Air Travel in the Age of Anxiety – Tips For Flying in Turbulent Times

It has been a long time since flying was considered glamorous; today, travelers are happy when their trips are merely tedious. Long waits, armed guards, and increased security are making business travel more challenging than ever. What can you do to cope with the changes? These tips will help:

– Arrive early. You’ve heard that repeatedly, and it’s true. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to sail through security, you’ll end up waiting at the gate, but that’s better than missing your flight because of a delay at a checkpoint. The standard is two hours prior to the departure of a domestic flight and three hours for international flights–more if you’re traveling with infants, small children or persons with disabilities, and less if you’re departing from a smaller airport or at a time when the airport isn’t busy.

– Avoid the busy times. Typically, early Monday and late Friday flights are the fullest, and that means long lines at security checkpoints. If possible, travel during the middle of the week. If you must travel on Mondays or Fridays, choose flights scheduled for a mid-day departure.

– Carry cash. Keep at least $25 in small bills handy, so you’ll have cash for tips, cab fare or a cup of coffee or snack without having to use a credit card.

– Follow instructions. You’ll move through the checkpoints faster if you politely and promptly obey all reasonable requests from police, airport security and airline personnel.

– Don’t leave your luggage unattended, even briefly. You may return to find that airport security has confiscated your bags.

– Avoid wearing excessive metal jewelry or accessories that might trigger the metal detector. Also, remember to remove your keys from your pockets before passing through the detector. Failure to clear the detector in two tries could make you subject to search.

– Double-check what you’ve packed. If you travel frequently and use the same luggage, review the contents before each trip. Don’t get caught with a forbidden item in your carry-on because you took that bag on a road trip last week and didn’t completely unpack it.

– Carry two forms of photo identification, with at least one that was issued by a state or federal agency. When booking your ticket, use the exact name on that ID. Keep your ID handy, either in a convenient pocket or even around your neck on an ID badge holder, so you can show it quickly and easily when asked.

– Travel light. If you can, use only carry-on luggage, so you don’t have to deal with checked bags should you be rerouted or your flight is canceled. Of course, check with the airline to determine its requirements for carry-on bags and don’t attempt to take more than is allowed.

– Pack with the assumption that your luggage will be hand-searched. Layer clothes neatly, even on the trip home when you might be inclined to simply wad up dirty garments. Use clear zip-lock bags and pouches for smaller items so they can be easily examined.

– Protect your electronic possessions. Inscribe your name on your laptop, cell phone, camera, and other electronics in case they are accidentally left at a security checkpoint. Place these types of items in a plastic bin before sending them through the x-ray machine. Be sure batteries are fresh so you can turn the item on if asked.

– Be prepared for flight cancellations. Though the airline will usually (but not always) try to help, it’s best if you know your options. Can you take a different route? Or a different airline? What about ground transportation? Use a travel agent who will work with you in such situations, and call him or her immediately if your flight is canceled. Be sure you have a 24-hour supply of toiletries, medications and other essentials in your carry-on luggage. And have a plan for alerting anyone at your destination who needs to know about the flight change.

– Wait productively. There’s no way to avoid waiting in airports, especially these days. But you can avoid wasting that time. Bring work with you. If that’s not possible, bring those professional journals you’re behind on to read. Keep a supply of note cards in your briefcase and write some personal notes to clients, colleagues or friends. Read a novel–a little escapism is a great stress-reducer. Strike up conversations with your fellow passengers, but keep the tone positive. This can be a great opportunity for networking, so don’t dwell on the negative aspects of the situation. Be sure to pass out business cards when appropriate. If you’re going to make calls on your cell phone, step away from the crowd so you don’t distract others with your half of a telephone conversation.

Tighter airport security measures may cost you time, but they have been implemented for the safety of everyone. A primary reason for delays at security checkpoints is people who ignore or try to circumvent the rules, or who become belligerent with security or airline personnel, so avoid being part of the problem. There’s not much you can do about the increase in time air travel requires, but being gracious, cheerful and cooperative will make the process smoother and more pleasant.

