I just had a perfect travel day...said no one in the last few decades!
Wow! I just had the perfect travel day...said no one in the last several decades.
With most airports under continual construction inside and out, delays and cancelled flights are status quo these days. It took me more than half a day to get from SFO to LAX on a recent weekend.
Then, a miracle happened! I actually experienced the perfect travel day. Read about my journey and then hear all the tips you need to have many more perfect travel days.
The journey started out as I left my house at 5:45 AM for an 8:10 AM flight from SFO to JFK. My dogs ate their food and went outside to do their business without any trouble. This happens only about 25% of the time. I left the house knowing that the dog sitter would arrive in a couple of hours and I did not have to worry for the next 8 days about the mail, plants, a few repairmen and the like since I had found a reliable women to stay the entire time.
I prepared to get on the freeway with my GPS on, not because I needed directions to SFO, but I needed to have up the minute traffic and arrival times. I have been en route to the airport with plenty of time in the past only to see that time evaporate before my eyes due to accidents or other issues. I started hopeful that I had left early enough to avoid the bulk of the morning commute. Miraculously traffic moved along swiftly and I got to the airport with time to spare. I pulled up to the parking lot with a three day free voucher and the guy immediately took my car, gave me a ticket and the shuttle van pulled up. It took less than 5 minutes to get to terminal 1.
I have global entry, which gives me guaranteed TSA precheck clearance. 10 people stood in front of me and they all knew the drill. Your laptop, shoes, toiletries stay in your bags. Not everyone knows this with TSA precheck. I whizzed right through in 2 minutes. My gate took a while to get to but the Delta Sky Club stood directly across from it. Just enough time to grab coffee, fruit and some snacks for the plane.
I got back to the gate just as they were boarding group 1 and got right on the plane with plenty of room for my luggage. The brand new 767 looked clean and no one else sat in my row. We took off exactly on time with blue skies and sunshine. The plugs worked, as did the entertainment system. I have a $200 credit on Delta thanks to Amex Platinum and I prepared to spend some of it on the great selection of movies but found that all of the movies were free.
In a few minutes, a very nice flight attendant came by with a menu for free food, something that you normally do not get on domestic flights. I chose a Murray’s cheese platter. It came very quickly and contained 4 nice cheeses, grapes, crackers and a dessert. I have to say that Delta impressed me so much with the immaculate new plane, friendly staff, informative pilots, free food and entertainment, that they currently set the standard for what flying should be like.
We landed almost an hour early and I went straight to Hertz where they had a Toyota Corolla waiting for me. It had less than three thousand miles on it and had some great new features. Even the traffic on the Van Wyck out of JFK had mercy on me this Wednesday as my phone guided me to the Hudson Valley. I remembered to bring cash for the tolls so I breezed along on a glorious spring day seeing flowers and trees beginning to bloom.
Since I had booked a special inn on the west side of the Hudson, the best route took me along the Hudson and up through Bear Mountain State Park. The scenery looked picture post card perfect. As I drove along in a valley, I looked up on a ridge and noticed an enormous black bear standing majestically on a bluff overlooking the highway.
In under two hours, I reached the 1850 Inn in Rosendale and was greeted by the very friendly staff of this meticulously restored inn. I settled in for a bit and decided to go downstairs to the dining room for dinner instead of venturing farther in to town. Everyone at the tavern was friendly and I talked to several local people who regularly came for dinner and drinks. I ordered a Manhattan up and it tasted great. The organic, local garden salad topped with a generous portion of fresh salmon rivaled any fine restaurant fare.
Did all the stars, planets and cosmic energy come together to create the perfect travel day? Except for the bear sighting, I orchestrated most of it and you can too. You probably know some of this information so, here are my tips for having many more perfect journeys.
- Always give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.
- Have your place in order long before you leave: mail, newspapers, animals, plants, etc.
- Travel on Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and early Thursday to avoid the crush of business travelers.
- Never take the first flight out because it’s too early and has huge potential to be delayed due to pilots and flight crews arriving late.
- Use your GPS even if you know the way for up-to-the-minute traffic and possible alternative routes
- Apply for TSA precheck clearance or better yet, Global entry.
- Get a credit card that gives you benefits like free baggage check, priority boarding and entry to airline lounges. My favorite is Amex Platinum.
- Choose your airline wisely. The cheapest ticket may not provide the best value if they charge for every amenity.
- Check on what aircraft a flight uses and if it has the amenities you want on your flight. You can even check menus and movies online.
- Many credit cards offer status at car rental companies like Hertz which allow you to avoid the line up and have your vehicle ready and waiting.
- Pay attention to landing times when you make reservations to avoid landing during peak traffic hours.
- Carry cash for tolls or better yet, ask for a toll device from the car rental company to automatically breeze through the toll booths.
- Take the scenic route! You might see a bear or other cool stuff.
- Research hotels, inns, B and Bs, etc. to find one that fits your taste and don’t just stay at a chain. Read the reviews and don’t just look at the pictures because they will be staged to look inviting.
- Never take the last flight home because the delays stack up for the day and many a last flight becomes the first flight out the next day.
Following these tips give you a good start toward a perfect journey. We will continue posting stories so that you can keep perfecting the art of traveling with ease on all your journeys. You can always contact us for any planning tips or information. We are happy to assist and never charge fees. Bon voyage!