Couch Tomato

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Thought I'd start a general travel thread.. to get tips from everything from packing, to keeping up with the latest security concerns, to booking flights..and of course any and everything having to do with having a clayventure.

I'm looking at flights to Minneapolis and I can't find anything direct out of Oakland.... which is the airport about 10 minutes from the house. I'm kinda nervous about winter travel...but if my change over was in Houston, Phoenix or Dallas... that would be ok right? Or would I have to worry about the flights actually arriving there from other places.

I can also take a flight out of SFO..which is more of a pain but it's non stop..and what do you know, about 10 dollars cheaper.

Any advice on that? I guess I'm leaning for SFO. Something about a direct flight appeals to me but Northwest Airlines? Are they reliable? I don't think I've ever taken them.

I also need advice on dealing with the winter weather in MN, NE and IN. So I know about the cuddle duds. I have boots but think they are more fashion boots than something practical. What sort of shoes are recommended? And I will just borrow a coat from mom if I can get into it

ETA: I'm really leary about US Air..Should I be?

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Hi got this one in email and thought I could be of a bit of help here.

I too am going to Minneapolis in December but I'm coming in from W Canada where it

will probably be even colder. You should bring boots which will take socks, or comfy runners, something to keep your feet warm. Hopefully it will just be chilly and not slushy underfoot. Layering is the big thing for cold weather. Bring a fleece vest or sweatshirt to put on under your coat and bring a waterproof coat if you can. And BRING GLOVES. Very very important. Nothing worse than hanging around after a concet with your fingers freezing off! If the forecast is below -5C then bring something for your head too, or a coat with a hood if you plan on standing around for hours wating for the touch line. Cold ears are painful.

If you can get to SFO I would take the nonstop. I am flying on NW and although they have had some problems recently cancelling lots of flights due to their staff flying their allotted hours too early in the month, they are rectifying that by taking on many more pilots and trying really hard to improve their on time perfomance. US Air are ok, providing you check in very early to make sure you get on. I wouldn't worry too much about them, they are a budget airline but so are many. I'm a travel agent in Canada so that's why I know a bit about the airlines.

Make sure your footwear has a bit of grip to it for outside. Don't want to fall down on some ice and get all banged up when Clay may be coming around the corner! Hope this helps.

Alison

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Only for you, couchie. Only for you.... :F_05BL17blowkiss:

BEWARE OF US AIRWAYS!!!

NW is about your only choice if you want a nonstop to Minneapolis. Its their hub.

NW is not good. No one is.

DO NOT FLY OUT THE DAY OF THE CONCERT!!!!

Seriously. Bad weather delays flights. Big time. Often causing a ripple effect that can screw things up for days. An early morning flight is best because the plane is likely already on the ground before you leave.

Take the nonstop out of SFO. If there is a weather problem it doesn't matter the weather where you are changing planes. It matters where the aircraft is coming from.

And most of all CHECK IN EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try to get away with, say, an hour before flight time.....

Not that you ever would of course..... :RedGuy:

Take weather proof boots. Maybe you can find them in a consignment shop. And definitely take a warm coat and gloves and a hat. You are going to COLD country!!! You're not used to that so you will really feel it!

Now of course if you go all prepared it will probably all nice and warm!

I just wish I could go with you!

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eeee, it's CG!!

I don't think couchie has all this stuff, y'all. Hat and gloves and maybe a scarf are probably more important than the Warmest Coat Ever. See about whether you can borrow any of these things from any of your traveling buddies or a local.

Yeah, footwear with a grip. Good sneakers will actually work if you have those, especially high tops. A shoe that covers as much of the foot and ankle as possible.

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I too am going to Minneapolis in December but I'm coming in from W Canada where it

will probably be even colder.

Alison, thank you so much for the tips. I've definitely decided to take the non stop flight. SFO is about 40 minutes away rather than 10 but I think a nonstop flight will help my stress levels. Hope to meet you there somewhere!!

DO NOT FLY OUT THE DAY OF THE CONCERT!!!!

