Kay Frances: Planes, trains and antibacterial gel

In my job as a Funny Keynote Speaker, I travel. A lot. Mostly because I can’t convince the people to come to my house.

When you travel a lot, you learn to navigate the ups-and-downs and find a way to make travel cheaper, safer and more enjoyable, or at least tolerable.

I’ve noticed that the fancier the hotel is, the more likely they are to nickel-and-dime you to death. When you see that welcoming bottle of water in your room, be sure to read the fine print. There will likely be a $5 price tag on that “artisan” tap water. Best to find a local store to load up on snacks and drinks. Even the convenience store with the 1,000-percent markup will have better prices.

If you like to throw your money around, read no further but, if you’ve ever been called “Cheap Charlie,” you are going to LOVE this tip.

Most hotels have fitness centers and they usually have a 5-gallon water dispenser. See where I’m going with this? Take your empty water bottles there and fill up. You’re welcome. If this didn’t make you tingle just a bit, you must immediately revoke your “Tight Wad” membership card.

The worst part of traveling is sharing everything with the unwashed masses: surfaces, buffet spoons, even the air you breathe. I read a study about what the most germ-laden part of the airplane is. The tray tables! Keep that in mind the next time you want to waste away the hours playing tic-tac-toe with your peanuts before you eat them.

On airplanes, I’m not a fan of sharing the arm rest with a total stranger. Now that people are coughing into the crook of their arms, I think it would be cleaner to just hold hands. Weird, but more sanitary.

And, it seems that I always get seated next to someone with elbows so pointy I’m surprised they made it through security. Surely TSA can see those deadly weapons; and, yet, with the security crackdowns, I’m no longer allowed to carry a hacksaw on board to sever the arm of the seat mate who insists on poking me in the ribs. They’ve truly removed all of our coping tools.

I normally travel solo, but if you travel in a group, don’t think you are safer by walking in packs of three or four holding hands. I don’t care where you go, the locals don’t do that and you’ll be branded a “tourist.” You’d be safer carrying a sign that says, “Mug me now and get it over with” or “Cash in fanny pack!” Besides, do you really want to hold hands with your fellow travelers? Do you really know where their hands have been? (Can you say, “tray table?”)

The best way to survive travel is to realize that there is a LOT that is out of your control. Just keep your sense of humor and resolve to let go of the little things.

Oh, and antibacterial gel. LOTS of antibacterial gel. A 55-gallon drum should be sufficient.

Salt Magazine