Fig and Cranberry Quinoa Porridge and Witty Travel Tips

I am always a little surprised when people show enthusiasm to my travels. Although I actually have not traveled much this year, in my lifetime, I’ve done quite a bit.

I’m no trying to brag about my extensive travels, but I have literally no family in the US! Hence from the age of three months, I’ve been jet setting all over the globe to visit family.

So given that I’ve seen such positive responses to all my “travel edition flashback fridays”, I thought I’d dispense some of my own unconventional travel tips:

Travel Tip #1: Lie!

Great news! You’re eligible for all sorts of discounts because you work for a Fortune 500 company. What???? You don’t work for a Fortune 500 company? How would rental agents know? Mention it before they ask, or if they offer a rate, respond with: “Geez, that’s a little higher than I paid last time I’m a regional director for Microsoft out here in [wherever] and I’m pretty sure we have a rate with you guys.”Once the discount is in the computer, it’s there to stay. Or if you want a bulkhead seat on your next flight, tell the gate agent that you’re prone to, err, deep-vein thrombosis and you have a doctor’s note or a note on doctor-like stationary to prove it. Or you can try to earn your sympathy because you’re *ahem* on your way to your best friend’s wedding and you’re worried about speaking at the rehearsal dinner. My point is, most reservation agents are not gonna go do background check so I see no harm in telling a white lie or two in order to get a discount. Its not like your under oath.

Travel Tip #2: Score an extra inch of legroom

You know that junk airlines cram into seatback pockets? Get rid of it. You don’t need magazines and promotional garbage. Chuck everything—except the barf bag—into the overhead bin and enjoy a free extra inch of legroom. 

Travel Tip #3: Granny Panties!

Ladies and gentlemen: Don’t wear thong underwear. (Not that I would know, but I hear it has to do with uncomfortable creeping. Aren’t the men’s styles called “banana hammocks”?)

Travel Tip #4: Take advantage of the VAT

VAT, or value-added tax, is a kind of national surcharge included in the price of goods sold in the European Union and many other foreign countries. Here’s how it works: When a traveler purchases, say, a Celine bag in Paris, the store provides (upon request) a VAT form. The traveler then takes the form to a VAT refund kiosk at the airport before he or she departs and either claims an immediate cash refund in the local currency or gets the form stamped and mails it in. The advantage to the latter is that the refund will be posted to your credit card account. How much money will you get back? Depending on the country and the amount of the purchase (the more you spend, the more you’ll save), you’ll be refunded 50 percent to 99.9 percent of the VAT. I guess this is why I also like shopping abroad….

Travel Tip #5: Split it up

This only works when your traveling with others. When you are flying somewhere and especially if you have a few stopovers, divide the clothes between different suitcases/backpacks/bags etc. If one persons luggage doesn’t arrive at the destination, they’ll still have clean clothes available. Airlines generally don’t compensate lost luggage for the first 24-48 hours so this will save you money if it happens to you. This once happened to my dad when we were doing our annual Belgium trip and luckily, he had some clothes in my suitcase.

Travel Tip #6: Just “roll” with it

I cant count hoe many bags I’ve packed, and somehow it seems that bags will hold more if the clothes are rolled rather than folded. If you roll in tissue paper, the clothes will also get less wrinkled. 

Travel Tip #7: Silence Chatty Passangers

For those who hate conversing with the total stranger in the next seat: Wear a button that says, “I’m not being rude, I’m deaf.”

Travel Tip #8: These boots were made for flying

Travel with comfy, easy slip on shoes or boots and ALWAYS wear them to the bathroom in the cabin! Wear shoes to the restroom. Bare feet and bad aim are an unpleasant combination.

Travel Tip #9: Practice patience, and be prepared to test it abundantly.


So do you have any unconventional tips to share?