Seriously. Bad weather delays flights. Big time. Often causing a ripple effect that can screw things up for days. An early morning flight is best because the plane is likely already on the ground before you leave.

And most of all CHECK IN EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try to get away with, say, an hour before flight time.....

Not that you ever would of course..... :RedGuy:

Oh god, will I NEVER live that down. :cryingwlaughter:

OK the flight I may take is like a red eye and if for some reason it doesn't go there are several other direct flghts. I may leave out a day in advance. I guess I have two days to decide cuz I want to jump on this fare before it goes up.

Do fares go up on a certain day..like Wednesday or is it done by time away from fly date. Or is their just no rhyme or reason?

eeee, it's CG!!

Yeah, footwear with a grip. Good sneakers will actually work if you have those, especially high tops. A shoe that covers as much of the foot and ankle as possible.

Thanks JMH... guess my pretty shiney boots are out. heh. I have a feeling I'll be landing on my ass more than once if I wore them.

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Ihave had fares jump while I was on the computer making the reservation.

I have no idea when and why they jump. I think I am still heartbroken I could not figure out anyway to take the AC frlight to LAs Vegas, when first class is affordable and he economy class is very good with above average seat space it was just too hard with the trailer park closed and a 3 hour drive to my house. Too bad I didn't keep those friends from college that still live in Neptune.

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Hi Alison! Haven't seen you in ages...how are things in Red Deer?

I think this thread is a great idea. I'm sure there are lots wondering, from the warmer climes. What we do for Clay!

I travel for business, so feel qualified to mention a few things:

I'm from Western Canada as well, although I now live in Ontario. I would definitely agree with the layer, layer, layer approach. As Alison suggested, a polyester fleece jacket (which you can wear as a sweater inside if necessary) and a windproof, waterproof outer layer are a good choice and really versatile. You may need gloves and a scarf but they'll be readily available in Minneapolis (you can buy excellent fleece gloves for $1)...and if you don't need 'em, just don't buy 'em! They're also bulky to pack if you don't really need them.

Airlines~most airlines now base their fares on the popularity of the flight...more people booking, the more expensive the flight is. I've flown NWA and liked them, but as Alison said they've had some problems lately.

I've never flown or even heard of US Air (but I do live in the east...it may be regional SW).

Best piece of advice ever? Do . not . even . THINK . about flying the same day as the concert! It's a recipe for disaster.

Packing~pack in "outfits" so you can just lift them all together out of the suitcase. Longest item (pants, skirt) goes on the bottom, then the coordinating top or two folded like you see in the stores for presentation (someone in your favorite store will be glad to demo for you). The tops then get placed inside the folded edge of the pant/skirt so that it stops them from creasing. This is hard to explain in writing, but it works great! You should end up with a "package" with the bottom om the bottom, and the tops inside the folded-over length of the skirt or pant.

All heavy items (rechargers, makeup bag etc)go in the WHEEL end of your bag so they don't crush other stuff when you lift the bag to wheel it.

Stuff socks etc in the corners of the bag.

A sock makes a great "case" for anything you don't have a case for~camera, GPS, rechargers etc.

I travel enough that I just keep an extra makeup bag stocked with travel sizes of my favorite stuff and just throw it in the bag without having to worry I'm missing something. And on that note~GRAB those sample sizes of your favorite lotions etc when "gift" time comes around!

An extra pair of headphones for your Ipod (or Zen in my case) and an extra recharger for your phone always in the suitcase means you don't have to worry about those either.

Oh yes...and remember!....NO LIQUIDS IN CARRYONS over 3 oz. I don't want to be the person in the security line behind you! :imgtongue:

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis!

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Airfare Predictions website

This one doesn't really work for me, because I fly out of a small airport that's not listed (and the closest large airport is 2 1/2 hours away). But for those of you, like couchie, flying out of larger airports, this might be a good site to try.

I'm with those that say bring the hat, scarf and gloves first. Those are the kinds of personal items that, IMO, everyone should have just for these kinds of times. IMO, I can forgo a coat if I've got 5 layers of regular clothes on. At the minimum, bring tennis shoes and a bag with your good shoes to take to the show. If you can find boots, so much the better.

