Help, I’m in travel hell!

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Comments Off

We’ve all had an occasional travel headache; some of us have even had some serious travel nightmares.  One thing is certain: nothing that derails your travels is welcomed with open arms.  But with a different perspective – and perhaps some anecdotes from those who have been there, it’s possible to turn that negative scenario into an opportunity.

The folks at Fathom (who are seriously in-the-know and have the best travel tips and stories – plus we just adore what they have to say) capture author Amy Spencer’s ideas on just how to stay cool when all hell breaks loose:


You’ve been robbed. Passport, money, clothes: gone. Now what?

After you’ve dealt with the logistics of replacing your passport, calling your credit card company, and locating cash, deal with how you feel. Because the last thing you want is for some crook’s selfish act to ruin your entire vacation. Start by asking yourself, “What didn’t I lose?” The camera around your neck? The favorite shirt on your back? The train reservation to the next stop along your trip? You didn’t lose your ability to stroll through the city’s central park for free on your final day in town.

My friend and I were halfway into a month-long, cross-country road trip when our car was broken into and all our clothes were stolen. At first I was angry about what I’d lost. But then a funny thing happened: I felt liberated carrying little more than the clothes on my back. After all, we still had our car, each other, and a few weeks left on the open road.

Once you’ve stomped out your anger, focus on your health and your attitude, and have fun with what you have left. Don’t let a thief steal that from you, too.


The guy sitting next to you keeps pushing your elbow off the armrest and taking it all for himself. WTF?

Annoying strangers have a way of ruining our good mood, don’t they? You could elbow him right back to confirm your stance in what will be an unyielding battle for the duration of the flight, but I recommend this instead: Let him have it. Yes, it’s the principle of the thing when a stranger hogs your space or cuts in line, but when you get too focused on the bad behavior of the people around you, you don’t have any mental room left to enjoy the good stuff. Sit back and let them pass — sometimes literally.

That’s one of the things I appreciated most about driving in Ireland on small, winding, two-lane roads: If one car wanted to drive faster than another, the front car would simply pull over, let the faster driver pass, then calmly pull back onto the road. It’s so much more civilized than taunting a tailgater with brake lights in a battle for lane supremacy. When people encroach on your personal space, step back, make a quick exit, wait for them to pass. You’ll have the space to yourself once again.


You accidentally booked a seat on the local train instead of the express, which will add two hours to your trip, and now you can’t change it.

If you’re on the slower train, download a two-hour movie to distract you. Buy a cheap pillow so you can nap and arrive refreshed. Use the time to research the perfect lunch spot. Ask a local for must-do suggestions upon arriving at your destination.

Be your own travel lifeguard: Don’t fight the current and tire yourself out — float with it. Take, for example, the setback I share in Bright Side Up about what happened when journalist (and fab FATHOM contributor) Mark Ellwood woke up realizing he’d set his alarm for p.m. instead of a.m. and missed his plane home for Christmas. He immediately booked a later flight for an additional fee of $1,000. Yeah, ouch. But he asked to be upgraded to business class and made the best of his situation: He drank free cocktails, ate fine food, and settled in for a comfortable overnight rest.


Your hotel overbooked, and the new place reserved for you is across from a 24-hour disco with a view of a parking lot. Sanity? At a moment like this?

Sure, it stinks when something goes wrong. But when three things go wrong, you’ve got the makings of a really funny story. In fact, the worse it gets, the funnier it will be, so start making a list of all that’s gone wrong and begin to imagine how you’ll tell your hilarious story later.

When I went to Cuba with a friend who’d been before and assured me we could absolutely, positively use our U.S. credit cards while we were away, we’d already spent most of our cash on our guest room, music, and mojitos before realizing we had three days left and only $20 between us. The worse it got, the funnier it was — from failed trips to four banks and a Western Union to the two-mile walk to a part of town where mini-sandwiches cost fifty cents instead of a dollar. On our last night in Old Havana we split one beer and a Cuban cigar on a park bench and listened to music in the distance. We laughed as we recounted the details of our most memorable trip.


 Excerpts from “Help! I’m in travel hell.”  Read more here.

Inspired Fridays

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Comments Off


If this list of luxury hotels doesn’t make you want to plan your next trip to Africa, nothing will.

Everything Oscars?!

  • The Governor’s Ball, following the Oscar’s has been completely revamped to allow for attendees to mingle in an open, energetic floorplan, rather than the traditional sit-down dinner experience.
  • Despite hosting 10 years of Oscars, the ESPYs and the recent resident; Cirque de Soleil, The Kodak Theatre has lost it’s namesake {and funding}.
  • Despite a still struggling economy, Oscar parties such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fundraiser will remain as lavish as ever, while remaining on tight budgets.

Everything Else

  • A Chicago Councilman asks police not to shut down electronic communication as protestors are expected to flock the city for both the May G-8 and NATO Summits (May 20-21, 2012) with their Smartphones, Video Cameras, and other links to social media.
  • There are certain things you can’t make up.  Buying your way into the Mile High Club is one.  It’s a 300-horespower Piper Cherokee Six {slighlty smaller than a commercial jet’s bathroom} equipped with champagne and chocolates…?!
  • Hotels take the concierge service to a new level – check out what some hotels are doing to keep their guests entertained {and away from their computers}.
  • GQ  released their Top New Restaurants as well as the Hottest Anticipated Openings {Happy 2012!}. 


Inspired Fridays

Posted on December 16, 2011 by Comments Off


Holidays in Austria, courtesy of LusoFox

Holiday Gift Guide: Client Edition

Posted on December 8, 2011 by Comments Off

Involve your clients in the process with Wantful.  It’s simple – you give the site some intel on your giftee, the site culls a list of 16 personalized ideas, the giftee receives a printed book with information about each gift and the giftee then gets to go to Wantful to choose the gift they want.  It’s all packaged up and delivered and you’ll look like a genius.

Is your client particularly partial to a global city?  Loves getting away to the beach on the weekend?  If so, check out Fathom’s new shop full of unique, one-of-a-kind finds.  As they say, “Better than Sky Mall.”

Get your fun-loving clients the perfect gift … a little something of themselves.  The gift of kitsch becomes more fun (funny?) with a personalized bobble head.  With fields for customizing every detail of the design, you can nail the widow’s peak, pierced ears and flowing red locks easily.

Client gift-giving is perplexing every year.  Check out the brilliance inside Gifted Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide.  You are {almost} guaranteed to find something for every single person on your list.

Inspired Fridays

Posted on November 18, 2011 by Comments Off

Inspired Fridays

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Comments Off

Photo courtesy of Shine from Yahoo!

  • How are you celebrating Oktoberfest 2011?  Grab your stein because it’s already started – September 17 to October 3 this year.
  • Whimsical food vignettes by Andrea Bricco. (First spotted on Oh Joy! )
  • How’s this for fresh fish: try catching your own for dinner at a restaurant in Japan!
  • Fathom’s fun look at an alternative vacation: Hail the Hootenanny 

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