The rail thing
Fly, fly, fly! Drive, drive, drive! That's all anybody ever talks about. Personally, I prefer the good old-fashioned train. As gasoline prices go nuts and our roadways and skyways get messier, the good old train is getting more and more attractive.
As a little boy, I was fascinated by trains and as a father now, I enjoy that same fascination mirrored in my children's eyes. As a family, we can all kick back in huge, comfy seats that are bigger than most first class airplane seats; relax while someone else does the driving on roads that are straight and smooth; enjoy some of North America's best food in the dining cars; chat idly with the conductor and other staffers (who always have good stories to tell); or simply watch the most beautiful landscape in the world go whizzing by.
I just did a quick check on Canada's Via Rail and America's Amtrak: plenty of seats available, but not for long now that the secret's out.
Oh, by the way, I don't work for the train companies. I'm just a lowly old English professor at First Nations University.
— Xi-Ying Wei, Mount Shasta, Calif.
Drive late, fly early
I have two tips. hey aren't a 100 percent guarantee of more peaceful travels, but I have found them to give myself a much better chance of making it to my destination without elevating my blood pressure along the way.
1. When driving, in particular on the I-95 corridor in the East and the I-5 corridor in the West, drive at night. Leave about 8 or 9 p.m. (well after rush hour), get your favorite hot, caffeinated beverage and your favorite music or other listening pleasure and set off on a night of peaceful driving. You will be glad you drove at night instead of during the day with all the crowds.
2. When flying, always pick the first flight of the day and still get to the airport two hours ahead of departure. Your chances of an on-time departure are much greater and you will make it through security without being stressed out in a long line wondering if you are going to make your flight or not. My wife and I are flying tomorrow at 6:30 a.m., and I scheduled the cab to the airport for 4 a.m. I may still get in a line at the airport, but it is bound to be better than what will follow a few hours after that.
— Jason Kurth, Philadelphia
Always carry a change of clothes
I learned on a trip to Egypt that you should ALWAYS carry a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. My luggage did not make the transfer from a United flight to my Egypt Air international flight! I was without my luggage for a week, and in Egypt that's bad because there aren't many clothing stores that a Westerner would shop in!
— Tamela Hyatt, Glendale, Ariz.
Keep your family close
Work on keeping your family together. ... It's been my belief that family is far more important than greenbacks. I am a third generation, lifelong resident of Kern County Calif., and my children are carrying on the belief in family closeness. It may sound dull to some, but when I leave my home for business or vacation for longer than a couple of weeks, I begin feeling an urge to get back, and when I do get home is the best feeling I've ever experienced. So the way I've avoided transportation problems in my 49 years of living is to plan trips in advance, avoid major holiday travel and keep my family close.
— Nicolas Gonzales, Bakersfield, Calif.
Relax! U.S. traffic not so bad after all
You think America's traffic is bad, try driving the crazy streets and highways in Brazil! We Americans are just plain spoiled and don't know just how good we have it. Life goes by so fast, we just need to take our time and relax a little. Tomorrow will come if we're in it or not. Try patience and following the rules, show respect for one another and stop driving in the emergency lanes! And for law enforcement, put up cameras at main problem areas and give out stiff tickets for violators.
— John Hunter, Fortaleza, Brazil