eople often ask me what “must haves” grace my travel list. That depends on my destination.
Since my wardrobe barely changes — even if the seasons do — usually it’s just a question of adding a raincoat (the kind that folds up into a pouch) and boots. A black cashmere sweater can be dressed up with a silk scarf (you thought I was going to say diamond necklace, right?), and can be worn on the plane as an extra layer of warmth. Ditto for the black (washable) skirt doing double duty, and travel-size Tide packets go a long way.
An empty pillowcase is great to take on board. You find all the extra pillows (or ask for two more, plus that little postage-stamp size pillow you found on your seat), stuff them all into the case, and you can lean against the window and sink into comfort that smells like home.
Global Pass, Hong Kong Frequent Visitor, Nexxus, and any other expedited immigration passes are invaluable time savers. You just whiz by that interminable line, and if you travel like me — sans suitcase — you’re out of the airport in minutes.
I happen to have a precious travel tool, which is always accessible, and doesn’t even need WiFi. It’s called “Daddy.” I can call my father, sheyichyeh, from anywhere in the world, and he’ll tell me whatever I need to know.
Daddy, if I left New York two hours ago and I’m heading to Dublin, when can I count Sefirah?
Daddy, the man next to me wants to know if we’re landing in Zurich at 6:30 a.m., and he has four hours in transit, where can he daven and how long will it take him to get there?
Daddy, how long do I have to have slept to wash negel vasser and say birchos hashachar? (I actually learned to travel with a hard plastic cup inside my purse, thanks to my father.)
There’s no app and no replacement for an always-available father who is also a rav and a travel guru. I was lucky enough to have a smart dad before a smartphone.
Note: There is actually an app called KosherNearMe that will tell you where kosher food is available within a certain radius. There’s also the minyan app, which isn’t on my phone for obvious reasons.
On one of my travels, I was staying in a six-star hotel. That’s actually as addictive as flying business/first, and I try never to get used to that level of luxury. But this was a treat from one of my children, who claimed he had points that were expiring imminently, and I’d be doing him a favor by using them. As a good Jewish mother, how could I refuse?
Which is why I spent one trip lounging by the rooftop infinity pool, using Hermes toiletries in the airport washroom, and lying on Frette linen. Really, lying on Frette linen, eating fresh fruit. Because when I entered my room, there was a beautifully wrapped fruit basket with a note attached: “As we see from your profile that you are a kosher consumer, please accept this basket in lieu of chocolates with our compliments.” It even came along with plastic cutlery. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 595)
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