Since the implementation of new luggage policies, airlines have been swamped with more checked luggage, and as a result, thousands of bags are sent on the wrong routes every day. Companies like First Luggage (firstluggage.com) and Luggage Free (luggagefree.com) will ship your luggage for you. In some ways, changes to air travel have actually taken us back to a time when traveling by airplane was more than the equivalent of an expensive bus ride. When electronic devices like MP3 players and laptops were not allowed on airplanes, people were forced to talk to each other, and for some, new friendships were born. It has become necessary to travel more simply, and to think longer about what we bring, so that travel has, once again, become an event.
Joy Uyeno travels frequently throughout the year, and her column geared toward young and beginning travelers appears the second Sunday each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.
Joy Uyeno travels frequently throughout the year, and her column geared toward beginning travelers or youths experiencing their first extended stay abroad appears the second Sunday each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.