Travel, transportation, and Technology
Travel , Transportation,Technology..
As a corporate flight attendant, I find myself in foreign cities and countries on a normal basis. Sometimes it is destinations I have been a million times and I begin to know the layout of the land like it’s home. However, the first time I arrive some place New, it always becomes an adventure and can be both fun and frustrating at the same time…
When I arrive in a new city, the first thing I do is inquire about all the modes of public transportation available, ( ususally with my hotel concierge ). I also grab a map of the city ). since iam often running around to a multitude of catering locations, i try and make this as stress free as possible.
First, I take advantage of technology. There are now iPhone and other smart phone apps like , “hopstop”that help you navigate the nyc subway system, “google maps”,( that works just about everywhere)’ and “yelp” to help you locate the best choices and closest locations for restaurants, stores, gas and much more. And When i dont have time to seek out my own catering, I use a ” vip catering” app on my phone to locate a caterer worldwide! There are also phone apps or portable translators to help in non english speaking countries.
For transportation on my trips, I utilize the following.
In the states, I use everything: taxis, rental cars, car services, my two feet, trains, etc Cities like NYC, make it easy to get around. If you get tired of walking, a subway or cab can take you anywhere at any time. In Places like Midland Texas, a rental care is my first choice. While in Europe, I dare not drive ( due to the left side of the road thing, And my past experience of fluke accidents), so I use all public transport methods.. For example, London has the wonderful “tube”. If you have never used this because you think it is too complicated, rest assured it is even easier than the subway system in NYC. ( this coming from someone that can get lost very easily). It’s also cheap and safe. Which are two important attributes when running around aimlessly for days on end.. In Paris, I tend to use cabs or even a bike. And of course walk.. Since the city is so convienant to navigate around and so pretty ! By the way, This is the origin of my title “cobblestomes and heels” 😉
There are some places like Hawaii or the carribean islands that rent out scooters, gulf carts, and bikes too.. These are fun and make transportation easy.
On the job, There are times when a simple catering task can become one big adventure.
For instance, I was once in a foreign, non- English speaking city, with a catering list a mile long. In short, I got lost about 4 times, lost my train ticket, could not find a cab, and my cell phone died. In addition, Somehow I ended up having lunch with a random stranger… Yes, all in one afternoon.. The ” stranger” ended up being my guardian angel for the day. Besides treating me to lunch, He helped me finish my catering, get back to my hotel safely, and well, became a pen pal and resource for future trips to this city!
When is it the most frustrating? like the example above, In places where English speaking people and signs, are few and are between ( and there is not helpful stranger). This is where your portable translator comes in handy. Places like Germany or Japan, have been most challenging for me- especially while locating stores and specific restaurant locations where i need to gather work related items from. In this instance, I use all my resources. I may even “skpe” a friend who has knowledge of my whereabouts, for added assistance.
At times when my frustration level is too high or my energy level is is too low, I splurge on a car service with an English speaking driver…
Finally, I will have to say, my favorite place to get lost is Italy. Besides the fact that i love the food and culture, I find Italian people, especially the men, to be extremely helpful and chivalrous. When asking for directions to my specific catering destinations, I have been offered full escort service to ensure my success! Also, while waiting for my food preparation, everyone seems to offer me a complementary glass of vino and sample tasting of various menu items. Oh, and I certainly don’t mind the free cannolis and other goodies I come across when wondering into the wrong locations along my catering expeditions. Now some may say being a female and a tall blond may be the reason for this helpfulness. But What ever the reason may be, I welcome the assistance …
If you would like additional tips on transportation and other travel related resources, please do not hesitate to ask me !