10 Travel Tips for the Sandwich Generation

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1. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the airport, after you pass security. That can save you a bundle. Be aware, however, that a few airports have poor quality water. So tuck in a few extra dollars for a water bottle, just in case.

2. Bring your own pillow . It’s cleaner, more comfy, and you’re guaranteed to get a pillow. I love the Therma-Rest compressible pillow I bought at outdoor recreation store, REI. It goes from big and fluffy to tightly wrapped and relatively small in just a minute or so and has a strap that makes it easy to carry on your carry-on. http://budurl.com/REItravelpillow

3. Bring a blanket or plan ahead to get one from the overhead compartment as you head for your seat. If you forget, you’ll be stuck going back through the throngs of on-loading passengers, giving you the feel of a salmon swimming upstream. If you wait until the flight has started, there’s a good chance there won’t be any available.

4. Rare are the flights that provide meals on the plane . If your flight is longer than two hours, I would suggest you eat right before flying, or bring a meal with you. I like to buy a sandwich at the airport, but you can bring outside food as well.

5. Liquids are still limited to 3 ounces per bottle and only as many containers as can fit into a quart-size bag . Make sure you put it on the top of your carry-on so you can find it easily when going through security, That bag, your laptop, and any big electronic items all have to be removed and put into separate containers to be scanned.

6. If you are traveling with grandchildren, don’t bring playdoh or other types of clay . They might let you bring it on, but you will probably have to have an extra-close security check and they might actually confiscate it. It’s easier to not even bother with it.

7. Diaper wipes are a handy idea I learned from my mom. They make cleanup a breeze, even in tight spaces.

8. If you do a lot of texting or emailing with your cell phone, you may wind up with lots of messages you no longer need . If you put your cell phone in flight mode before take off, you’re allowed to turn it on when other electronic equipment is allowed on. This can give you a quiet, uninterrupted opportunity to read, delete, clean and organize your text messages.

9. If you aren’t traveling with young children or anyone needing special assistance, you might enjoy sitting in the emergency exit row . It has the most space of all the seats and has a tray.

10. Be sure to drink lots of water and try to get up at least once or twice on long flights . It’s healthier and you’ll feel better, even if it does require contortions to get in and out. If you, like me, deal with those occasional arthritis twinges, taking a pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen (per your doctor’s instructions, of course), can help you feel more comfortable. This is especially true on longer flights.

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