Miss Gwyneth Paltrow's Guide to Travel

Do you sometimes subscribe to completely frivolous blogs, just because you feel like some light fluff in the solemnity of your day-to-day life?  I do. Some of the blogs I like to look at – like tucking into a palette-cleansing spoonful of sorbet before the meal of life – are the ethereal delights of This is Glamorous and the elegance of DustJacketAttic. There are a few others too, that could be termed 'blog sorbet', but I'll add them to the Reading List on the side this week.

One of the blogs I subscribed to recently, simply because I thought it was a bit of pretty embroidery, was GOOP (well, the name tricked me, for a start). It's Gwyneth Paltrow's blog (GOOP...get it? It took me a moment too), and it's a weekly lifestyle journal of recipes, fashion, travel, wellness tips, cultural notes and more, curated by the talented Miss GP. I know some people are nervous of GP since she cried at the Oscars but I really like her. She was the only guest to write a personal Thank You note to Valentino when he hosted a boisterous bunch of celebs at his French villa one year. (I think he told this anecdote?) I do like a girl with good manners.

Anyhow, GOOP is gabulous. Sorry, fabulous. And far, far more than just fluff. This week's entry is the best yet. It's Miss Gwyneth Paltrow's Travel Tips. (And you just KNOW she's gonna have some good ones.) Furthermore, she's lassoed her friends, talent manager Seth Friedman, and stylist/author Donna Hay in to contribute. (Who knew she and DH were friends?)

Here's their Frequent Flyer Tips. And a few of mine too.

Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C Packs. Take a couple of these bad boys as soon as you get to your seat and you're immune from the woggy germs of 200+ sick passengers. (I wish I'd done this last trip!) A hand sanitizer is good, too.
Calcium and magnesium supplements. Also take a few of these mid-flight to calm the system.
Shower en route. If you have to stopover (when flying to London, for example), find an airport such as Singapore that allows you shower. Donna Hay even washes and dries her hair. (I used to do this: it's a good trick. I might take it up again.)

Use Seat Guru and Seat Planes to choose your seat. Good tip: We normally sit in the seats just behind Business Class on United flights, which have a metre of leg space in front. We still can't justify the price of Business Class seats. Nor First Class, for that matter.
If you need more space, ask if you can pay for an upgrade. If you don't have Frequent Flyer points, you can pay just $149 on United and get upgraded to Premium Economy – it's worth it when you're flying all the way from Sydney to LA.
Choose your airline carefully. If you fly Business, consider Air New Zealand and Virgin, which have wishbone configurations. You can get in and out of your seat easily.
If you're a family, consider Air New Zealand. If you fly Economy with a family, consider Air Zealand again. The airline has a new feature in Economy Class on their new 777 service called Sky Couch. You purchase an entire row for just slightly more than two seats would cost.

If you live in the US or travel there a lot, subscribe to the Global Entry program. It allows you to bypass the often-ridiculous immigration lines when returning to The States. (LAX is famous for being awful.)
If you're Australia, get a passport with a chip. (The new ones.) It allows you to skip the Immigration lines at Sydney and Melbourne and go through the Chip Line (as I call it). My chip no longer works but I just waltz up to the officer and look confused.
Enrol in a Frequent Flyer program (I can't stress this enough). Even if you only do one overseas trip a year, the points and benefits will still make your life easier. If you're a United / Star Alliance Member, for example, you can skip the normal queues and check in at the Premium, Business and First Class section (SO much easier at NY's JFK) AND jump the normal passport control before the x-ray machines.

Dress well. Occasionally you'll glimpse staff’s monitors that read, 'Look for well-dressed people to upgrade.' (I thought this was a myth, but obviously clothes still count.)
Enrol in a Frequent Flyer program. You'll be more inclined to get an upgrade. (Being nice to staff helps, too)

Buy a carry-on bag with 4 wheels. Much easier to control. And buy a coloured one so you can identify it easily. (I bought an orange case in New York: you could see it from the moon!)

Buy Bose noise-cancelling headphones. (You see them on every third passenger now.) They really do reduce unwanted ambient background noise, so you can hear what you want and silence the rest.

Here's a pic of Gwynnie mid-flight, courtesy of GOOP. She still looks good, even at 35,000 feet...

{Images via Dior, Coach, The Talented Mr Riply and GOOP}

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