True to form, here is a recipe that has nothing to do with travel! But given how cold it is in most parts of the US,  this would make for a great, warm, breakfast. (serves one hungry gal or two semi hungry people and 100 anorexics)

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbs coconut butter
  • 4-5 dried figs
  • 2 tbs dried
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Chop the figs. Melt the coconut butter in a pot until its completely liquid. Add in the dried fruit and mix it with the butter until fragrant and well coated. Then, dump in the coconut milk and let it simmer for about a minute to let it reduce a little bit. Finally, stir in the cooked quinoa and mix until the quinoa is well blended. This stores really well in the fridge and is actually very delicious cold as well!



18 thoughts on “Fig and Cranberry Quinoa Porridge and Witty Travel Tips

  1. I never thought to roll in tissue paper. That’s awesome tips…and a lot of work. Not sure I’d actually do it…but in an ideal world, I would.

    And the first one is genius…although, I’m horrible at lying. It would be written all over my face.

  2. I have a fear of flying, but have to do it each year for work. Years ago I told my dr about how bad my anxiety was about it and he prescribed some med. I can’t tell you how much anxiety meds have helped me…

    If booking your flight online and you don’t get the seat you want…get to the airport a little early and ask the person working the desk at your gate if you can change. Only once were they not able to do that for me. I like window up in the front.

    Bring a set of headphones or earbuds even if you don’t plan on using them. Plug them into your phone (on airplane mode of course) or seat as soon as you get settled in, preferably before your ‘seat partner’ gets there. If that person ends up being chatty, they won’t try to talk to you (most of the time anyway).

  3. Love this! I’m headed to Jamaica at the end of the month! I may see how many of these tips I can sneak in on my travels!
    And the quinoa porridge looks delicious…

  4. I haven’t flown that much, and I don’t have any plans to in the future either. But if I do, I’ll keep these in mind 🙂

    And please tell me that button doesn’t exist! That’s pretty funny!

  5. I’ve found that it totally pays to look semi nice on planes/in airports. I’d rather be in a skirt or a dress on planes (more comfortable than pants to me) and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been upgraded or gotten a free meal or drink just from smiling and not looking like a ragamuffin. Bonus.

    • Thats a great tip! I wear sweats or leggings, I’m just too worried if I wear a skirt that I’ll kill someone or be escorted off the plane. I do always try to look “put together”. But when I go to the grocery store, I look like a hobo.

  6. #7 kills me and I really hope you do #1. My only real tip is sorta practical – when you miss your flight/connection, instead of following the group over to the place where the airline is trying to reschedule you all, find an empty gate with the same airline. There will be an attendant there, and they are more than happy to help you 🙂

  7. Love it! Your tips rock!

    I always bring a huge thing of water on board with me. If anyone tries to contest my aisle seat, I make sure they get a look at it. You do not want me crawling over you 20 times to pee.

    Actually, water/beverage of choice is my best travel friend. I always feel like crap after I fly if I haven’t been drinking like a fish.

    Tip I learned…no matter how crappy your sinus infection may be, be very careful about slamming it with antibiotics. One of my classmates took some right before we left because cloggy sinuses suck on flights…but she had a reaction and came down with Stevens–Johnson syndrome…she had to be rushed to the hospital for 3 weeks because her skin melted off. No lie.

  8. Aw, I actually LIKE talking to the person next to me in planes. I had a really interesting conversation. But if I don’t like them, I just sleep.

    I also bring tons of nuts, because you don’t want a BIG meal on the plane…(unless you sit at the business section and get multi-course meals and plenty of room space)…because you get SO bloated and then you fart and stink up the whole plane and people hate you.

  9. Haha, I loved the lying bit. I’ve actually used that in various situations to get my way. My brother has a mental disability and we can get “fast passes” at amusement parks for free. My brother also hates rides, so I use the fast pass. It’s not like their going to ask me if I have a mental disability or not!

    That quinoa sounds so good. I’ve never had dried figs before, but I’ll have to try it!

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