May 2008

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Travel tips:

1. If you have time, decrypt the itinerary into a format you like before you go. Put every itinerary in the same format, and leave a copy behind with someone you trust.

2. I absolutely agree with carrying on a change of clothing, medication, and snacks. I've been in strange countries where for 24-48 hours, the stores were closed (or I couldn't get to them), my luggage was missing, and my carry-on was IT. A deck of cards is also helpful if you have a layover.

3. Carry on your own water. It won't be enough, but it'll get you through when the flight attendant is busy.

4. Identifying your bags with tape/fabric paint/etc. helps with another problem: a thief is less likely to try to steal an easy-to-identify bag, and you won't be accused of theft for picking up a bag you know isn't yours.

5. Pack only what you can live without seeing ever again. Dirty socks always make it; one-of-a-kind items sometimes do.

6. Get there an hour earlier than you're planning to. That will make life easier on the rest of us when you're running an hour late.


Hi, I travel often and most trips are 5hrs and above. This is definitely bad for the skin (ladies, invest in good skincare products!)

Some tips

1) Before a trip, I will work out an Excel table of my country's currency against the currency of the country that I'm going and vice versa. The size of the table must be small like the size of a credit card. Then I will print this out and stick each conversion onto different sides of a piece of thick paper. I carry this table in my wallet and whip it out when I need to make fast calculations. I have different worksheets for different currencies. Makes calculations while travelling a breeze.

2) For ladies, I recommend wearing a long skirt (but not tight!) as opposed to jeans or pants. You can sit in any way you want and still stay comfy.


TW: you must be new here. Scott's software always puts the author's name under his/her post. The intervening dotted line is confusing, but you get used to it. Nothing to do with senility on Scott's part. Some of us compensate by signing our posts.



Would it not be easier if you used the 24 hour clock. It used throughout europe and means you can drop the AM PM altogether


Here's a twofer. Travel tips and Presidential age. You made solid points about candidates age and the comment about Reagan. Now I question the effect of age on cartoonists who have a blog. My comment about travel tips was posted, made me real happy because it was my first. But it was attributed to someone else, and the comment following mine was attributed to me. Scott, ever wonder if you're getting too old to keep track of blog comments? And quality of directions aside, have you thought about hiring a handler to excort you on trips and make sure you get to your destination? Just kidding... By the way, have you seen my glasses laying around anywhere? I really need them, I just used the Vick's Vaporub instead of Vasoline for my anal itch. Whew! It don't itch no more, that's for sure.


I completely agree. If you distribute information, especially in areas such as times and bookings, it should be clear, organised and possible to read with just a quick glance.
One thing though, you forget the way that Americans (I'm saying Americans because I've rarely seen it done elsewhere) lay out the date.
ie. June 5, 2007
The most assumed information (what year it is)should be at the end, with the most variable information at the begining.
Why not 5 June 2007 ???

Angela Johnston

My personal tip is to use a 24 hour clock for all itineraries. As an American who has grown up in the UK I return quite often to see family. Because flights depart and arrive at all sorts of hours 6.20 is no good to me and I am momentarily filled with panic when I am expecting to see 1820.

Couldn't agree more about the directions. Except for the UPPER CASE.

Dossy Shiobara

Scott, of course you make perfect sense. This is why you draw cartoons, instead of working for a software company designing products. You'd make stuff that works, which doesn't support an entire labor force of nearly incompetent people. Then, unemployment would skyrocket and they'd have to raise taxes to keep them all on welfare.

Instead, you draw cartoons and some guy in India who can't afford food, let alone airfare, designs a system to enable travelers to get hopelessly confused as they earn frequent flyer miles.

It's all about economics.


Being a Yahoo member is not without it's hiccups. I wouldn't trust their maps to begin with. Once did a search engine query, of one of their maps....just to see if they got the location of my job address right. They were off by a good 3 miles.

Or it simply means, the street numbering system in our town, doesn't quite match up with Federal Standards, and you can't blame the Map generated, for not accounting regional variations in judgment.

My advice. Stay on whatever road you're on. When it ends, flip a coin (and pick left or right) or turn around.


you need PDT and MDT to know the time zones. Your flight would be an hour longer if both arrival and departure times were on the same time zone. It's useful info.

but yes, your way is more convenient.


Another tip is that when your traveling in a plane, to dress casually. I do a lot of travel in plane and I have learned that it's a bad idea to travel in t-shirt and sneakers. Sure, it's really comfy but ppl seem to be nicer when you dress casually.

I mean, not only the flight attendants are nicer but also the migration and customs personnel in the airport treat you nicer. If you are wearing a t-shirt this people double check your belongings and passport "just in case". But in a casual button up shirt they just let you pass with a smile. Try it once!


I don't like the
Turn right at Dublin Blvd 4 miles
format either. I always find myself wondering if the 4 miles applies before or after -- ie, is it 4 miles till the right turn, or after turning, is it 4 miles to the next direction?. Your formatting would make it much more clear.

Kodjo Hogan

Did you and Joe Blow have a good time.

Scott for president 2008


Perfect. I wouldn't change a thing about your ideas. Now, you think you might be able to address people driving too slow in the passing lane and holding up traffic? Thanks.


haha i agree with you on the clearer write out. i've gotten confused with the miles note on the side, too. you should have been a graphic designer, scott. that's what we're supposed to do. make information clearer and easier to understand. welcome to the club =)


VG said "Put your "splootables" in zip-top plastic bags (things like shampoo, lotions, etc.) in case they leak."

