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Dear Reader,

This month’s National Geographic Traveler Magazine includes an article with tips for making the most out of coach class seats. Some of the advice is sound —

*** Get a seat toward the front. Not only are you served first when it comes time for drinks and food, but there’s less airplane noise toward the front, so you’ll have a quieter ride.

*** Drink lots of water so you stay hydrated.

*** Stretch and walk every two hours to stimulate circulation and prevent blood clots.

*** Avoid the chicken and pasta on long flights. Dinner service can take up valuable sleep time. What’s more, it’s often heavy and can make you gassy. (If you are going to eat, bring along CharcoCaps, the article advises.)

*** Keep a small bag of essentials at your feet, a bag you can easily pull out of your carry-on before you store it in the overhead bin. (In it, pack an eye mask, inflatable neck pillow, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and gum, as well as your favorite distractions — a book, DVD player, Sudoku, sketch pad, office work, prayer beads. Plus you may want to toss in lip balm, saline nasal spray, and (for women) a pashmina.)

Now, while I think having a few essentials at your feet is a good idea, I had to ask as I read that contents list: “How big a bag must your carry-on be if your ‘small bag’ contains everything that writer recommends?”

I agree that an inflatable neck pillow is worth bringing — you can find one by searching at Google.com.

I also pack a pillow case and an old contact lens case filled with Vaseline and tea tree oil (see our archives to find out why:

http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/?p=163

http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/?p=180)

But I’d say: skip the eye mask and the earplugs. On a long flight, the airline will issue you both.

And I’d have to take issue with the no-eating rule: I know on an eight- or 10-hour flight, I certainly appreciate the meal service. I get hungry, for one. But it’s also a distraction. (And if you’re seated in the front, you’ll be served first and can get to sleep faster, anyway.)

OUR 300th ISSUE OF THE RIGHT WAY TO TRAVEL

In just over a month, we’ll be publishing our 300th issue of The Right Way to Travel. To celebrate, I’d like to include as many success stories from you and your fellow readers as possible.

If you’ve got a success story to share — an article published, a photo sold, or an import/export goal reached — and you’d like to be included in our round-up of stories, drop me a line here: lori@thetravelwriterslife.com.

Be sure to include your full name, email address, city, and state (in case I need to reach you — I won’t publish that information).

Thanks!

And don’t forget to scroll down to this week’s writing prompt and a few notes from our readers…

— Lori
Lori Appling
Director, Great Escape Publishing

P.S. IMPORTANT PASSPORT NOTE – Reader, Betty Page-Siler, wrote to say: “I just read an article on MSN that passport applications are running over 1 million per month since the new requirements came into effect in January. Thought you might want to remind anyone who needs a new or renewed passport to give themselves plenty of time and stay on top of it. With the volume of applications they are having trouble with lost or misplaced ones.”

PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK:

Last Sunday’s New York Times travel section featured an article titled: “36 Hours in Nairobi, Kenya” and United Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, runs a “Three Perfect Days” article in each issue…

Three days in a place — what to do and see, where to eat and stay. This is an easy approach to take when you’re writing about your hometown or an interesting location near you.

All you need is a short paragraph or two of introduction and then you can get right into a day-by-day plan for spending 36 hours there.

Just remember, you’ll want to inject into those first paragraphs some flavor of the place you’re writing about as well as your “big idea.” In other words, make sure you lay out for the reader your “position” about this destination.

Here’s the intro from the New York Times piece, which does both things well:

NAIROBI has always been a place in between. It started out as a pit stop on the Kampala-Mombasa railway, and today many tourists look at it the same way: a place to stop for the night, resupply and then leave at first light for a safari or jaunt to the beach. But the city, Kenya’s capital, is emerging as a destination in itself. It has great restaurants, endless shopping, classy colonial-era hotels and plenty of wildlife within the city limits. You can play with baby elephants and hang out with giraffes and then dine on all the ostrich and crocodile you can eat. It’s a thoroughly African city with a whiff of the old English era. True, Nairobi gets a bad rap for crime, but if you avoid cruising around late at night and keep a careful eye on your stuff, you shouldn’t have any problems. Many first-time visitors say they are surprised by how comfortable they feel in the city.

Your introduction complete, make sure your suggestions for days 1, 2, and 3 reflect the stance you take early on.

Here in this Nairobi piece, for instance, the writer lays out an itinerary that includes drinks at the Lord Delamere Terrace and Bar (there’s the Colonial flavor teased in the opening paragraph) and a visit to the Nairobi Safari Walk (there’s the wildlife within the city limits).

You can read the complete article here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/travel/18hours.1.html

READER FEEDBACK:

CONGRATULATIONS SHANNON CHAPEL
“I wrote a short (450 word) filler piece complete with photos that was accepted for publication in Northwest Travel Magazine’s “Worth a Stop” section. The piece is titled, “Hidden Treasure in the Gem State” — Shannon Chapel

CONGRATULATIONS TAMARA COBBIN
“As soon as your e-letter arrived in my inbox I wrote your featured publication and was accepted. I will forward to you my email to them and their response. Thanks for the tip.” – Tamara E. Cobbin

CONGRATULATIONS JEO OIESEN
“Lori, you asked once if you could mention me in your newsletter since I sold my final assignment in The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program before I even got my critique back (along with two pictures and made enough pay for your program)! I have since had numerous tennis articles published (I’m a manager of a tennis resort) and have written the narrative for our website. Unfortunately, my job keeps me so busy my writing has been reduced to a hobby but I take wonderful vacations each year and I have several possible articles rattling around in my brain from the 3 weeks I just spent on St John, USVI. I continue to praise your program and a friend teaching a course in a college in Dallas just used me, my articles, and my experience with your program in a class last week. Blessings on you and your staff.” — Jeo Oiesen

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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