The pleasures of holiday travel

I love to travel. Good thing, as I just realized earlier today that this calendar year I will have travelled just over 100,000 miles. And that’s just on US Airways (which is 80% of my travel, Southwest gets the rest…). Good thing I do love to travel, I am on the plane, my second plane of the day, from Philly to Zurich. I am taking the roundabout route from DC to Geneva (DC-Philly-Zurich-Geneva). A few minutes aog, I had to get my passport checked at the gate check-in desk. The nice US Airways flight attendant looked at my boarding pass and said “Wow, Chairman, you must travel a lot, that’s a lot of miles.” I smiled, nodded, as she continued: “Are those your dad’s miles… you look so young…” I assured her they were all mine, and was somehow happy she asked if they were my father’s instead of my husband’s. May I don’t look like the globe-trotting beauty entrepreneur that I am, but at least I still look young enough that I must be getting perks from my father, not from my husband… Small victories.

One of the reasons I love to travel is the people watching at the airport. Have you ever noticed that airports seem to be these “unreal” spaces, out of time, out of space, out of our usual accepted behavior? Hence beer drinking at 7 am (which I have most seen at BWI airport). Or meltdowns at ticket counters where we forget all decorum and behave like 3 year olds. And the sweeter scene that I just witnesses, two sisters on my flight, one about 20, absolutely European, the other about 15, European but “Americanized” as my Mom would say. The older is encouraging the younger to drink Evian (did I say she was European?) and do some pre-overnight-flight stretches. So sweet. We smile at each other, that smile of older sisters taking care of younger sisters, and I think about Roxane, my young “Americanized” sister whom I will see tomorrow.

Today, I am particularly excited to sit on this plane for what I hope will be 7 hours. I can’t wait to sleep. No internet, no cell phone, just quiet time 30,000 feet up in the air. I am comfortable in Coach, and I wanted to share with you my travel tips. I know I share travel tips often (I do travel constantly), but the ones today are geared to overnight flights during the Christmas holidays.

  1. Extra time. I got to the airport in DC 90 minutes before my flight to Philly. I booked my flight from DC to Philly to have a 2.5 hour layover in Philly – just in case we would be late… which happens. Especially over the holidays. I love the US Airways lounge, and always thought the $40 day pass was the best investment even before I had access for free. Space. Quiet. Outlets to charge various devices. Nice bathrooms. Free wi-fi. Free wine. Free food (the warm kind). It is worth every bit of $40 if you don’t have automatic access.
  2. I can’t travel in sweatpants. I can’t even travel in yoga-wear. Not even for overnight flights. Instead, I have an all-cashmere outfit. Cashmere pants from White and Warren, which I bought years ago this time of year from my BFF’s boutique, Treat. A gray cashmere turtleneck from Apostrophe, my favorite boutique in Geneva. I can’t give up my heels – my travel heels are Lillybees of course. But at least I do take them off on the plane, to put on my bright pink Life Is Good socks. The whole outfit feels so good I get excited the day before knowing that I will get to wear all of this.
  3. My favorite eye mask – pink, silk, and so used that the elastic is a bit loose… I got this as a gift a few years ago from BFF Virginie, and haven’t used another since.
  4. My own bottle of water. There is nothing more uncomfortable than being thirsty on a plane, and while US Airways service is great even in coach, I hate to have to rely on someone else for water.
  5. Raw almonds. I don’t eat on overnight flights – I just get on, and go to sleep. So I need my emergency food.
  6. My very own Kantic+ intensely nourishing cream. Last night, I did our Kantic mask (as does Sharilyn Abbajay before every flight J), but throughout the flight, I need to moisturize.
  7. Judith Jackson Luna Body Elixir. It’s a roll-on, travel-friendly, and it smells so calming and soothing. Helps me relax, helps me not smell like plane.
  8. A toothbrush. Have you ever left your house in the morning without brushing your teeth? No. I don’t do it off a redeye either…
  9. Similasan Dry Eye Relief eye drops. Next to being thirsty, having dry eyes is the most uncomfortable feeling on a plane.
  10. A pashmina (which I think of as the adult woman’s blankie). More cashmere – a girl can never have enough cashmere. The one I have tonight is pink. Just in case it gets cool. Or in case I need a pillow.

The pilot just came on to say our flight will be 7 hours and 5 minutes. And boarding is complete, I have no one next to me. Tonight, coach feels very luxurious! And I need to turn off my computer.

By the time I post this, it will be Wednesday morning and I will be in Geneva, hopefully with my two suitcases filled to the brim with holiday gifts…. Is this how Santa Claus travels? In disguise? Happy holidays!

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