Here's an improvement: squeeze all the air out of them.

* Hold splootable bottle upright.
* Open cap.
* Squeeze gently until the goo is right at the very top of the container.
* Tighten the cap as much as possible, without breaking.

Even if there's a teeny bit of air remaining, if it expands, it will just push the bottle out to its un-squished state. No "exploding shampoo", or whatever.

Vermont Gal

Put your "splootables" in zip-top plastic bags (things like shampoo, lotions, etc.) in case they leak.

When travelling, have one change of clothes in your carry-on that will get you through at least 24 hours. (When vacationing someplace warm, I am sure my swimsuit is part of this). I think one change of underwear is very important!

Your prescription medications go with you on the carry-on, and bring at least 25% more than you think you'll need. You'll never know if there will be weather delays, strikes, and so on that will postpone a return.

When visiting a foreign country, learn at least a few key words in the native language: "Bathroom", "Restaurant", "Museum", "Pub", "Hotel"etc. Although you may have trouble comprehending the answer by a native speaker, it's amazing what you can accomplish with just a few words, gesturing, and smiling.


Yes I do.
But WHO AM I ??
If you go to Rome, Italy and you need some directions
May I suggest... Google Maps?
Say you leave from NEW York City and your destination is Rome, Italy.
The answer is in the directions!
These are the very best directions, to date!


Remember to enter: new york city to rome, italy

*** check-out number 24

Clue: (I M an olympic champ)




mountain daylight time [daylight savings]
pacific daylight time...

Don G

To make your luggage stand out, use bright orange or yellow Duct Tape. Don't just put a little on one side; the luggage will be lying on that side. Cover all of it in duct tape.

Or better yet, just use a carry on. My parents had their luggage lost on a flight home from the Caribbean. When they got it back my mom was missing four pairs of underwear and two bras. I can see some luggage handler right now coming home, "Hey sweetie, I got you something special from work. If it doesn't fit I'll get another size tomorrow!"


I love you for this post. I feel the same way! I totally agree with how you have it organized...I don't think I could make it any better, so I won't even try!

Although I'm wondering what you're doing with Joe Blow, but I'd rather leave that to my imagination.


I have the exact same hang-up. When I am writing down driving directions, I have to listen to the guy giving me directions and translate it to this way of thinking. Most of the time the guy giving directions has them way out of order and I get a little lost transcribing and have to have them repeat a few things. but its much easier to understand three days later.

dumb guy: "take 15 and go on it aways until you see the chevron station and turn north there. Then drive aways..."

Me interrupting: "Was that a LEFT or a RIGHT?"

dumb guy: "its a right"

Me: "What exit or street is that?"

dumb guy: "It's Quincy Way"

My directions

R on Quincy - Chevron station

dumb guy: "Then you go down aways, hey have you ever been to that donut shop on Madison?"

Me: "No."

dumb guy: "Well it's over by that."

Me: "That doesn't help. What street do you turn on next?"

Thank goodness for Google maps. I can go, "Just tell me your address, I'll met you there."

It's funny, when my wife takes directions I can't figure them out. She is writing all crooked on the paper and there are diagrams and flowers and doodles and stuff. She has to tell me where to go (Sometimes we make it on the first try). If she is reading my directions we don't have any problems at all.

go figure.


When you call Delta's reservation line there's a recording that plays while you're waiting that says something to the effect of: "...Our commitment to you is to offer the lowest price available on any given fare, or, visit where lower fares may be available." What?


When travelling to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), never take a taxi on the bus station. There are illegal taxis running there, and you'll certanly pay five times more.
Instead, go to the taxi company office inside the bus station and buy a ticket.

Diana W

- Roll rather than fold any clothes with a tendancy to wrinkle

- If you're bringing a large carry-on bag and aren't an elite frequent flyer, make sure you know which section of the plane boards first (usually back or window)and get a seat there so you're sure to find a place for your bag

- Don't buy a black roller bag - 90% of the bags in baggage claim are black roller bags. If you already have one, add a big sticker or let your kids paint on it with fabric paint.

- Always carry on prescription drugs and non-prescription meds like asprin and dramamine

- For women who travel often, keep make-up in a soft-sided travel bag all the time so you can just toss it in your bag.

- Make sure you carry on any make-up or toiletries that don't do well with temperature extremes. It's no fun when a deodorant stick melts all over you toothbrush.

- Take an asprin before boarding. It helps prevent both headaches and blood clots. If you're prone to allergy problems, a Benedryl is a good idea too.

- Skirts or pants in black and navy, tops in white, light blue and black or red - you can mix and match for a week or more.

- My other carry on essentials - snack, breath mints, pen and Sudoku book, iPod with noise-cancelling headphones

Comments about directions:

Highway signs should always include compass directions. When I first arrived in California it drove me nuts to see a sign at a highway intersection that said something like . I didn't know either of the damn towns, I just knew I wanted to go North!

And there's no reason to limit the directions to North if Norhtwest is more accurate. It used to drive me nuts in Chicago to see signs for 90 east and west when the highway runs straight north/south through the city. You had to know to chose West to go North and East to go South.

Lastly, when returning a car to the rental car lots at O'Hare airport, ignore the sign on the ramp that says to stay left - it's a trick, you need to be to the right!! I bet whoever wrote that sign decades ago is still laughing his ass off at the cars that get stuck in the wrong lane.

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