Travel Nuisances: Lemons or Lemonade?
Here's how to make the best of long security lines and travel delays
We all know the new normal of air travel, post 9/11: Shoes off, only small bottles of liquid, remove your computer from your hand luggage (and don’t forget your Kindle), no coats, no jewelry, no water bottles, and more. A late mad dash to the gate is practically impossible these days, and bringing 6 bottles of wine home from Italy as hand luggage is only a distant memory.
Now, traveling in the time of Covid has introduced even more complications. Wear a mask, get tested to return to the U.S., endure the ever-longer lines for multiple security checks…These are the new highlights (or rather, lowlights) of traveling by air.
There are moments that I ask myself…is it worth it?
Everyone has their own threshold for nuisances, but the way I see it, it’s all in how you look at it. If you’re tense and ready to be annoyed by all the security rules, you probably will be. You might even lash out at security employees, which only makes things worse (as we recently witnessed at London Heathrow security). But, if you prepare in whatever way works for you, your travel experience can be pleasant. Here’s how I turn overly tart travel lemons into lemonade.
Forget being a pack mule. Ask for help. Pay that little extra for a luggage cart, or even better, the Porter that greets you at the curb of the departure terminal in a foreign country. They want to help—they’ll lift your luggage through the new extra security you’ll encounter, and then onto the scale at the check-in counter. You’ll arrive at the check-in counter without stress or getting overheated, and you might even have a smile on your face and avoid paying an extra baggage fee.
Go to the airport early. It used to be that airlines advised us to arrive at the airport 2 hours before an international flight. Now it’s 3 hours, which in some instances leaves no time to do anything but wait in very long lines to check in and get through security. In my recent international flights, I got to the airport with 4 hours to spare, making everything easier, faster and less stressful, along with more time to enjoy a bite to eat and a glass of wine in the lounge (Boston) and buy a very cool shirt at a fashionable Turkish clothing store (Istanbul).
Empty seating. If you don’t have access to an airline lounge or one of the priority lounges, look for a seat at the most far away restaurant or café, not the first one you see after you get through security. In Istanbul (which, BTW, has a fantastic new airport), we walked past all the shops, all the way to the end, and found a deserted café with tons of seating. It was peaceful, and we were socially distanced from people who were eating and drinking without their masks. Best of all, we had plenty of space to play a ferocious game of gin rummy.
Which reminds me, plan on having something to do. Granted, I love airports—my high school best friend and I used to go to the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport for entertainment in the 70s, staging hello and goodbye scenes at the gates in the long-ago days when there was no security! However, I’m always amazed by the people sitting in an airport, doing absolutely nothing, with a very bored, blank look on their faces.
To me, airport time is a gift that keeps on giving—time when you can do whatever you want to do. Books, movies, shopping, cards, newspapers, magazines, writing, working, eating, and drinking—the world is my oyster—are all options that happily fill time and bring me plenty of pleasure.
My friends may think I’m a little bit of Susie Sunshine, but to me, it's all how you look at it. Lemons or Lemonade? It’s an easy choice. '
P.S. Scroll down to learn how you can join me on an adventure in the heart of Italy next fall!
Comment Below: How Do You Pass the Time at the Airport?
Shopping? Reading? People-watching? Let us know how you pass the time at the airport!
Global Recipe: Sautéed Mushrooms with Guanciale
Guanciale is the Italian name for cured pork jowl, and it’s a delicious specialty of central Italy—where we will be visiting this fall (Read more about that trip below!)
These simple sautéed mushrooms have a great depth of flavor from the guanciale, fresh thyme, and a splash of white wine.
Insider Travel Tip: Gin Rummy
One thing I never leave home without is a deck of cards. When my children were young and we would wait at the pediatrician’s office, a deck of cards made the long wait go quickly. Now, my purse or travel bag always has a deck of cards. My newest deck features my grandson Jonah, and it says Gogo (me) and Jojo (him) have Mojo! A wonderful reminder of home when I’m away.
Gin rummy is my game of choice. My mother and I used to play 100 points a night while she and my dad had pre-dinner cocktails, and I taught my daughter Casey to play before she was 4. We now having a running game of gin rummy whenever we travel.
Quick instructions: Deal 10 cards to each player. On your turn, choose a card from the face-down deck, then discard one of the cards from your hand (thus, maintaining 10 cards in your hand). The goal is to make sets (three 7s, for example) and runs (6,7,8 of hearts). The first player to have all of their 10 cards in sets or runs discards saying, "GIN!", and they are the winner!
Chocolate, Truffles & Pasta — Join Us for an Italian Adventure!
October 2-9, 2022
Venture off the beaten path with us, and into the Green Heart of Italy. We’ll explore the spectacular hill towns of Umbria (Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Deruta, Norcia), meet locals and try local products, and enjoy tastings and cooking demos featuring wine, truffles, cheese, chocolate, and more.
Chef Kevin O’Donnell, who lived, worked, and trained in this region of Italy, will be our Italian food expert! It’s an opportunity that’s not to be missed.
Spots are still available—register today!