If you shop the “Big & Tall” section, then this article is for you.
I’ve done a fair amount of travelling in my high school and collegiate basketball days and here are some helpful tips and strategies to make the journey as comfortable as possible.
- Drive instead of fly. If the distance is short enough, the ability to stretch those lovely long legs at any time you want is worth braving the roadways.
- When driving or renting a car, splurge a little for something roomier. I’ve found American manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, GM) have built roomier vehicles than their competitors across the Pacific. If you are renting a car from any of the major car rental companies (Avis, Enterprise, Budget, etc.), turn on the charm and ask for a free upgrade. It has been my experience that the desk workers usually have to strain their necks to look up at you, so they feel obligated to help alleviate you of your suffering.
- If flying, fight for an exit row. Ask for it at the check-in counter. Ask for it at the gate. Stand over the smallest person sitting in an exit row seat and politely request that they trade seats with you. Offer to buy a drink for them if you need too. For airlines like Southwest, where you pick your own seat check their policies, and do everything you can for first choice.
- If you can’t get an exit row, go for a bulk-head seat. I've been relegated to bulkhead areas due to the fact that I now travel with small children, and the FAA has something against them sitting in exit rows. As far as securing a seat, proceed in a similar manner to the exit row strategy.
- If a bulkhead fails, choose an aisle seat. Leg extension is a necessity. I prefer to go to either the very front or the very end. Most bathrooms are at the rear of the plane for coach class. If you are in the back people will have to jump over your extended leg quite often.
- For the last air travel tip, before you concede to having your knees shattered by the guy in front of you who keeps trying to recline his chair, first class is pretty roomy. It may be worth the extra cash.
- Trains and busses are a mixed bag. Try to be one of the first to board so that you have first pick of seats. I'll actually stand on city busses that are getting full in order to avoided being folded up and chew on my knee caps.
- Dope up carefully. I’m not encouraging drug use here. What I’m saying is that being proactive and strategic with painkillers (Ibuprofen, Tylenol) can help getting from point A to point B a little more pleasurable. Don’t do anything your doctor would disagree with and use commons sense.
- Stretch before, during, and after. Keep the joints lubricated and the body moving as much as possible. I usually stand up or take a stretch break at least once an hour.
- Duck! Nothing is worse than clocking your head against some low hanging obstacle you didn’t see. When boarding or exiting any craft, hunch over and stay low.
Utilize the trips and your travel experience will reach new heights (yeah, that was a deliberate pun)!