Tuesday, October 7, 2014


From the late entry of this post for the letter E, you might reasonably assume that I am a bit of a procrastinator.  You would be right.  I returned a week ago Sunday from a board meeting of the educational organization I serve on with good intentions to immediately open up my meeting notes and begin compiling and working my way through the to-do list.  I actually accomplished that goal yesterday...eight days after returning home.

But, oh, did I get a lot of housework done in the meantime!

Of course, if it actually is housework on the agenda, then I am likely to find myself in the garden pulling weeds instead.  I don't quite understand this tendency to do alternative activities rather than the ones I should be doing, though I do manage to get a lot of unplanned work done that way!

When it comes to travel planning, however, Rob and I could be in the running for the "Early Bird Hall of Fame."  This week, when I should have been doing my association's tasks, we spent hours researching and booking a tour that won't even take place until November, 2015.  As often happens, we are actually too early to book our airline flight or our hotels.   Many airlines will not take reservations prior to eleven months before your trip, and hotels often adjust their rates each year and are not willing to make a reservation until they are able to provide their customer with accurate information.  No matter!  The hotel was happy to put us on a waiting list and promised to notify us when reservations for our requested dates become available.  (And I added a note to my calendar to check again after the first of the year to follow up in case their waiting list goes astray.)

For the flight plans, I know I can count on Rob to be on the phone to the airline the very first date that seats are made available for our preferred flight.  His diligence has a lot of benefits.  By being early, we are assured of the flight we want, but even more importantly, we are also assured of getting the seats we want.  Any of you who have flown recently know that the airlines have been quietly scooting their coach seats closer and closer together.  Our local newspaper just ran a story on airline travel, stating that the minimum amount of space between seats to ensure passenger comfort is 34 inches, but the norm lately is 30 inches...far too small for my tall husband.  Rob has become a master at looking at the airplane charts and selecting the exact seats that will allow him to stretch his long legs.  Yes, we do have to pay a bit more for Economy Plus, but on a long flight, the cost is well worth it.

We are not only early in planning our trips..we are even early when taking the trips.  For international flights, airlines request that you check in two hours prior to the flight, but it is not unusual to find us through the security line and sitting in the terminal three hours ahead.  Some might think that sitting in the airport terminal for three hours is a terrible waste of time, but there are lots of ways to fill the hours.  In the last several years, many airports are recognizing our need to be "plugged in," and provide outlet stations where waiting passengers can plug in their iPads and smart phones to charge them up for the upcoming flight.  We can read, check emails, play Sudoku, browse in the airport shops, and people-watch.

Waiting for our journeys is not my favorite part of travel, but being early eliminates so much of the stress and hassle that it is worth the long wait at the gate.  Now if I could only learn this lesson when it comes to work and chores!


  1. Early IS best, Joan. We've found that out, too. Sometimes we're early because we have no choice, like when the airport bus transport gets us into LAX at 8pm and our flight to Leon, MX, doesn't leave until after midnight. But, a couple of years ago, when we must have been the first people in and business class was open, the three of us traveling together were upgraded. Also read, "fed and pampered." Such a surprise and a treat.

    And, about procrastination? I will go head-to-head with you on that one.

    Looking forward to reading more of your fabulous travel articles, Joan. xoA

    1. Thanks, Annis! Rob and I had the upgrade experience just once due to checking in so early...but it was the best possible time for it! We were returning home from our honeymoon in Norway and traveled home first class!

  2. So much better to be early than late. I've had a few close calls in making it to an airport and swore...never again! And I can happily spend a few hours in an airport as long as I have a book in hand. :-)