Tag Archives: trains

Time for a knap

I spent most of last week on ‘planes, trains and automobiles.’ Unlike Steve Martin and John Candy in the iconic film of the same name, I suffered only minor delays in my journeys, but was constantly annoyed by one group of travelers —


backpack in airport

Backpackers clog the aisles of both airplanes and trains and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, appear to have no idea of the additional girth their over-the-shoulder luggage adds to their body. They careen down the center aisle, bumping people on either side (and behind when they need to back up).

Apparently the backpack cushions their body from all collisions too, because they never seem to notice or feel the need to apologize.

So, if any backpackers are reading this, take note the next time you travel. You leave behind a wake of bruised body parts and bad attitudes…

And they all have your name on ’em.

Please. Stand. Still.

I spent a lot of my childhood motion sick.  Cars, boats, planes, you name it — we just didn’t get along.

But what if the very floor could give you vertigo?

Don’t laugh.  It’s happening.

Researchers in Jersey City, New Jersey have found that high contrast black-and-white carpeting is making people sick.

We’re talking headaches.  Visual distress.  Even seizures in epileptics.

Man…that boat trip is sounding better all the time.

They aren’t exactly sure why a high contrast repeating pattern can give the illusion of motion and make viewers sick.  But based on their findings, researchers do recommend that you give carpet more than a quick glance before you make any purchase for your home.

Your home?  I think this information is even more important for all the planes, trains, and automobiles out there.

Talk about a double whammy!


I took Amtrak yesterday to a business meeting outside Philly.

Why do trains kick air travel’s butt so soundly?

Of course there are the simple logistics.  No TSA security. No baggage check for most standard luggage. No plastic bag for toiletries, no removing coats and shoes, no arriving an hour before departure.

No hassle.

But I realized last night — as I sat in a comfortable semi-coma on a regional coach headed home — what makes trains more than merely the easier way to travel.

It’s the chugga chugga.

Trains literally rock you while you ride.  That signature motion soothes the nervous traveler and helps the overtired find sleep.

I think it takes us all the way back to the cradle.  Or, in my particular case, to the clothes dryer.  My mother used to sit my bouncer chair on top of the dryer to help me fall asleep.  The rocking motion and the warmth from the machine totally knocked me out.  (Still does.)

Now, people may not ride the train because of it, and Amtrak certainly doesn’t advertise it, but I think this subliminal motion really rocks.


Well, the only motion they have to offer is turbulence.

Travel tips

Have you spent the morning after the 4th perusing your friends’ vacation snaps online?

I know I have.

I stayed in Manhattan this year, but many folks left the city to find their bliss.  The question is: how did they decide whether to drive or fly?

I found a nifty calculator on BeFrugal.com that helps you compare the cost and time of both modes of transportation, so you can make the best choice for every trip.

Just enter your starting and ending destinations, the length of your stay, even the estimated price of hotels along the way if you were to drive.  The calculator will show you the relative cost of the trip by car and plane in dollars and hours.

It even tells you the carbon footprint for each — my, they’ve thought of everything!

Well…not everything.

Which is why I would like to propose my own travel calculator….which I believe simplifies things quite a bit.  You only have to answer two questions.

  1. Who is paying for the trip?  If the answer is “me,” proceed to TRAIN  or BUS.  If the answer is “someone else,” proceed to PLANE.
  2. How long will it take to drive?  IF the answer is under 2 hours, proceed to TRAIN.  If the answer is more than 2 hours, proceed to PLANE.

I hope this has been helpful.