I have been on the move a lot since coming to London. That can mean
riding across the city to look at something new or flying across an
ocean to attend a convention.
On these jaunts, I am sometimes a traveler and sometimes a
tourist. In the first case, I am moving from point A to point B.
And in the latter mode, I am taking the measure of things around
me, for cultural enrichment, for amusement or whatever.
I have a few observations to make about each, beginning, in this
column, with the role of traveler:
* Given the choice, I prefer daytime flights when heading east
to the U.K., for a speedier recovery from jet lag, but I have
discovered the rewards of early-morning flights going west and
sometimes will change my day of travel to get one.
I relish the fact that I can be on the ground in New York by
noon or 1 p.m. and have time for nearly a day's worth of errands
and an early dinner.
* I learned this one by listening to a disgruntled American
tourist as she prepared to board her homebound flight. In order to
recover value-added taxes paid on significant purchases in the
U.K., clients should insist on being provided with VAT tax refund
forms. No matter what the Harrods clerks say, receipts are not
* When on the move and far away from your own kitchen, eat every
chance you get. I am inclined to amend that to urge some
discrimination to avoid dire consequences, but the principle is
Also, use any decent bathroom when you can because you never
know what your next option might be or, more to the point, when it
* Some years ago, I typed a list of every possible thing I might
ever need to take on a trip. Then, when I pack, I read the list,
ignoring what obviously is unnecessary but finding important
reminders of things that I could all too easily forget.
* Too many airports and train stations require travelers to pay
to use luggage carts, and now I rate facilities based on this
feature. Bangkok, Istanbul and London's Heathrow airports have free
luggage carts readily available. The same is true of London's
Waterloo station (one end of the Eurostar ride), but the carts are
not free at the Paris terminal, Gare du Nord.
New York's Kennedy Airport offers carts that require arriving
foreigners to have or to get U.S. currency if they want to use the
devices. Kennedy rates one sour grape for that.