For women going places

Thanks - Gratitude is the best attitude


I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

-G.K. Chesterton

With thankfulness on our mind, here are things we intend to be thankful for while traveling this weekend.

For food and shelter

For friends and family

For having somewhere to go and the means to get there.

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.

-John E. Southerd

Happy Thanksgiving from Woman Road Warrior!

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Zen and the Art of Being a Woman Road Warrior


Real Road Warriors are undaunted by crowds.

Real Road Warriors relax at the prospect of challenging travels.

Real Road Warriors keep things in perspective.

Real Road Warriors have something to read, something to eat and a Plan B

Real Road Warriors do security with minimum fuss, maximum style

Real Women Road Warriors smile in the face of adversity, in the face of gate attendants and at their fellow travelers.

Road Reporter Deborah Harter Williams

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TSA Horror Stories


As I’ve said before, I’m all in favor of airport security measures, whether it’s a pat-down or full-body image scan. We need both to protect ourselves and our loved ones when we travel.

WHAT I don’t like is the TSA treatment I’m hearing about from friends and colleagues. It sounds as though communication is lacking and customer service training has been skipped or ignored.

Here’s a horror story I heard about:

A female colleague flew out of LAX last week. She did not set off the metal detector, but received an enhanced pat-down. Once she returned to her items on the security conveyor belt, another TSA agent, referring to her briefcase, asked her “Is there a computer in here or a bomb?” My colleague was stunned by the question and immediately, as most people would, wanted to look at her briefcase. She grabbed for it and the TSA agent slapped her hand away. Her briefcase was then emptied and everything was put through the x-ray machine not once, but twice. She says she was then forced to go through another pat-down. Obviously this sounds like it’s bordering on harassment.

If you’ve had an experience like this, please tell me your story. I want to share your experiences with the TSA and talk with them about improving their customer service. I can’t do that without your help.

See you on the road,

Kathy Ameche


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Thanksgiving 7-Day Travel Checklist


Day 7
  • Ship packages - Check new TSA rules as to what is and isn't acceptable in carry-on (food)
  • Determine pet strategy (Make phone calls if necessary)
  • Arrange transportation (1 week in advance for air travel, last opportunity for savings)
  • Car rental - Look at off-site locations if airports are booked. Saves money - no airport taxes and most car rental places allow you to return at the airport with no additional charge.
Day 6
  • Take clothes to dry cleaners
  • Purchase all remaining gifts (Don't wrap if going by air)
  • Do you need to suspend mail service?
  • Suspend newspaper service, if necessary
Day 5
  • If bringing desserts, make shopping list
  • Sign-up for in destination city
  • Start monitoring weather in home and destination cities
Day 4
  • Determine how you're getting to your home city airport
  • Arrange transportation if necessary
  • Pick-up dry cleaning
Day 3
  • Enter airline, hotel, travel agent, travel site customer service and car rental numbers into speed dial
  • If you made flight arrangements months in advance, verify flight times and I.D.'s match names given
  • Enter ICE (In Case of Emergency) into cell phone contacts list
  • Make dessert(s)
Day 2
  • Pack - If traveling with mutiple people be sure to swap outfits between luggage
  • Check-in for flight - If checking luggage, print extra itinerary and put in checked luggage
  • Deliver animals to sitter
  • Pack snacks - assume a six-hour delay
  • Double check weather - If there are weather challenges, check airline website and see if any restrictions or changes are in place
Day 1 - Travel Day
  • Pack your patience
  • Pack snacks
  • Luggage
  • Family
  • Remember 3-1-1 (3oz or smaller for liquids or gel, 1 quart zip lock bag for 3 oz containers per person)
  • Allow plenty of time to get through security
  • Get started working on alternates at the first signs of a delay
  • Kill 'em with kindness

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Body Image Scans vs. Pat-Downs

Which is the lesser of two airport security evils?

With holiday travel gearing up and airline passenger stress at an all time high, complaints are growing against the enhanced security pat-downs which can focus directly on your private areas.

The TSA says via its blog that a very small number of passengers end up needing a pat-down, whether to resolve an alarm set off walking through the metal detector or if someone opts out of using the body image scanner. But it still is a concern when you’re heading to the airport, wondering if you’ll be an unlucky one. I’ve had both and frankly neither was that bad.

But what it comes down to is that it’s a balancing act between safety and privacy. Obviously, no one wants to be or should be man-handled or have their private parts on display for everyone to see. But that’s airplane travel in 2010. As long as the terrorists continue to concoct schemes of death and destruction against Americans using planes, we have to be diligent. We may not like the security measures but they’re for our safety in the long run. We have to weigh the inconvenience and embarrassment against the safety and well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. I know what tips the scale for me.