Travel Compression Socks – What They Are and Why You Need Them

Travel compression socks have served savvy travelers well over the last few decades. Their ability to decrease leg pain on international flights is legendary. There are varying strengths of compression, ranging from 10-50 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). In most countries you can buy any compression socks over the counter that is 20 mmHg and under; anything over this amount will require a prescription from your doctor.

A word to the wise: compression socks should not be used by diabetics, as they will greatly increase blood circulation in your legs and feet..

Travel compression socks real value is witnessed on long international flights, and once you begin using them, you’ll never go back. I recommend packing two or three pairs on your next trip: one for the flight there, another for any time spent at altitudes over 3000 meters, and a third for any strenuous activities that may cause soreness on your legs (e.g. hiking, biking or jogging).

If you purchased non-prescription strength travel compression socks, you can wear them all day; if you got them from your doctor, you should consult them regarding proper use. It is worth repeating that diabetics should not wear these socks.

Many travelers will also use compression socks when hiking, especially in high altitudes. It is safe to wear them throughout the day (if they are over the counter) and many people enjoy them even when they aren’t traveling.

Alright, enough about the health benefits, what about fashion? Don’t sweat it; compression socks range from knee-high to ankle. Heck, they even sell pantyhose style socks now!

Travel Nursing Series: Nursing in the UK

Why do people travel? Finding a definitive answer to that question is difficult, at best. Human nature has many needs and these needs vary from person to person. Perhaps plain wanderlust urges people see new places and have new experiences or the need to get away from everyday stress or pressures at home or work. Some may want to make a religious pilgrimage to a sacred site or find new adventures in the jungle or mountains. New careers may beckon as a cooking school lures you to enroll or the travel writing bug bites you. Whatever the reason, travel allows you to make a connection in another country, meet different people and experience different cultures. But most important, travel allows you to become a citizen of the world…..to make a connection with other members of the human race.

This desire to travel even leads some people to work overseas and has led to the establishment of several agencies that specialize in international travel nursing. One country that is a popular destination for American born travel nurses is the UK. Similar cultures and language make England, Scotland and Wales a desirable nursing post.

Most international nursing agencies have the experience to help the travel nurse through the registration process, including any licensing or training that is required. A travel nursing tour in the UK is typically on a 13 week rotation which mean that a nurse could experience four different settings in her travel country, if desired. Options to extend a 13 week tour are often available if a nurse wants to remain in the same location.

Above average pay rates and full medical benefits offered by the National Health Service are not the only financial incentives to entice the travel nurse. Subsidized housing is provided either close to the health care facility or close to safe public transport. Some agencies also offer 24 days of paid vacation annually, sick pay and continuing education. Travel stipends give travel nurses a little extra financial help to explore their new country. In addition, nursing uniforms are often provided by the hospital. Uniform scrubs have made their way overseas so it is likely that you will not have to wear the traditional black shoes and black stockings that have characterized nursing uniforms in the UK. You will have to provide your own nursing shoes or nursing clogs so check your hospital’s requirements with your agency

Adjusting to life in the UK is easier than ever. Once almost non-existent, large supermarkets are springing up in most areas which means that most of your favorite foods are available on the UK supermarket shelves. Still, there are some products that are simply not sold in the British Isles so you will want to verify if your favorite snack or lunch food is available. Otherwise, you may want to bring a stash of peanut butter or your favorite cracker with you.

Public transportation in the UK is clean, safe and very accessible. Travel in the cities or between cities is made easy by the reliable transit companies. Most areas of the UK can be accessed in less than 8 hours, making for easy weekend touring. Pack a variety of non-wrinkle clothing to layer for the ever changing weather. Evenings can be cool and as a friend of mine found out, wearing thermals for sleepwear was a necessity for all seasons except summer. If you have room in your suitcase, a lightweight but warm fleece blanket is a welcome addition as you can use it as an extra blanket, a leg warmer while reading on the couch or throw it over yourself on a train to a new destination.

With some good planning, being a travel nurse in the UK can be that new adventure that introduces you to a new culture and new people with relatively few difficulties associated with moving to a foreign country. Perhaps being a travel nurse is for you.

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