And remember, in Minnesota, 50 degrees F. isn't unheard of for December, and is considered a heat wave there. But I know the California types....

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Airlines~most airlines now base their fares on the popularity of the flight...more people booking, the more expensive the flight is. I've flown NWA and liked them, but as Alison said they've had some problems lately.

I've never flown or even heard of US Air (but I do live in the east...it may be regional SW).

Best piece of advice ever? Do . not . even . THINK . about flying the same day as the concert! It's a recipe for disaster.

Packing~pack in "outfits" so you can just lift them all together out of the suitcase. Longest item (pants, skirt) goes on the bottom, then the coordinating top or two folded like you see in the stores for presentation (someone in your favorite store will be glad to demo for you). The tops then get placed inside the folded edge of the pant/skirt so that it stops them from creasing. This is hard to explain in writing, but it works great! You should end up with a "package" with the bottom om the bottom, and the tops inside the folded-over length of the skirt or pant.

All heavy items (rechargers, makeup bag etc)go in the WHEEL end of your bag so they don't crush other stuff when you lift the bag to wheel it.

Stuff socks etc in the corners of the bag.

A sock makes a great "case" for anything you don't have a case for~camera, GPS, rechargers etc.

I travel enough that I just keep an extra makeup bag stocked with travel sizes of my favorite stuff and just throw it in the bag without having to worry I'm missing something. And on that note~GRAB those sample sizes of your favorite lotions etc when "gift" time comes around!

An extra pair of headphones for your Ipod (or Zen in my case) and an extra recharger for your phone always in the suitcase means you don't have to worry about those either.

FromClaygary - wow thanks for all the packing tips. I just throw stuff in and my suitcase always tips over. I just thought I had cheap luggage..even though I bought it at Macys. I got it at like 70% off so figured something was wrong with it :cryingwlaughter:

All of you have convinced me... to leave a day early...thanks!!

Airfare Predictions website

And remember, in Minnesota, 50 degrees F. isn't unheard of for December, and is considered a heat wave there. But I know the California types....

Thanks! I'm hoping for 50 degrees. I can deal with 50 degrees.

Has anyone successfully used cheapoair.com?

Hmmmm That site slashed 20 off my ticket...haven't read the fine print yet..but I will give it a shot and let you know.

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Packing: If you place your outfit in a dry cleaning bag - it will.not.crease!! :) I sometimes put one bag over a bunch of things and it still works.

For anyone with a big enough suitcase: Leave everything on hangars. Place on bed. Fold up and in or roll. Each place you get to - just lift out the hangars and place in the closet.

DH and I travelled for months at a time and always did the above. works like a charm. :)

Anyone going to Chicago: It's going to be colder than a witch's tit from what I hear. They don't call it the windy city for nothin! :cryingwlaughter:

Can.Not.Wait!

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And most of all CHECK IN EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try to get away with, say, an hour before flight time.....

Not that you ever would of course..... :RedGuy:

Oh god, will I NEVER live that down. :cryingwlaughter:

Not as long as I'm around! :F_05BL17blowkiss:

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And most of all CHECK IN EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try to get away with, say, an hour before flight time.....

Not that you ever would of course..... :RedGuy:

Oh god, will I NEVER live that down. :cryingwlaughter:

Not as long as I'm around! :F_05BL17blowkiss:

:mockery-046:

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oh holy Jesus..I just had the most stressfull 2 hours trying to book a flight for my mom. Prices were going up as I looked and flights were totally disappearing. I need a drink!

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So we do family trips..and in my old age I'm finding them fun. ANd I love hanging with the kids. For 2008 we'll probably go to Hawaii. (my mom's been sick the last few years so that's why we have all these time share weeks banked)...anyway...I've been to the Big Island and Oahu and my sister and her husband have been to Oahu and Maui.... I don't mind repeating but would prefer to go elsewhere. Any recommendations for which island to visit. Oh and what's the best time of year to go?

