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The Travel Angel is a show dedicated to sharing tips and insights on how you can improve your air travel.
Cindy Paulos will Interview author and Global class travel
expert Dan Poynter. Dan Flies 6,000 miles a week.
Her recently fly around the world in 2 and half days
And I am talking to Dan Poynter now. Dan is an amazing traveler, he has a great book out which I just bought called Air Travel Handbook: Tips, Tricks and Secrets on Flying. He has written 132 books including that Air Travel Handbook I just mentioned. He travels around the world speaking at many writing conferences. He has been a book publisher since 1969 and this is the astonishing figure. He flies more than 6,000 miles a week and I might mention his plane of choice is United Airlines, mine too. And you have been a MileagePlus member since 1981. I have done more than 2 million miles flown on United. That got you to a special level. What is said that special rare class called -- what kind of level, is that global services?
Yeah, it is global services, the upper one. When you get the 2 million, you get free red carpet club or whatever they call it now for life and I am close to 3 million and then you get 1K for life.
When you get to 4 million, you get the global services for life but otherwise, they just go by how much you spend and how much you drop.
So basically, that means you never have to fly economy anymore?
I would not do that anyway. Well, no because in the US, I will buy economy and they are great in first class automatically.
And internationally, I would buy a business class and I get automatic upgrades to first.
That is just amazing. Now, we are going to talk about a few different things because you are a professional expert traveler and you also have your own publishing company, Para Publishing, which is in using and helping people for a long, long time. So of course, this is wonderful because I imagine that you probably can write your books while you are traveling, right?
Well, you can, that is why you carry your computer with you and one of the secrets to writing books is to write little pieces at one time whenever something strikes you and then you can put the stories and then you put it together later but that way, you can make use of the time in the airplanes so you kind of travel deep in.
I just love that I do because I know I write quite a bit. I actually love flying and for me when I get up there, it so nice to get away from all the telephone calls and all the interruptions and I can just take that time and do something like start a book or make notes or relax and meditate, you know. It is a really great time for me but it is also a challenging time for many people so I know you have created a lot of tips for people. One thing I want to talk about, this is exciting that you decided to do a trip around the world and you have done this actually. Have you done it twice around the world trip?
Well, I have done 21 at all and those trips would take two and a half to five weeks each. I might go into 9 countries, 12 cities to 17 speeches and then on to the next one and we will just string them all together and do around-the-world tour and then one morning, I woke up and I thought "I wonder how fast I could do it." And it took me a couple of days to go and match up the flights in the airlines with the minimum of a ground time and so I took off from Los Angeles on a Tuesday went to Washington, Dubai, Singapore, Taipei and landed back in Los Angeles on Thursday.
That is amazing. That is amazing.
Just for fun.
So and that particular one was kind of an interesting trip for you because you could -- you really did not have to pack any luggage on that one because you were in the air most of time, correct?
Well that is right and I had no toothbrush, they give them to you on the airplane, no change of clothes. I mean, you are only away two days. You do not need too much for two days and there was no time between flights to take a shower anyway. So I just had a little briefcase and I had souvenir cards that I handed out to people. I gave the pilot of all five of these flights I script and you know ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Captain speaking, this is a special flight you are witnessing history. The man up in seat 2B is flying around the world. In two days, we are still happy they selected our airline to be part of it and went on and on for two pages and then I went around the cabin and handed out the souvenir cards and pick one of the pictures and autographs. I mean it took 12 to 15-hour flight and made it real fun.
That is amazing. I think that is part of -- The key to your huge success is I think you understand how to fearlessly do exciting things and know at the same time how do you set those things that you do for promotion. It seems to me like you have a natural flair -- and it kind of takes that right to be an author?
Well, no, oh absolutely. Whether you sell out to a large internet publisher or publisher itself, the author must do the promotion. Publishers do not promote books. They have them produced, they distribute them to stores -- period. And sometimes, you get some promotional money put in to your contract or something but that is very rare and that is why when you are trying to attract the large internet publisher, you have to show them that you are not just thinking about going out there and doing some promotions but you already have it. Here, you for example, you have got your radio show. I mean so that is -- you are right at number one because you have an audience out there.
You know on this trip and a question I always like to address when it comes up quite a bit is, okay, a lot of people say whenever I travel, I get a cold or I get the flu and then there has been a lot of studies done about this and some people say "Oh gosh, it is quality of the air, there is not enough filter and some people say it is because you are sitting next to someone who is sneezing." What have you found because here you are flying 6,000 miles a week, what do you find and how do you keep yourself healthy when you are up in the air as much as you are?
