City Social Magazine

MAR-APR 2019

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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10 R E A D U S O N L I N E A T W W W . C I T Y S O C I A L . C O M significantly. Remi says, "All the BTR carriers fly from Baton Rouge for connections on international flights, but I find the airlines that do the best jobs in terms of making long flights as easy and comfortable as possible are Emirates, Turkish and Qatar Airlines." Good food is one of Remi's criteria for a great flight. All three serve extraordinary meals that make you feel like you're indulging rather than sacrificing. Remi has perfected traveling internationally with comfort and ease, but one thing he really misses when he's out of the country is the water. "Baton Rouge has the best water in the world," he says. After getting his water fix, the next priority is getting home, which is why he prefers using the Baton Rouge airport. "After 15 to 26 hours in flight, you want to get in your car quickly and get home." FOR LIFE Every year or so, Debi Russell and Paul Higgins plan an epic vacation to travel internationally for at least three weeks. Generally, they'll country hop through Europe or South America. One recent trip took them on 12 flights from Baton Rouge to Atlanta, then Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia, Santiago, Lima, Cusco and a train ride to Machu Picchu. The couple have been married more than 25 years and tell stories just like you'd expect – one blending into the other as they finish each other's sentences. Italy and Europe are their usual haunts. "We almost always have at least a few days in Italy no matter where we're going in Europe. I mean, no one's ever had a bad meal in Italy," Debi, a diminutive, feisty grandmother with Italian heritage quips. "If you're having trouble communicating with the waiter, just trust chance and point to anything on the menu and it'll be good." "The low-cost European airlines makes it really cheap to go anywhere once you're over there," Paul says, acknowledging that overseas flight is often the most expensive part of international travel. "Iceland is a great connection point, because you can do up to a seven-day layover and then continue on your vacation for the same price as going all the way at once." Savvy travelers know all the airline policies to take advantage that'll help them get more mileage out of their money (and time). "People say, 'You can't get there from here.' But, with the Baton Rouge airport, you can get there from here. You don't have to go to a bigger airport to get an international flight because you're going to have to connect most of the time from anywhere near here," Paul says. "Flying from the U.S., we look at convenience going and coming. You don't want to spend 24 hours from the time you get up to the time you land and then have an hour drive. The price difference is much less than paying for parking and gas. And if you use points, the price is exactly the same from New Orleans or Baton Rouge. One time it took us 45 minutes just to get our bags. Since then, we always fly internationally from BTR." Paul points out that you have an extra leg on the flight whether you travel from BTR or MSY. "I'd rather fly it than drive it." For Debi Russell, the vacation starts when she leaves the house. "At BTR, security is easy and not stressful. If I get stressed at the beginning of my trip, it's going to take some time to unwind and relax. Once I get on the plane, I order a drink and my dinner. I sleep on the plane while Paul watches movies all night." Paul's pre-flight routine always means changing his watch to the new time zone before take-off. It means he's thinking about the new time for the whole flight. "Mentally, it does something to you to start thinking in the new time zone," he says. Beating jet lag is an important hurdle when changing time zones. Debi and Paul line up tours for right when they land to stay on-the-go until nightfall. Frequently, they do a "hop on and hop off"-style bus tour the first day to get an overview of the whole city. From there, they plan which sites they want to spend more time at for the rest of the trip. "The hardest thing about international travel is that we don't have a good picture of us together. We have the one in Zurich and one at Versailles, with the gardens all behind us. But otherwise, we're not good at selfies. He takes a pic of me and I take a pic of him." Eight Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag Start adjusting your sleep schedule gradually before your trip. It will make the transition much easier. Let the new time zone — not your stomach — determine when you eat your meals. You'll be in sync with the locals in no time. Plan something fun for the morning you arrive. It may feel like the middle of the night to your body, but the excitement will help you stay awake. Have some fun in the sun. Sunlight is a powerful trigger for your internal clock. It's also a proven mood booster, so it's an easy way to shake off the irritability that comes with jet lag. Keep up your workout routine in the days leading up to your flight. Studies show that people who exercise regularly are less affected by jet lag. Take a flight that arrives at your destination in the morning and sleep on the plane. The low cabin pressure makes it easier to sleep even though it's not the "right" time. Try melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for regulating your sleep. The supplements are available over-the-counter; taking them strategically can help you quickly reset your circadian rhythm. Bonnecaze's tip: Force yourself to stay awake the whole first day and try to be out in the sun. Once darkness falls, you can go to sleep and wake up on the new time zone with a high chance of total success. Touring Machu Picchu in Peru in 2017. Higgins and Russell in Versailles in 2017. Higgins and Russell traveled to Pompeii, Italy in 2002 and again in 2004. Russell's "business card." Travel and leisure has been her new line of work since retiring in 2007. [Main article continues] Paul Higgins and Debi Russell have visited more than 25 different countries during their travels, and will add four more countries to their list in 2019. Podcasts are a great way to pass the time, and the options are limitless. Whether you want to learn something new or just relax, there is definitely a podcast out there to fit your needs. Be sure to download several episodes to your phone since streaming won't be an option. Coloring books for adults are easy to find, and they're also a great option if you're flying with children because they can have fun with their own coloring books at the same time. Take the opportunity to meet some new people and get great ideas for your trip. You may be flying somewhere new, but chances are good that someone is flying home. Find out all the best, non - touristy places to eat, drink and be merry. Try airplane yoga — discreet stretches that don't require a lot of space but do a lot of good for your body. You may get some looks, but you'll be too relaxed to care. If you love taking pictures on your phone, download a photo editing app and pass some time making your pho - tos Instagram-worthy. Use an app like Duolingo to learn key phrases in the native language of the country you're visiting. Take a walk. It helps prevent blood clots that can form from sitting in one position too long, and it will give you a (slight) change of scenery. Plan the details of your trip. It will help pass the time and amp up your excitement for your destination. Download a TV series to binge watch on your phone or tablet. Bring an eye mask, headphones or earplugs and a travel pillow and take a rejuvenating nap so you start your trip fresh and ready to explore. Take the opportunity to do things that you never have time for—start a journal, create a budget, read a book. Bonnecaze's tip: Consume very little or no alcohol and drink as much water as you can. Staying hydrated is the best way to stay healthy on a long flight. Twelve Ways to Have Fun, Relax or Be Productive on a Long Flight

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