When you are a frequent traveler, you begin to notice little oddities about airports, airplanes, rental cars, hotel rooms, and restaurants. Some of them can be explained away but others are just as mysterious to us today as the day we noticed them.
What follows are some general questions from us frequent travelers about some of these oddities we’ve found while on the road.
Do most travelers take baths? Every time we step into the shower at a hotel, the drain is closed. You’d think that after years of travel, we’d learn to check before we turn on the shower but inevitably the tub fills up with three inches of water before we remember to open the drain. The only explanation we can come up with for this phenomenon is that there is some kind of housekeeping guideline that when the tub is cleaned, the drain is closed to signify the cleanliness. It’s either that or that most travelers take baths, which we just can’t quite believe.
Why is only the toothpaste free? We’ve all forgotten some necessary item when we travel before. Sometimes it’s no big deal because you are supplied the missing item (for instance, lotion) in your hotel room for free. Other items can be obtained at the front desk for free as well. Most hotels will gladly supply you with toothpaste at no cost if you ask. However, what if you forget a bigger item such as deodorant? Some hotel shops have deodorant, razors, shaving cream and other necessities for sale. But why is only the toothpaste free? We understand that if we need more shampoo or soap, it will be supplied for free but those items are found in the hotel room, to begin with. Perhaps toothpaste could be provided in-room to avoid the confusion.
Why do laptops have to be taken out of bags but not iPads at airport security? We’ve just begun traveling with just our iPads and leaving the laptops at home. Interestingly, you are not required to take your iPad out of its bag and place it in a separate scanning bin like you have to with a laptop. Why? It can’t be the size because in some cases they are similar. It can’t be the keyboards because we brought wireless ones with us to use with our iPads. Are iPads (or tablets in general) somehow less dangerous than laptops? What is the danger anyway?
Do you dare to drink that in-room coffee? Typically there are three concerns to have about the coffee service you find in most hotels these days. First off, how long has the actual coffee sat in your room? In other words is it anywhere near “fresh?” Next, how clean is the coffee maker they provide? Some hotel families like Hilton now provide single cup machines with many of the sanitary parts being disposable. So while that’s a help, how about the reservoir where the water gets poured? When is the last time someone ran vinegar through the machine to really clean it out? And what about those fancy porcelain cups they provide to drink the java out of? Are you really sure those have been in a dishwasher since the last guest visited? All of a sudden the paper or styrofoam cup seems like a better option, right?
Is that rental car e-toll device worth it? If you are a frequent traveler than in a word the answer is NO! And if you aren’t a frequent traveler, use the cash lanes. The day charges on the e-toll devices are obscene for the amount of time they typically save you. The other thing to remember is that as you park your car at the airport, grab your e-toll device since almost all the toll collecting authorities reciprocate. For example, that means an Illinois I-Pass works just fine on the New Hampshire toll road. If you’re a seasoned road warrior, you may even want to carry an extra e-toll device in your bag so you don’t need to remember to grab the one from your personal vehicle.