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No recommendation of where to go, just a quick comment on traveling with a parent when you are older - don't forget that the senior fare includes a companion. Some of the sites don't have a place to check senior fare, if so, try another site. 65 and older.

After my father died from a long lingering illness, I started taking my Mother on my vacation, I used to alternate renting a house with my sister and we would get one with enough bedrooms that my sister's family, and her children or my borther;s family would join us. Once we got two houses a a bunch of us went together. Great memories. I am sorry I did not buy a trailer while my Moom was still alive, but I did use my inheritence to buy one and I think that my parents would have liked that as they both loved the beach, it isi kind of like taking them there.

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I am not sure exactly which category this post belongs to, but since it has something to do with travel, I figured here could be the place.

OK, for those of us who are struggling with weather conditions and anything else that makes getting from A to B a challenge, let's ponder the following two scenarios....

Hanoi traffic

http://www.snotr.com/video/843

Icy collisions in Portland

http://www.snotr.com/video/694

I will be more appreciative of the bad-road-days that pale into insignificance by comparison.

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Can any Canadians out there tell me what the weather is likely to be like toward the end of April? I am going to be spending about a week in Quebec City, Toronto, and Montreal.

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Can any Canadians out there tell me what the weather is likely to be like toward the end of April? I am going to be spending about a week in Quebec City, Toronto, and Montreal.

ausdon, I know this is a little too late for you but may be worth saving for next time....

http://www.packinglistonline.com

I was sent this link and remembered this thread ... it may be useful to some of you as it gives a bunch of useful details, such as:

- Weather conditions

- How to NOT pack the kitchen sink

Holiday packing.

Packing our bags, the last minute horror before traveling to your holiday destination. Not anymore!

packinglistonline provides you a free packing list that is easy to use. Follow the steps below and within a minute you have a personalized packing list. Now you are sure to take everything with you.

Where are you traveling to?

Here you can tell us your destination. This information is important to determine for example what cloths you should bring.

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So You Think Your Luggage is Safe?

How to Unlock Your Luggage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj1RRsT1Xmw

These "tips" are scary, and are a reflection of "modern" travel and luggage.

The matter of making sure your luggage cannot be tampered with is critical, I repeat CRITICAL, especially when traveling to certain parts of Asia.

ETA:

If you Google Schapelle Corby you may get an idea of what kind of nightmare she ended up in. She claims someone tampered with her luggage as a large quantity of cannabis (marijuana) was found in her surfboard bag at Denpassar airport in Bali. She was convicted and is serving 20 years in jail in Bali, which was considered a good outcome by some because she could have been given life imprisonment or death. I tend to believe she was innocent, and initially, polls indicated that a high percentage of people did so as well, but now there are some doubts about her innocence, mainly because of family connections. She has written a book about her ordeal and I have no doubt a film will be made about this, and am certain a script has already been in the works for some time.

While Schapelle is a high profile case, there are numerous other ones. I feel sorry for the families of the many young people currently on death row in Asian prisons. (I don't agree with capital punishment but I also don't tolerate drug traffickers).

EATA:

<snip> "Why do Qantas airlines now offer travellers, departing Australian airport terminals, the new plastic wrap system for their luggage? It strongly suggests that you can't afford to trust their baggage handlers for fear of becoming a victim like Schapelle Corby. "

Source: http://www.freeschapelle.net/

ALSO:

ETA: During the media furore over Schapelle's situation, an anonymous couple gave an account of their experience. They said that after arriving in Bali and unpacking in their hotel room, they discovered some 'stuff' in their luggage. They sought advice and were told by their lawyer to simply flush it down the toilet and never to mention it. The situation was such that even if one tried to do the right thing, it could create all kings of complications and suspicions. I don't recall the exact details of this story but I just know that the couple's luggage had been tampered with and IF their luggage HAD been scrutinized and the 'stuff' found, they would be been detained, locked up and pretty much considered "guilty until proven innocent". Disclaimer: This isn't advice about what anyone should do, it is just information to indicate how serious it can get, and to not be complacent about it.

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