Fighting Jet Lag

Picture of the island from Hong Kong Harbor

Travel often comes up in conversations with friends. It cracks me up when they tell me they just got back from California and they are “jet lagged.” It’s true that travel is tiring and a 2-hour difference can cost you some sleep, but you haven’t experienced jet lag until you’ve traveled overseas.

My most recent experience with jet lag was in June when I went to Asia for 10 days. China’s East Coast is exactly 12 hours ahead of EST. That makes it easy to know what time it is back home, but extra hard for your body to adjust.

Discussing jet lag is interesting because everyone seems to have a different strategy to minimize it (it’s impossible to avoid it). Special drink concoctions, herbal medicine, prescription drugs meant for other things, strange sleeping patterns, etc. are all things people have suggested to me. I’m not really one for all the voodoo, so I try to keep it simple and it usually works out. Now, I’m not going to claim that my method is the best option out there, but it is easy and it works for me.

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Tips for Asian Travel

A follower of the blog recently asked me to write a post about travel in Asia. As I started writing, I quickly realized that there was waaaaay too much for one post. I decided to spread it across several posts and try to keep it as condensed as possible. This first post will offer some general tips and advice.

Last June was my first trip to Asia. To say it was an eye opener is an understatement. It was really nothing like I expected and just about everything you might deal with on a trip, hit us on this one. I traveled to China’s East Coast, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. These tips apply to those countries.

Fly Business Class
It’s a very long journey, so do what you can to avoid coach. There will be children crying in different languages for 15 hours and that’s not a good start to any trip.

Business Class also gives you a solid entertainment selection with dozens of new release movies, a seat that reclines almost horizontally and special food service.

Don’t Become Road Kill
Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way in Asia, so don’t make that mistake. Further, scooters are everywhere and they travel much faster than the cars. They remind me of a plague of locust coming from all directions in huge groups. Here’s a video I took while in Taiwan – the scooter capital of the world.

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500 AAdvantage Bonus Miles from Avis

Just a quick post about a promotion effective until July 31st from American and Avis. If you rent a car for 2 days with Avis, you’ll receive 500 American AAdvantage bonus miles by using coupon code: MUAA086.

Note that you can also log-in to Avis.com and modify existing reservations to add the coupon code, as long as the reservation has not yet started.

Thanks to Jason for finding this one and letting me know about it.

Here’s the link to the promotional page: http://www.avis.com/car-rental/html/partner/aa/aa_500miles.html?MID=avis.com_aa500miles

Blog made possible by Pace Industries: North America’s Best Aluminum Die Casting Company

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My Favorite Travel Tool: TripIt

When it comes to travel, tools can make all the difference in the world. If you’re Bear Grylls, then you don’t need a smartphone, GPS or itinerary, but I’m not that guy…and after the Degree Deodorant commercials, I don’t really want to be.

Without a doubt, my most used travel tool is my iPhone. In fact, I’m not sure how anyone ever traveled without one. It has apps that give turn-by-turn directions, locate restaurants, pass (waste) time and it organizes all of my travel with the help of TripIt.

For those unfamiliar with TripIt, it is a free service that provides one simple function, then adds a lot of bells and whistles to it. My initial attraction to TripIt is that I can book a flight/hotel/car/etc. with anyone I wish. I then take the confirmation e-mail for the booking, forward it to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will build a beautiful, private, organized itinerary that is viewable online or in their app. That is, in itself, a huge value, but here are some additional features that push TripIt over the top and make it my absolute favorite travel tool.

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O’Hare’s Little Hidden Oasis

There are some really bad airports out there. Near the top of my list sits Chicago O’Hare (ORD). There’s no useful tram system, no moving sidewalks, flights are consistently delayed/canceled and the weather seems to increase the problems exponentially in the winter. To add to the misery of delays, there are really no good restaurant options. Chili’s service is atrocious, O’Hare Bar & Grill is just bar food, Wolfgang Puck will push your expense limit and Macaroni Grill seems to always have a super long line.

In spite of all of these issues, O’Hare has finally struck gold and got one right. It’s called the O’Hare Urban Garden, or OUG according to me (pronounced Uhhhhg). It’s situated between Terminals H and G, in a little hidden upstairs area.

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Lost in translation

I’m sure I’d say some really dumb/disturbing/embarrassing/insulting/ridiculous things if I tried to speak Chinese or Spanish.  However, if you are going to put something in print or launch a product, let’s do a little research and get it right.  These are just a few of the funny things I came across last year.

No matter what country I’m in, I have a strict policy against eating local peasants…even at the low price of 120 pesos. This one is from Monterrey, Mexico.

"Peasant Sandwich...120 pesos"

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How to Beat Airport Security

…and by “beat,” I mean survive.

I think it’s safe to say that TSA airport security checkpoints are the most stressful part of air travel. However, a lot can be done to streamline the process if you know what you’re doing. This is my routine, which almost never causes me to slow the line. If you’re not slowing the line, then you’re not stressing out.

Liquids in the outer pocket and computer bag unlatched.

Steps:

  1. Plan your packing
  2. Check-in online
  3. Dress for success
  4. Stash your personal items early
  5. Unlatch/unzip bags
  6. Know how to make the most of the TSA bins
  7. Order your bags and bins for easy reconstruction

Plan your packing
A good security experience starts at home. Pick an exterior pocket that’s easy to access for your bag of liquids. If you have a CPAP, put it at the outer-top of your packed items so it’s quick to grab. No computer bag? Put your laptop in a quick access area so it’s easy to get out.

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