While I like to book my big adventure trips as an escape from the winter cold, in the summer I often take small trips to beaches just a short flight from the East Coast. Looking at flights for a June trip to Puerto Rico, I was reminded of lessons learned from past short flights that turned into tests of endurance:
1. Always have a clean pair of underwear in your carry-on for the return flight. Returning from Bermuda one summer, my 4pm connection from Philadelphia to DC should have taken 45 minutes. But it took 14 hours, with an overnight in Norfolk, VA. We couldn't land in DC due to thunderstorms, so we circled until landing in Norfolk to refuel. We were cleared to leave at midnight, but then a mechanical issue grounded the plane and we were sent to a hotel. I flew out the next morning at 6am. Having a shower and clean pair of underwear kept me sane, especially after what I went through with lesson #2…….
2. Don't assume it will be a short flight when striking up a conversation. On this same flight from Philly, a cute guy sat next to me. I usually stick to reading while flying, but I decided to flirt a bit, since it would only be a 45 minute flight. He started to talk about religion, and was pretty loud and extreme in his views. It quickly got uncomfortable, but again I thought I could handle it for 45 minutes. 8 hours later, I could not get off that grounded plane fast enough.
3. Keep extra cash for a taxi. Summer storms delayed my flight home on another trip. My 8pm arrival turned into 2am. I was expecting a friend to pick me up, but since it was so late, I told her I'd catch a cab. DC taxicabs are supposed to take credit cards, but my cab driver said cash only. Since I had the cash, I decided not to argue. But I considered myself lucky, since I often come home with an empty wallet. I was also lucky because….
4. When your flight arrives really late, pretend like you're on The Amazing Race. I always have to use the restroom after getting off the plane. But on the flight above, knowing that we were due to land at 2am, I took care of my business before landing. When the plane landed, I grabbed my carry-on and made a mad dash for the taxi stand. I suspected there would not be many taxis available at 2am. Sure enough, there were only 5 taxis left. A trip to the restroom could have cost me an hour wait.
5. Don't book summer beach trips when East Coast thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes always disrupt flights. I should have learned this a long time ago…..is something I told myself as I booked my flight for Puerto Rico. And yet, here I go again!