That said the TSA shouldn’t have carte blanche. Sensitivity training should be mandatory for all security agents. And there has to be a Body Scan 2.0 machine that detects weapons without revealing where that extra piece of pumpkin pie decided to settle.

See you on the road,

Kathy Ameche


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Checklists for Fun and Profit


I’m a list person - a pen and paper chick. Seeing it written down imprints the meaning in my mind and the act of writing it seems to make it real. I have a Daytimer book with zipper case in the two page per day format. The left hand page has my To-Do list and hour by hour schedule and the right page is an open journal page (which usually gets filled up with notes, quotes, doodles, and password reminders).

Every morning I make my lists. I love the feeling of checking things off. Virtual checking off is just not as satisfying to me. I do have a program called Things on my Mac that is good for complicated on-going projects, but I don’t use an electronic calendar and I leave my Blackberry for emails, texts and phone calls.

I took one of those Franklin-Covey classes once and I like the idea of rating the To-Do items alphabetically. A - You are going to die or get thrown in jail or miss getting the money if you don’t do; B - You pretty-well better do these or you are going to worry and just have to face them tomorrow; C - These should probably get done but if you get lucky they will go away, get changed or get done by someone else and D - I sure am going to get around to that someday. My two overall categories are Gotta-Have-To and WBNI (Wibney) aka Wouldn’t It Be Nice If.

Sometimes it seems like a contest to see how many things you can have on your list. “I’m busier than you are.” If something appears day after day and doesn’t get done, there’s a message for you. Making a “not going to do” list is good too. I sometimes barter with friends and trading the thing on my list that I can’t done for something of the same quality from their list. Just explaining what needs to be done can often break the logjam in my mind that keeps me from accomplishing the task.

Another thing I remember from the class is to think of your dream goal – that thing you always wanted to do but keeps getting put off. Then back up and figure out what is the thing that you can do today, tomorrow or this week that will get you started on the path to that dream. It may be a simple as doing a Google search or buying a how-to book. This is your investment in your future and your own satisfaction. It also is the first step on the way to convincing yourself that you can do it. After all, now you’re working on it not just thinking about it. And you can check it off.

See you on the road (and we can compare lists!),

Road Reporter Deborah Harter Williams

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Local Nation Contest


Want to write about your fabulous vacations and travel for “free?”
That’s what can happen if you enter Wyndham’s Women on Their Way Local Nation Contest. Wyndham’s female-traveler program will send 10 globe-trotters on trips for free (using Wyndham Rewards loyalty points) in exchange for travel blogs and columns posted on its site.

I was a winner earlier this year and it’s been a fantastic opportunity. I love that Wyndham Rewards offers so many destinations and I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with other woman road warriors.

To enter, all you have to do is submit an essay of 350 words or less, plus a photo or video on why you should be selected to win vacations from Women on Their Way. Voting begins on January 4, 2011, with the public getting to vote on their favorite submission.

Those chosen for the Sounding Board get 200,000 Wyndham Rewards points to be used to take a minimum of two vacations, a Flip SlideHD video camera to capture memorable moments, a McKenna Travel Folio by Pottery Barn, the opportunity to be a featured blogger on the Local Nation Sounding Board, and two American Express Gift Cards with a card value of $400 each, to be used for food and fun on their vacations.

Follow the Local Nation Contest link for all the details and good luck!

See you on the road,

Kathy Ameche

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Wanted: Calmer Heads


Everyone gets frustrated when a flight is delayed and no one in authority seems to have any answers. But a 15-hour delay for some passengers of Air India put them over the edge. Take a look.

A new definition (or low) in customer service. Why didn't anyone contact the airline directly or look at the web? I find you can get quicker and more accurate information from there. Yelling at the GM or anyone from the airline doesn't help resolve the situation (as one can clearly see). Too bad calmer heads couldn't prevail.

Kathy Ameche

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Holiday Hustle – Airport Alternatives


With Thanksgiving just over two weeks away, you may be getting ready to firm up your travel plans, book your flights and fortify your mental state as stressful thoughts fill your head about possible delays, cancellations and over-bookings. There is a little hope for avoiding that moment when you realize your holiday travel really will be filled with more turkeys than the one you’ll be enjoying at Aunt June’s. Though it may take a little more planning, you could pick a less busy airport. Really, there are some. The Orbitz Insider Index has just released its Top 10 list of least busy Thanksgiving airport alternatives.

