Here are a few good tips I found in Budget Travel this month on salvage cars (our favorite travel magazine by the way):
- â€œAs a flight attendant, Iâ€™ve learned to slam down a quart of Gatorade at the first hint of a cold. You might want to consider it too, since our official manual requires us to deny boarding to anyone who â€˜appearsâ€™ ill.â€
- â€œAfter I park at the airport, I use my GPSâ€™s â€œFavoriteâ€ function to mark the exact location of my place, and then I take the unit with me. When I return, the gadget directs me right back to my car.â€ (Thereâ€™s probably â€œan app for thatâ€ on your cell phone too)
- â€œâ€¦keep an eye out for CDs of local traditional tunesâ€¦ enjoy the homegrown ambiance while weâ€™re traveling and take home the disks as souvenirs.â€
- â€œâ€¦place a large comb in the fold of your wallet with the teeth facing up. If a pickpocket tries to snatch the wallet, the teeth will catch on the inside of your pocket, causing resistance and an unfortunate delay for the thief.â€
Hereâ€™s a travel pillow that caught my eye a while back. Itâ€™s the Travel Rest Pillow and has a long shape that reminds me of a body pillow, for the upper body. Your head rests on the round upper curved part and then you sling the tube shape across your body, making you feel secure and comfortable, presumably.
Last summer I mentioned I took my two kids cross-country to Disneyland. After Disney, we rented a car and drove to SeaWorld. We flew back out of San Diego. So at the San Diego airport, I had to return a rental car, get two children (my daughter was an infant at the time) and luggage to the terminal, and get checked in with a double stroller and car seat. I had no idea how I would physically do it.
Well, sometimes when you look like you can handle it all and look composed people do not help. Itâ€™s true. Itâ€™s not all that great to look put together. Thatâ€™s my theory because I definitely got more help this time with my pleading eyes than past trips. In fact, people were actually happy to help.
Here are some things that helped me:
- Ask for help! Really. Ever have a demanding friend get more assistance in a department store than you get by being nice? Thatâ€™s because she is asking for help. People really want to feel useful and they are there to help you.
- Plan to tip. Have some extra cash with you and have it in your mind to tip. Even if they donâ€™t expect it, it is a nice gesture for someone who goes the extra mile for you and makes you feel less like youâ€™ve taken advantage of someone.
- Take your time. At each encounter â€“ turning in your car, checking in, donâ€™t rush yourself. Make sure you have all the information you need and that your next mission is well laid out (get to the gate).
- Laugh. Say something like, â€œI donâ€™t know how I am going to juggle all of thisâ€. They may come up with a suggestion you havenâ€™t thought of. The check-in agent for example, gave us a ticket to enter through a different line in security which saved some stress.
- Take note. If there is someone who truly gave you excellent service, ask for their name. Then write it down or ask for a comment card. Often there are programs within companies that give kickbacks for employees doing a great job and customers remarking on it. I make it a point to do this as often as possible.
These help, believe me! I received the best service at the San Diego Airport that day. The rental car man drove us up to the terminal on his own accord, which made it a thousand times easier. Each person along the way went that extra step and it really made a difference. It went from being one of the most difficult possible flights to the easiest just because of the people we encountered.
Is riding First Class with your children a treat? Or a sentence?
For us, itâ€™s not financially an option most of the time. But one time my husband used his miles to book me and the two kids a trip out to Disneyland to meet up with my parents. First class was all that was available and so he had to use double his miles for a â€œluxuryâ€ I was dreading.
Hereâ€™s my findings:
- Check-in was much easier for car salvage. The First Class line was immediate and Delta even went the extra step to get me a bag for my stroller to check. Originally they were going to make me go up one level to get a bag and then come back down but they must have seen my pleading eyes.
- The flight attendants in First Class were actually helpful! Imagine that â€“ they actually helped us to get settled and were great with the kids. I have not had good luck with flight attendants overall in the past so this was a very nice surprise.
- The other passengers were helpful. And very chatty. I found this very nice.
- The children were better behaved. They had more space, nicer in-flight TV screens to watch, and seemed calmer.
- They got to see the pilot and the cockpit. Since we were up front, my son was allowed to go up with the pilot to check out the cockpit. Thatâ€™s a rarity these days I would think.
Overall, it was pleasant. I was worried we would get used to this. But it wasnâ€™t THAT much nicer. I mean, flying isnâ€™t exactly fun but it is a means to get where you are going. As my sister Amber says, â€œitâ€™s a day of hell and then youâ€™re there. You just suck it up and do it.â€ And whether you are in First or Coach, you will still get there at the same time. If I ever get the chance to do it again, I will, but I wonâ€™t be paying double to do so.