Just had my first

run in with a  back scatter machine.  Now TSA officially has pictures of my “junk”.  I have to say the process was relatively painless.  It seems less invasive than the puffing machines that test you for chemicals.  At least I didn’t have to “hold down my shirt” this time.  Still, I can’t say that I’m comfortable with the idea of the picture they’re seeing on the other end.

TSA body scanners – My take

The media has been rife with stories of people who’ve refused the backscatter image scans and been basically accosted by TSA during their pat downs.  This week several civil liberties groups have called for a mass boycott of the machines on the day before Thanksgiving.  Over the weekend the head of TSA took to the airwaves and basically said that a body scan boycott would be a mistake.  Americans need to submit so they can be secure.

The thing I find so specious about TSA’s arguments is that they claim they are trying to prevent another underwear bomber.  Last year’s attack was actually thwarted by other passengers on the plane and a faulty detonator, not TSA.  In fact, the current threat TSA is tracking involves printer cartridges which none of us carry on our bodies.  So TSA, how about you spend your time and my tax dollars scanning cargo and not the American traveling public?

Don’t let the bed bugs bite…

into your travel plans.  ABCNews.com posted an article today indicating that tourists in fear of the hearty little critters are starting to cancel vacation plans to New York City to avoid bring home tiny hitchhikers.  Now I have to admit that while the idea of bedbugs gives me the willies, I spent 9 months on the road traveling from hotel to hotel and never saw a bed bug.  Nary a one.  But the hysteria persists.  Daytime talk shows do segments about it, websites track sightings and Apple has even launched an app for it.  Seriously, it’s bed bug mania.  What can you do?  Well there are some precautions you can take.  First don’t put your suitcase down on the bed or the carpet.  Put it down in the bathroom where you can spot the bugs easily against the tile surface.  Also don’t unpack.  Keep your packed suitcase elevated on the stand provided by your hotel.  Finally, check the bed.  Unmake it and pay particular attention to the seams around the mattress, that’s where bed bugs feel most comfortable.  Still freaking out?  When you get home, quarantine your suitcase in the garage for a few days.  Then be sure wash all of your clothing in hot water, and vacuum out your suitcase before storing it.  If all that doesn’t help it’s time to call your pest company…and maybe a shrink.

Moving day

Today is the last official day of my 1 year road trip. While I didn’t quite make it to 365 days I got close, and I had an amazing time out in the world. I am now at home on the East Coast, so stay tuned for posts from my new stomping grounds.

Merger madness

Another airline merger is coming our way.  Southwest announced yesterday that it is taking over AirTran.  While pundits are saying that this shouldn’t inflate fares, I find that I don’t agree.  In 2008 Delta merged with Northwest.  Earlier this year United and Continental merged.  Now with Southwest’s take over of AirTrans we’ve seen 3 airlines disappear before our eyes.  Add to that the airlines that have outright failed, curtailed their routes or eliminated seats and you’ve got a serious issue.  With more people chasing fewer seats, prices are bound to go up.  Travel experts have already identified fare increases of 15 – 30% this Fall.  Even accounting for the fact that airfares in 2009 were unusually low that’s still a significant increase.  Are you planning to travel this holiday season?  Well you’d better plan ahead and account for those “peak” travel days or you’ll pay.  My advice to everyone?  If you’re flying this Fall, use your frequent flier miles.  They are the first thing to go in a merger, so save your money and fly free.