13 Tips from a Well-Traveled Woodworker
When I’m getting ready to take a road trip to a woodworker’s shop, I usually make a checklist of things to pack, check the lighting and camera gear, print maps, etc. I’m as detail oriented about my travel as I am about my editing, photography, woodworking… well, most tasks in my life. But my attention to detail makes my road trips, both business and personal, move along without major speed bumps. So I thought it would be helpful to pass along some travel tips to you, from “one of the best-traveled woodworkers on the planet.” So take some notes before you take your next trip, and if you have suggestions, let me know. I’ll be sure to pass them along to my boot-strapped comrades.
–If you use a travel booking service like Expedia.com, don’t commit to a reservation until you check the web site of the car or hotel. You sometimes will find a better rate reserving directly from the car rental agency or hotel, and you’ll avoid extra fees.
–I leave some extra space in my suitcase for gifts for my family, if I have the time to shop or see something in my travels that I think my kids or wife will like.
–Pack a trash bag for dirty laundry. This way the grime doesn’t mix with the clean.
–Print out any type of confirmation notice. Not only will it help you rectify any problems with your reservation, but it also has phone numbers that could come in handy, like if you’re running late or need to make a last-minute change.
–Find the switch for the interior or map light of the rental car. Once, on my way to an airport before sunrise, I missed the exit and needed to consult my map, but I couldn’t see in the dark and had no idea where the light controls were. (I managed to make my flight, despite the misstep.) It also doesn’t hurt to rehearse using other car controls, like the radio, CD player and emergency flashers. (Did I mention that I’m detail-oriented?)
–Check out street view options on various map web sites, like Google. I find them to be very helpful when I’m heading to a place I’ve never visited. The street views give you an opportunity to note landmarks along your trip routes. By the way, the “search nearby” function of these map sites is helpful for finding restaurants or other attractions near your hotel.
–Avoid restaurant chains. If you want to taste the local flavors, you need to go to a neighborhood establishment. I find it helpful to ask hotel staff about local places. I’ve also asked my authors for their recommendations.
–If you tip the housekeeping staff of the hotel, do it daily. Depending on the size of the hotel, the housekeeping staff rotates, so tipping daily ensures that the person doing the work that day gets their share.
–Add key phone numbers to your cell phone. I typically add an author’s number, or even hotel numbers.
–Check the weather forecast (www.weather.com) for the area you’re visiting. It will help you pack appropriate clothing.
–You can speed up your time in the security line by putting any small liquid bottles in plastic bags before you head to the airport. And keep them in an accessible place so they’re easy to find.
–I like to wear slip-on athletic shoes. It speeds up the time it takes to get through security, and I can also take them off when I’m nestled into my seat (if you have stinky feet, you may want to avoid this as a courtesy to your in-flight neighbors).
–Some smaller airports don’t have newsstands beyond security. If you have a doubt, ask about it; you don’t want to get on a plane without reading material.