Travel Tidbits

10 favorite suggestions to turn our flights into a breeze

By Bryan Herb, Zoomvacations

Long a fan of Adelante magazine, I was thrilled when they asked me to share my advice and tips regarding my biggest passion in life, travel.  This monthly column will be a blend of general travel tips, as well as destination specific information and ideas. 

As Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of award winning luxury LGBTQ tour company, Zoom Vacations, I have been fortunate to have experiences and gain expertise in destinations all over the world. 

Before getting into the travel industry, I was a high school English teacher for Teach For America. I have also been a personal trainer, model, contributor to a number of print and online publications, travel expert and host for a few TV shows, and a hotel marketing and events sales manager. Oh, and in my spare time I flip houses. 

Growing up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, known today as Oregon’s premier wine country, my childhood was filled with outdoor adventures. My roots in the outdoors, coupled with an overactive and  inquisitive teacher’s mind and an appreciation for health and fitness (as well as for fabulous hotels and resorts) have led me to adventures in every continent but Antarctica.  I have toured the ancient catacombs of Rome, swam with horses where Australia’s rainforest meets the reef, haggled with Hong Kong merchants, danced the Samba in Brazil, and studied ecology and group dynamics in a Scottish commune. In addition to my duties at Zoom Vacations, I also served on the Board of Directors of the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) for four years, and as Board Chair for two. I was one of nine travel experts featured on the Travel Chanel’s hit show, “Vacation Challenge,” was the South America Gay Travel Expert for several episodes on Logo’s Gay Travel show, Bump, hosted gay travel shorts for Comcast, and have been an on-air travel expert for Chicago’s morning show, “The Jam.”

Now, I have just embarked on my 17th year of owning Zoom Vacations.  Zoom has received awards and accolades, and while this certainly is a source of pride, the best thing about having this company is the fellow travelers I have met along the way. Many of my travelers have become some of my best friends in the world.  I have realized that while I absolutely love experiencing new things, staying in great hotels, and learning about different cultures, what is the most impactful and rewarding, is not only the local people I have met in each destination, But also the wonderful Zoom Vacations travelers who have joined me on these adventures.  We have shared together and taught each other so much, and I hope to bring to this monthly article these same kind of conversations and insights on what’s hot in the travel world, especially as it relates to the LGBT traveler. 

For this first article, I want to talk about something that is a topic of constant conversation for me and my travelers: airline travel. 

Although it doesn’t happen very often, every once in a while someone will tell me that they don’t want to go to a destination like India or South Africa because “it is just too far.”  In those moments, I generally start backing away slowly with I am sure a bewildered look on my face, because the idea of not going somewhere because it is “too far” is to me, well, crazy.  I can’t imagine not wanting to see the Taj Mahal, or go on an African safari, or tour Angkor Wat, but I digress.  I have come to realize that many people aren’t doing the simple things one can do to turn our flights into a breeze.  Below are my 10 favorite suggestions todo just that.

  1. Bring an e-tablet to watch your favorite “guilty pleasure” shows.  Even if your aircraft has a good entertainment system, you are at the mercy of watching whatever they have selected for you.  Having your own device allows you to watch programming that you may love, but don’t have the time to watch back home.  Plus, this can really help you out if you have any other travel delays.
  2. If you have a laptop and plan on working or watching movies during a long flight, pack an auto/air adapter plug. This can be plugged directly into the airplane’s in-seat power receptacle, and will power your laptop for as long as you need it, since some older planes do not have plugins 
  3. Buy a noise-canceling headset. Not only do they help keep things quiet, allowing you to relax, but they also enhance your video and audio experience. Especially if you spend a lot of time on the plane, these are a great investment.
  4. Bring your own pillow or special travel pillow. The pillows provided on planes are small and really not very comfortable. Your neck will thank you. 
  5. Pack protein bars and other snacks. Getting hungry is one of the easiest ways to add stress to your travels.
  6. Always, always have something enjoyable to read.
  7. If you are not sleeping, of course, try to get up every two hours to stretch your legs.
  8. Wear travel compression socks, which provide graduated compression from your knees to your ankles, increasing circulation naturally.  This encourages blood to flow back to your heart, instead of staying in your legs and feet. 
  9. Pack a shirt in your carry-on to change into.  After you have been on a plane for 12 hours, you will love the feeling of putting on a fresh clean shirt!
  10. If you get cold easily, bring a light sweater to help yourself stay comfortable.

Arm yourself with these suggestions and a little planning, and turn your next flight into a dream.

Bryan Herb is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of award winning luxury LGBTQ tour company, Zoom Vacations. www.zoomvacations.com