Games, drumming, juggling, home improvements, cooking, comics, dogs, macs, music, etc.


Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
It's my goal to have the LONGEST blog pages around. Kind of.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Traveling again.

This is sort of a rant, and sort of an attempt at informational. You be the judge.

As a 'traveling consultant', I got used to traveling, and got pretty good at it. I go for the 'efficient' travel (re: lazy?) schedule. I leave my house 90 minutes before my plane departs. I basically chunk up my time in 30 minutes blocks, each block having a specific goal.

Goal 1) Get to airport. This usually takes 20 minutes, so 30 minutes is generally ok. I have 10 minutes wiggle room.

Goal 2) Get through security. Depending on the line, this can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. And since I haven't traveled for 2 years, all my status is gone, so I don't get to go to the 'Premier Line' - yet. I am traveling a lot this year, and I am sure I'll get there soon.

Goal 3) Get on the plane. Boarding means getting in line, shuffling on to the plane, and finding a spot for my "rollerboard" in the overhead bin. Airlines generally board with a 'seating order', the lower the number, the earlier you can get on. The earlier you get on, the more opportunity you have to get the overhead bin space. Again, status helps and so does having an exit row or a bulkhead seat. Or asking nicely, or lying about your 'mileage partner status'. Something I've done as of late, and I am sort of proud about it.

I don't check bags, and I print my boarding pass from my computer before I leave that house. So, I skip the check-in line, and the baggage check-in, and go straight to the security checkpoint. This saves a lot of time, really. And with the airlines starting to charge for bags, I expect more people to do this. Or not, people tend to think less when traveling.

For the last few years, I've been mostly working from home, which is good and bad. I like to travel, but 100% travel is hard, and working from home 100% of the time is hard, too. What's the perfect mix? Probably 50/50. Though, I like traveling enough, I could probably go 70/30.

The good of working from home is I get to do all my hobbies; games, drums, juggling; not to mention house renovation / repair, yard upkeep, etc.

The bad is that now I am low man on the totem pole for traveling. I don't have any of my statuses anymore and therefore deal with non-priority lines and service. I know enough about the system to skirt a few of the inconveniences the novices just don't know about, so I get along pretty well, even without status.

I've been on the road for 4 weeks, and looking at probably another week, but in a different place / city / State. The last two trips have both been to the East coast, and from Portland, that means an entire day of planes, airports and automobiles. Leaving Sunday's, and getting back on Friday's, giving me about 36 hours a week at home - which does suck.

I hadn't posted anything in a while, been too busy traveling! Good travels to you, and if you travel a lot, check out tripit.com - a social networking site for travelers to see who is going to be near them on their next trip. Kinda cool, but limited to how many of your friends sign up - and update it. I am definitely slow on updating it.

Another interesting travel site:
http://www.seatguru.com - a site that tells you all the secrets about every seat on every plane. Like which rows don't recline, etc.

Basic tips:
One bag in the overhead bin, One bag at your feet! Learn it, love it, live it! If you have a big bag at your feet get a window seat 0 the aisles are narrower - I can barely get my backpack in the under-seat storage.

once on the plane - carry your rollerboard!

Don't use seats for balance or leverage to get up - someone is sitting there, and they feel everything you do to the back of their seat. Or jam your legs / feet up against it. - classic do unto others, etc.

Security, just get through it. Take off shoes, belts, jackets, phones, hats and empty your pockets. If you do it in line before the metal detector, you'll get through faster. Laptops in a separate tray/bucket/bin.

Text messages to your phone about flight status, online checkin / boarding pass printing, web browser on your phone to check statuses and schedules. All good tech bits to help. Google maps on my phone rocks, too. Not as good as GPS, but very usable.

Buying tickets online saves you money, and allows you to select your seats.

That's it! stay tuned for more random squall, hopefully sooner, and a little more often.