1. Akron/Canton Regional, Akron OH (CAK)
2. Oakland International, Oakland, CA (OAK)
3. Dane County Regional, Madison, WI (MSN)
4. Chicago Midway, Chicago, IL (MDW)
5. Providence T.F. Green International, Providence, RI (PVD)
6. San Jose International, San Jose, CA (SJC)
7. Nashville International, Nashville, TN (BNA)
8. Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
9. John Wayne International, Orange Co, CA (SNA)
10. Bradley International, Hartford, CT (BDL)

According to the Air Transport Association of America, about 24 million people will be flying domestically over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.

If you’re one of them – here are the airports expected to be the busiest according to Orbitz:

1. O’Hare International, Chicago (ORD)
2. Los Angeles International, Los Angeles (LAX)
3. Boston Logan International, Boston (BOS)
4. New York LaGuardia, New York (LGA)
5. San Francisco International, San Francisco (SFO)
6. Denver International, Denver (DEN)
7. JFK International, New York (JFK)
8. Newark Liberty International, Newark, NJ (EWR)
9. Atlanta Hartsfield, Atlanta (ATL)
10. Washington Ronald Reagan National, Washington, D.C. (DCA)

So obviously, if you’re taking off from one of these spots, planning is key.
Here are some tried and true Woman Road Warrior tips for smooth sailing:

-Start the day with your game face on – expect the best but be prepared to adapt as the day goes on. Make sure you’ve got all the relevant numbers on your speed dial: airlines, travel agent or travel site customer service and car rental. Get busy looking for alternatives at the first sign of trouble
-If you haven't made your plane reservations yet book the first flight out. You'll have the entire day to deal with delays.
-Check in the night before and print your boarding passes at home.
-In your carry-on: a wrap for chilly airplanes, enough food/drink for 6 hour delay, bacterial wipes, iPod, straw.
-Pack light and never check your luggage, that way you avoid fees, lost bags and delays.
-Prepare for the security check line by wearing clothes/shoes you can easily slip off and on. Keep boarding passes, I.D. handy in an easily accessible pocket in your bag and place your laptop in a separate bin. Liquids still need to be in a separate plastic bag.
-And if you’re stuck on a plane, technology can help! Twitter your predicament. Most airlines now monitor social media for customer complaints.

Safe Travels,

Road Reporter Vicki Zwart

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Casting Call for Woman Road Warriors


Word about Woman Road Warrior is getting around and we received this
inquiry and we wanted to pass it along in case anyone needs some guidance.

Major TV Network Casting New Show

"Do you use your career, money, hobbies or frequent travel as a way to
live a secret life? A new TV show for a major network is seeking people
(who may remain anonymous if they wish) to participate in a program
focusing on secret lives. The show is offering professional help for
anyone who would like help confronting the truth."

This is not a Jerry Springer type show. It is however, similar to the
show "Intervention" on A&E. This is to air on one of the four top
broadcast networks. We will be offering professional help and financial
compensation for those willing to participate.

Some people might feel a need to go public as part of their process of
recovery, so to speak. Encouraging people with these sort or problems to
seek help is a major goal of the program. We are hoping some individuals
would feel good about contributing towards that goal.

For information,contact:
Danielle Monte
Casting Director
Angel City Factory

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The Great Shoe Show Extravaganza


Now that we have time to take a breath we get to look back on The Great Shoe Show Extravaganza on September 21, 2010. For those of you who didn’t get to participate, this was our 5th Annual Woman Road Warrior day celebration in Chicago. We had great fun with a shoe fashion show and private shoe salon. Our theme was “Women Who Go the Extra Mile and the Shoes They Do It In.” For me the shoe is a great metaphor for Women Road Warriors. Busy people are said to “wear a lot of hats.” More accurately with the women I know the phrase should be they “wear a lot of shoes” – shoes for travel, boardrooms, showrooms, factory floors and all kinds of weather.

Personally, I got to be all by myself in the Shirise shoe store on a Sunday picking out my favorites to show off at the show. Sort of like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but with shoes.

Also, last time I was in L.A., I had a chance to visit TOMS Shoes. They are housed on the grounds of Santa Monica studios so they never know when there may be a shoot going on in the next space. Allie Tavoularis showed us around. She’s a community outreach person.

The regular TOMS are great travel shoes – easy to slip off and on for security. Most innovative is a boot that you wrap around your leg so you can make it as tight or as high as you want. Remarkable. Their fall campaign was “Where Will Your TOMS Take You?” a sure tie-in with Woman Road Warrior-ing.

See you on the road.

Kathy Ameche

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