Well, I take a few things with me. First of all, I got a flu shot each year and by the way, I want to get a flu shot in New Zealand and they said "Yeah, we can do that but it is not going to do any good." I said "Why not?" They said because you get your flu shot in the fall and right now, it is spring here.
You know, south of the equator. So you know, you think, I said all the way until I get there so I will get my flu shot. Well, maybe that is not going to work. Anyway, I travel with the Airborne pills for a run. If you feel a cold was coming on, because you have to put those on the water and drink the stuff right away and I carry a probiotic, the acidophilus pills if I have any kind of a stomach problem, I would put that down, it takes care of gas or stomach pains of any kind or acid reflux. It takes about 10 seconds.
And that is the acidophilus pill probiotic, you can get them at health or food stores. And I may have a couple other pills that I might need in case, a diarrhea pill for example. Never had to use them but I got them if I need to.
And that is about it.
You know, that is pretty good. I actually have to agree I do take Airborne with me and I was excited because they just came out with a new version of Airborne that includes more minerals than more vitamin D and everything so...
Ah, thank you for that.
Yes, I am going to go get some because I do always carry it with me and take some when I am traveling and I know someone actually, I had this lady who travels a lot and she takes Vaseline and put it on the ridges of her nose and swears that keeps the bacteria from and for her breathing in any kind of germs and I had never heard of that before. I tried it a couple of times. It was kind of interesting but a little awkward when you are sitting next to someone and you just dipped your finger into the Vaseline and put it on your nose. It was like -- we all just see but one thing that is really interesting that you have done a study on which is really important that that people talk about a lot and you of course have encountered with all the travels you did and displayed around the worlds in two and a half days, what is the story with jetlag and how do you address that?
Well, jetlag affects each person in a unique way and some people frankly are troubled by time changes going from daylight to standard time and there are some others who are bothered by three hours going across the country and other people kind of adjust to it so when I flew around the world in two days, I took off on Tuesday and landed on Thursday and there was no jetlag at all because my body just stayed on California time. Then I think about first classes, the food is pretty good then you eat whenever you want or I was just on three meals a day and -- because I had lay-flat seats so I could sleep anytime I wanted to and so I ate when I was hungry and stop when I was tired and skipped a lot of meals and there was no jetlag because I just stayed on California time. So what does that prove? It proves that crossing meridians, the time zones do not contribute to your jetlag. It is when you get there and you have to adjust to a new time zone. So you go from Hawaii where you are to Europe, that is probably 11 hours or so depending on daylight savings and that is a big adjustment to your body trying to adjust completely to that new time and chose to adjusting your meals, adjusting your sleep and so on. And the big mistake that people make -- Cindy, this is fascinating -- people will go buy a seven-day ticket because it is cheaper and they will go do their business in this foreign land and then take a six-day holiday or they are going to a sporting event as a competitor and then they will go on a six-day holiday, wrong way to do it. It takes one day per time zone to catch up. So you want to go in and do your six-day holiday and get caught up pretty much on your jet, get some sleep, get in the rhythm, get to just talk to local people, pick up some local stories and you do your business on the last day.
Does it make a difference, the East to West versus West to East? I have heard that sometimes it makes a difference, which way you are going if you get affected by each other?
Most of my trips have been from East to West. I have done a few going to the other direction, going East, I do not notice any difference in it. I really do not.
People talk about that and you know then there is North to South and South to North in the same time zone, but I have got a pretty good tolerance myself and so I cannot speak for everybody because each person is unique.
A lot of people say melatonin is helpful. I do not know if I noticed a difference. Have you ever tried melatonin?
Yeah, there is melatonin and there is another one too. I have tried them, they do not seem to make any difference to me. But by the way, some of these things are not legal on some countries.
Oh wow! So you have been traveling...
You need a prescription.
So you do not want to get caught with those.
That is amazing. And you know that is a fact that I guess with being a word traveler like you are, I always like to encourage people that even though they are busy before a trip, to try to if they are going to another country to be a little aware of the laws and regulations. It definitely can impact your life if you are not aware of certain rules and laws of the place you are going to.
Absolutely. I cannot do anything but echo exactly what you are saying.
Yeah. There is different regulations and rules and you do not want to get caught somewhere. I know like for Singapore and some places, you are not even supposed to spit on the street or anything, you might land up in jail.
And they do not sell chewing gums.
I did not know they did not sell chewing gum.
Yeah. Apparently, somebody stuck it on the door of a subway over the little light that opens and closes the door and the gum, has had enough of that and they banned chewing gum. I hope they are taking it out of your luggage.
That is an amazing fact. Now, I wanted to ask you because I also am a United person. I like the Mileage program quite a bit and I have been pretty lucky on upgrades but did you notice a difference when there was the merger that happened?
