Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quirky travel or where I, once again, prove what a weirdo I am

I never thought I'd say this but I'm beginning to hate to travel. Probably, because living out of a suitcase sucks, flying is a cattle car nightmare, and I'm never at these places for fun and relaxation. It's, work, work.

So I've developed a few quirks. Nothing too outrageous. Just a few things that get me to the end of the trip without a major meltdown. Trust me, it is really bad form to meltdown in the lobby of a 4 star hotel. It freaks the front desk people out, not to mention the other quests.

Let me give you a quick list of my travel quirks.

Expensive room without free WiFi but with a comfy bed. Still doesn't make up for the lack of internet.
Quirk #1: The Train
 Usually, I pack as light as possible and take public transportation to the hotel. For some reason I love trains so anytime I can get on one I do. This does mean that I'm that annoying person on the commuter train with all the luggage. (Sorry, citizens of whatever city I'm in but you'll just have to get over it. I need my train fix and an not willing to wait until my luggage is safely stored at the hotel.) Unfortunately, this little quirk of mine makes it so I'm thoroughly tired of lugging my baggage through terminals, stations, and across busy streets by the time I hit the hotel. I check into my hotel as soon as humanly possible. If my room is not ready I drop my bags with the Bell Captain just to get rid of them.

The Terminal Market. Yummy food belongs here

Quirk #2: The Visitor Center
Before I leave my house I have already mapped the quickest route from the hotel to the visitor's center. Awww...visitor centers. How I love them. Whether driving, flying, biking or walking I have a nose for visitor centers. JR and I love to take road trips and as we pass from one state into the next I make him stop at the first visitor's center along the route. If we are going through 5 different states then we stop at five different visitor centers, at the least. You know that most towns and cities have them also. We have to stop at those. It's imperative. My theory on this is where else are you going to find the crazy corn museum, biggest ball of yarn, car show, or the best place to dine. Usually, the helpful desk people know ALL the best places. JR's theory is that it is always best to distract me while we pass the exit.

Independence Hall. Where all the important stuff having to do with the United States becoming the United States happened.

Quirk #3: The Concierge
Never underestimate the power of these people. 
Want to rent a car? Concierge
Want to eat at an exclusive restaurant that has been booked out for a year? Concierge
Want to see a sold out show? Yep, Concierge
You will have to tip them pretty generously if you want something a little more difficult to get than a good restaurant within walking distance but it is well worth it.
The Liberty Bell. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Interesting history belongs to this object.

Quirk #4: The File Folder
I am an absolute nut about file folders. Every trip has a file folder with every piece of paper that I might ever want or need for the trip in it. After I have checked the weather, the traffic, the visitor's center, the airlines, the train/bus/shuttle schedule and the hotel's websites. I will print off all the pertinent information to put into the trip's designated file folder. Not only does this plethora of paper go into the vaulted file folder but it needs to go into the folder in the same order as the events of the trip will run. Airline confirmation; boarding pass; work related reading material for the plane; directions for where the ground transportation is located, costs, and times; hotel reservations, etc it all goes in order.  Can you say anal retentive? I have killed many a tree with this obsession.
Steeple of Christ Church. This is the church that the founding fathers usually hung out in. The pews in this church has seen and supported some of the most famous butts ever. George Washington sat his tushy on these pews.

Quirk #5: The Shoes
The Shoe bomber guy ruined many a pair of socks I can tell you. Plus, made going through security that much more painful. There is nothing worse than being THAT traveler. The one that is wearing a pair of lace up sneakers that are double knotted. Who stands there fighting with their shoes in order to fulfill the stupid TSA regulations. So I have a specific pair of shoes. They slip on easily with socks (a must have since airlines think that if they are squeezing us in like sardines then they have to keep the temperature in the cabin just above freezing), are weather proof but still light weight. And, not bad to look at.

The Thinker outside the Rodin museum. Rodin is one of my all time favorite sculptors.
Quirk #6 The tourist
Every time I take a trip I try to add a half day or so to the length of the trip to play tourist. If I have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport to make a flight at 6am that will get me into wherever I'm going before noon I'll do it. That extra half day usually gives me enough time to grab a tour bus or boat trip. I find that these prepackaged trips pack in a lot of the sites of the city in a short amount of time. If I have more time I will see more of the city sites on a more one on one basis but the prepackaged trips give me a great overall view. They also help me to make informed decisions about what I really might want to see. I've taken boat trips in Chicago, train trips in Durango, and a trolley trip in Philadelphia. All of them have been great fun.

The Old Woman by Rodin. Hey! He's never seen me naked.

These are some of my major quirks when it comes to traveling. I don't even want to start on my home quirks. They are legendary. 
Have you got any travel quirks? 
Or any that you'll admit to?

As always,
According to the artist the "O" is crooked because love is never perfect. I can dig that.



  1. You make me want to visit Philly! Although the building I work in is an exact replica of Independence Hall, right down to the asymmetry.

  2. I have to admit, I have never once willingly visited a visitor's center but I will give them a second chance on your behalf. There is one at the local park that has lots of scary dead animals that we take the kids to and freak them out. Not cool.

    Sorry you're over traveled. It does sound like you do it up right though, next time add a flask to your trip and things will be just peachy.

  3. My travel quirk is scheduling.I must have a schedule and must stick to it. Drives John crazy.

  4. We too stop at visitors centers for info.
    With our stop at Wisconsin Dells visitors center this summer we were disappointed for the first time in one of them. Unless the businesses "advertised" with them this guy knew nothing. We told him about different fun things in the town. Not sure if he was being loyal to his customers or just dumb. We questioned the latter.
    And shoes are a definite for flying!!! Daryl has learned that steel toed shoes are not for airports unless you are an employee!!! Of course he learned that after he was about stripped completely in the Omaha airport for all to see. Just saying....all the half asleep people behind us were wide awake after that veiwing!!!!
    Organization is key if you want to fit EVERYTHING in in a few hours!! Like our Pheonix trip!! :)

  5. I am the navigator. I know how and where to get where we are going. Nick takes a much more relaxed view and that works for us.

  6. A melt down while traveling is NOT a good thing ever!


  7. Yes, the train all the way. If one can afford them.
    But there is a point even with 'plane fares cheaper than a city bus that flying cattle coach is just too much.
    There is a joke here about Ryanair -it makes Herb Kelleher Southwestern look plush- that soon they will remove half the seats and have you hanging from straps.

  8. Wow, you sound like an awesome traveler! I'm more a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of traveler.

  9. Hmm, I haven't actually traveled anywhere in a long time. If I'm flying though, my hand must touch the outside of the plane when we're boarding. I guess that's more of a phobia. Nevermind.

  10. We're two peas in a pod! When I used to travel extensively for business, I had the same exact quirks you did - right down to that organized folder! :)

  11. I haven't travelled in a long while, so I will be happy just to go on a trip. Your quirks sound like great plans for any trip though.