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Keeping an open mind when flying

Fact: Every experienced traveler will say that the travel days are the hardest ones of the trip.

If I want to continue exploring the world, then I have to make the best of long airport waits, delays and hussling between gates. The other night at Hartsfield Atlanta Airport my gate changed 3 times, and that meant different concourses via the train system, which fortunately is very efficient. Add into the equation that I was on the last leg of my journey home and that I was dead tired didn't make it any nicer. I kept the proper attitude and figured that I added an additional two miles at least into my daily walking routine and found a lovely restaurant for a meal with a glass of wine. That was a win-win in my books.

The tug and pull of getting all the carryons into the overhead bins is another more recent phenomena in flying as folks try to manage luggage without paying the fees. People are forever asking me to give up my space - my carryon is compact on purpose - and put it under my seat so that their bulky one can have room. On long flights I am not so agreeable as my legroom will be limited and I feel that is an imposition. People tend to get pushy and agressive while traveling, and I find that I have to "stick to my guns" so to speak in return.

It's best to put on my headset immediately upon settling into my seat and cancelling out unwanted conversations and commotion. Boy, do I sound like a curmudgeon. Not so. I do it to get into flight mode, plan my sleep time and play relaxing music for a pleasant atmosphere before takeoff. See. There is a method to my drill.

On travel days I make sure to wear comfortable clothing for sitting on a plane -forget the tight stylish pants that I can barely snap - and slip on shoes primarily for TSA checks. A neck scarf to ward off extremes of cabin temperatures is handy. I'm still working on finding the best pillow. I saw one - it wraps around the neck like a small towel - used by a fellow traveler that looks that it might be the solution. My purse becomes my arsenal with all the essentials including my phone with airline apps - I check them for workability and know my passwords before I leave on a trip - for keeping updated on gate changes and information on my luggage transfers.

Finally, I remind myself that I should read all the signage in an airport first - I study airport layouts before I leave home -and secondly, ask questions if in doubt. It works every time.

And my last piece of advice: Don't let the mere thought of what I have said get the best of you.

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