Well-Mannered Traveler

How to stay out of jail at the airport

Given how stressed we all get over air travel these days, it’s easier than ever for even the most well-mannered traveler to do or say something that gets them in hot water at the airport. But sometimes a mishap or a meltdown can boil over into a potential or actual federal offense.

So it’s a good idea to know where the lines are drawn.

Read about how to stay out of the airport pokey – and how I almost landed there after coming this close to causing an evacuation of Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) – in my Well Mannered Traveler column posted today on MSNBC.com.

(Column illustration by Duane Hoffman, MSNBC.com)

My Miserable Summer

Well, gang, we’ve made it to the mid-point of the summer travel season. For folks who’ve had to scale back or cancel summer plans due to rising gas prices, airline fare hikes, or the deeply dipping dollar, it’s already a miserable summer.

I’ve been there and it stinks. Rising gas prices, and comments such as “Let’s check your temperature, Missy,” have put my planned road trip to the nation’s airports on hold.

But for you glass-half-full folks eyeing the August calendar and still holding out hope for some sort of summer vacation, there’s still time to have fun. You may just need to be more flexible and a bit more creative than usual.

So get out that “souvenir” pen you took home from that last hotel stay. In my Well-Mannered Traveler column today on MSNBC.com – part of the “My Miserable Summer” series – there are some tips for salvaging a summer vacation.

(Column illustration by the very talented Duane Hoffman. Thanks!)

Spitting, slurping, and other tips for traveling to Beijing

Unless the International Olympic Committee acts fast and makes heaving overweight carry-on bags into overhead airplane bins an official Olympic sport, my chances of visiting Beijing this summer are nil.

But if committee members do finally come to their senses, I’m ready to go. I’ve been practicing my technique on plane trips with multiple connections. And I’ve been prepping for free time in Beijing by gathering advice on how to be a well-mannered traveler in China.

Find out what I learned about spitting, squat toilets, staying safe, and slurping soup in China in this week’s Well Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com.

(Column illustration by the very talented Duane Hoffmann / msnbc.com)

Cars, couriers, and fast cross-country plane rides

Flying anywhere this holiday weekend? I volunteered to serve as a courier and will be heading to the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to pick up Joplin, a retired service dog being adopted by a friend.

While I’m there, I may have just enough time on the ground to do a little shopping for maple products and local handicrafts in the airport shops.

In the meantime, I bet lots of folks will be spending this weekend complaining about the high price of gas. And I bet on Monday, like the people I talked to for this week’s Well Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com, some of them are going to do something about it.

Column illustration by MSNBC.com’s Duane Hoffman