Micro-Sleeping While Driving
This phenomenon—when a person drifts off to sleep for two to three seconds or, in some cases, as long as eight or nine seconds—can affect people who haven't had enough rest before vacation, which is common when a pre-trip to-do list is a mile long. Then, they'll try to beat traffic by driving during overnight hours. If you're going 60 mph, you're covering 88 feet per second. Fall asleep for three seconds, and you've nearly covered the length of a football field. Unlike German highways, which feature gentle hills and curves, most American routes are straight as an arrow. That monotony can add to people's drowsiness. Sinclair has fatigue-fighting down to a science—and his plan does not entail turning up the radio or rolling down the window; he says those measures don't work. Instead, pull over and drink something caffeinated (preferably cola, since the amount of caffeine is reliable, unlike coffee, which can vary). Take a 15- to 20-minute nap (it takes that long for the caffeine to kick in) and then do some jumping jacks, deep knee bends and toe touches. You'll get behind the wheel energized and alert.
Watching TSA Security Take Your Kid's Favorite Toy Away
You know not to bring a bottle of water on the plane, but airport security has a way of finding things you'd never even think would be a problem. For Hotels.com blogger Hockin, that was the aquarium car on her son's Thomas the Train, which contained a toy octopus and about two teaspoons of water. Play-Doh is another no-no, even if it's sealed. If your child wants to take those toys (or winds up talking you into buying him a snow globe while you're away), pack them in a suitcase and check them for the flight.
Eating Another Passenger's Turkey Melt
Even if you have a prescription for Ambien, Ativan or another sleep aid, it's often difficult to use these drugs when you travel—without having things go screwy. Kayak spokesperson Kevin Turner knows someone who was flying to South Africa and popped an Ambien for the 15-hour flight. The person wasn't used to taking sleeping pills and was so disoriented when he got up to go to the restroom that he came back and sat in someone else's seat—and wound up eating their meal while that person was in the bathroom. Turner has also heard of people taking a pill before getting on the plane, and then when boarding is delayed, they fall asleep in the gate area and miss their flight. Many physicians discourage taking sleeping pills on flights, since the deep sleep and resulting inactivity can contribute to blood-clot formation, which is much more serious than sleep deprivation.
Not Changing Your Watch to Local Time
You may just be passing through Chicago on a layover, but you still need to reset your watch, even if you're in the Central Time zone for only an hour. Turner says, "We hear a lot of stories about people missing their flights because they don't remember what time zone they're in." Taking the red-eye from Seattle to New York with a layover at O'Hare is exhausting enough; miss your connecting flight because your watch is still on Pacific Time, and now you've added frustration to your fatigue.
Staying in the Honeymoon Suite with Your Family of Four
If you're traveling with kids, make sure you and your spouse don't wind up at a hotel that's gorgeous but charges $8 for your 3-year-old's morning glass of orange juice. That doesn't mean you can't stay in cool places with children; trendy Kimpton Hotels, for instance, offer junior-size bathrobes, and Loews Hotels offer Fisher-Price welcome gifts for kids younger than 10. Hotels.com's Hockin suggests reading travel sites to see which hotels near your destination are most popular with families.
Having Embarrassing Interactions with Locals
Hockin has been traveling with her children since they were each 6 weeks old and has found that trips are a success when she gets them involved in the planning. "When you set expectations together, you mitigate tantrums later," she says. Before leaving home, Hockin and her family read about where they're going—which went a long way toward making sure that a day spent visiting indigenous people in Panama last summer did not involve her 6-year-old blurting out, "Mommy, why don't those women have any clothes on?"
Dropping Your Phone in the Ocean
Can you hear me now? The first thing to do if your phone goes ker-plunk is to get the battery (and SIM card, if there is one) out. Then, dry the phone as best you can, using a paper towel or even a vacuum. Let it sit in a bowl of uncooked rice (really!) overnight; this will draw any remaining moisture out. Finally, put the battery back in and try turning the phone on. (It's better to wait 24 hours after your phone takes its bath; turning it on too soon can cause it to short-circuit.) If all else fails, go to your cell phone carrier and tell them what happened (fibbing won't get you anywhere, since phones have indicators to prove they've gotten wet). Of course, if you have a tough enough phone, you won't have to follow all these tips. The Motorola DEFY
is one that's water-resistant.
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