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Things That Make Travel Better

Travel by any mass transport means, other than by train, can be incredibly grueling these days. Long lines, security checkpoints, body searches, carry-on limits, travel delays and the dying art of customer service (“no problem” is not the same as “you’re welcome”), combine to make many opt to stay home. Train travel is of course the most humane alternative.

In fact, I confidently predict that the steady increase in airport security measures, over-crowding and cost will in some future Orwellian year lead to travelers being sedated and slid into a hive of travel tubes for transport on airplanes. Think about it; no security risk, more passengers in less space and no amenities… just wake up and you are there. Until that comfortably numb day arrives, one really needs to make travel as enjoyable as possible.

That’s why I’ve started this little blog about “Things That Make Travel Better.” That includes a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to bargains, gadgets, philosophies, clothing, luggage, services, reading material, electronic devices… you name it.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

- The Apple Ipad 2. I realize that this is not a huge secret. None-the-less, it is worth noting in any discussion about ways to make travel better. Think of it; games, the web, books, apps, magazines, movies, TV, communication, writing, camera, music… all in one handy device. Years ago, one would have to pack a 40 lb. tote bag of stuff just to have all of that functionality by your seat. Time creatively flies by with Ipad apps like Brush, or Garage Band. If you’re interested in learning something while you have fun, check out Musculoskeletal Anatomy Quiz. Another great app is TED, a series of fascinating talks by really smart people. Of course if you’re traveling by train, you don’t need an electronic device to distract or educate you – you can just gaze out the window and take in the passing show!

- As a train man, I suggest avoiding airports altogether. Sometimes, that’s just not possible.  When you’re forced to travel by air, you’ve volunteered for something approaching a strip search. No need to fiddle with shoelaces while the TSA official fondles your family. Quickly and easily kick your shoes off and keep your eye on the bureaucrat unpacking your bags and pilfering your stuff.

- One of the things I love about train travel is you can stand up, walk around, and stretch a little. In fact, stretching is key to feeling okay in tight travel places. That’s why you might consider My Yoga Online. You’ll find yoga videos and more. If you want more, but don’t want to pay for monthly membership, check out YouTube for lots of free yoga videos. Here’s one of my of my favorite yoga videos for beginners. You can stretch before you leave, maybe a little on the train and after you arrive. You’ll feel a whole lot better.

- It’s always easier, no matter how you travel, to travel with less. One way to get less is to carry less and the other is to more efficiently pack the same amount of stuff in a smaller space. That’s why you might check out packing cubes. There are many different makes and models to consider, so just do a search on Google and you’ll find endless variety.

- Speaking of Google, you can make any trip seem a little shorter, and maybe arrive at your destination a little smarter, by playing around with Google’s many wondrous features. To name just a few; Google Sky allows you to view and learn about celestial objects. Google Earth is a great way to explore the world. Of course, Google Maps will help you get familiarized with where ever you’re traveling to. Also, Google Voice is a great way to stay in-touch while you travel. You can also take your important work with you via Google Docs.

- If you’re looking for a great way to finance your train travel and school is out, consider this site to sell textbooks online. It’s a great ok buyback comparison feature and it works on non-textbooks as well.

- Of course, smartly carrying all your stuff is key to better travel. One company that makes some really travel-friendly products is Built. Many of their products are made out of neoprene (wetsuit material), which is both padded and insulated. Together with smart design, this can make for some great travel products – everything from laptop bags, sleeves, cases and apple accessories of all kinds, such as Ipod Touch cases and Ipad accessories. Their insulated lunch bags are incredibly handy for keeping food closer to the right temperature. Many of their products also incorporate security checkpoint-friendly design, to decrease your travel hassle even further.

- Pandora. Okay, plenty of devices can hold your own music. What is so great about a service that spins it’s music? First off, it’s free. More importantly, it’s a great way to discover new music related to the music you already know and love. Sure, you love Dire Straits, but were you totally aware of all of their lesser-known recordings or Mark Knopfler’s “Ragpicker’s Dream” album? What a nice treat to find new music while also loving some of your favorite tracks!

- One of the things that gets me down about travel is feeling slimy from casual contact with surfaces in public places… counters, railings, seats, armrests, tray tables, etcetera combined with fewer easy options to clean up. I know, it makes me sound like a nutty germophobe like Howard Hughes. Too bad! I recommend carrying a few travel wipes. I like the kind that come in little packets, as opposed to bulky baby wipe-like cases. You can get them just about anywhere.

In closing for now, you can make any trip just a little more humane if you can improve some of the circumstances… even in some small way. Remember, no matter what you do, train travel will always be better than plane travel!

Coming Up;
More Things That Make Travel Better!