Oh! Absolutely Cindy. The only thing we have got out of that whole merger was the name. Yeah. No absolutely. And you know, the airplanes were still separate. You know, continental cruise, continental airplanes and continental layouts. Yeah.
Do you notice a difference between the different planes? I mean, I have noticed when I fly now a plane that was Continental versus planes of United. I also noticed that there is a lot more people with -- a lot more people with...
Did you notice that?
They are jammed.
No, I am lucky being in global services I can switch planes with no charge. I get three 70-pound bags with no charge. I will get into an airport early and I will walk and say "Do you have any rooms in first class?" and automatically, I am first on the upgrade list and first on the standby list. It rises to the top. So that is really nice. One of the big changes that you find and this will improve is that in first class, the seats are different and some have the new power system, some have the old power system and some have regular 110-volt power and you can just plug anything into them. And some have the old round 15-volt thing that nobody has a connector for, but that is going to improve.
And did you see with the change and the way they handled their online websites and what they were doing for a while, there was actually even sometimes where I saw that they had crashed a couple of times. I cannot even imagine in airlines, internet going down but I was actually at an airport once where that had happened and I am like "What?"
I think it has gone down three times this year. They certainly had their groin pains and we had to get used to a new website and it is turning out to be pretty good now but it was really kind of rough in the beginning because you have to learn that whole new site and everything was laid out differently.
Now, of course you have an interesting background because you are a pilot and one of the first books you wrote was actually about parachuting and about hang gliding. So you have a little bit of an inside -- a very much I guess of an insider's perspective about flying and being a pilot, knowing a lot about it, did that change your attitude as someone who is a passenger? Did you have a little bit bitter -- I guess you have a lot of more information about how everything worked of being a pilot.
Well, as a pilot, you understand airframes, powerplants, navigation and so on and you know what is going on. If you are listening to the engine then you can learn things from that. So my Air Travel Handbook, well it is for the consumers, for the passenger, but it is the only book out there that was written by somebody who is not just a passenger but also a pilot.
Yeah, that really does make a difference. I really do believe that. What are you...
Or let me give you a tip. Here is a tip for you.
There are things that people do not know and I was just reading this on my own website today. Sometimes, you get on the airplane and something is not working, do not say anything. I mean say your seat is not staying back, you know, it slides back or the tray table is broken or you know they are out hand towels in the restroom or something. Do not say anything until after take and everything has leveled out and people calm down. Then you could say "Oh by the way, my seat won't stay up". Well, you know, if you tell it to them on the ground, they will take you off the plane when they are full and you will be on another flight. You do not want to do that.
But, after you tell them that your seat won't stay up or the tray table is broken or the light is not working over your seat, then ask for a coupon and when they come out with a path of coupons, you do say "May I have more than one?"
Really? So you...Wow!
And then you send those into United in spite of what was wrong and the flight gets you wrong and everything. And they will send you a choice of about three things which you can have like you might get 5000 miles added to your account. And some of these things are kind of valuable depending on your lifestyle and what you want.
Well you know, that is a great tip Dan. Because a lot of people think we are all just one, they would send me my survey or when I get home I will write a letter or note and it is like how many thousands and maybe more than thousands of people have done that and just get a standard response, you know. So asking for that coupon really makes a difference, right?
And they won't give it to you unless you ask.
I did not know that. That is a great...
I mean I had them volunteer, they are volunteers. I am sorry but here, take three. But seriously, you have to ask to make sure you get it.
Now, on the long flights especially this 2-1/2 day trip around the world, I mean what do you do to keep yourself exercised and you know to keep from getting deep vein thrombosis. Do you do special exercises or do you get up every so often or what do you do to keep yourself healthy when you are flying in the air as long as you fly?
Well, I know this is very important to you and something that you would talk about. Yes, I get up and walk around the cabin you know just continually and I think that is extremely important but I am just one of those jumpy people who cannot sit in one place for very long anyway.
So I do not know with some people. I do not know how they can sit there for so many hours without even going to the lavatory.
But it is just not good for you. No, you should get up.
So I take it you like aisle seats?
You have a particular seat you like? It is 2B, it was your seat?
That is called the Shakespeare seat, 2B
2B? Actually, that is funny.
I do not want anybody to sign up for 2B because I want that one.
So that is your seat, your honorary seat. You know, if you had to choose what you like about flying the most, what would you say that you like about flying?
Well, you know I write books and it just seems that when I get out of my office and I will wait like that on a plane, there is not a lot of distraction. I come up with so many ideas for a book, for a scenario in a book, on book promotion and I am just scribbling down those like crazy. It is just a great opportunity. But you were talking about how it affects you and how you get things done. So you like to be away.
I love being up in the air away from the telephone. I like to be able to sit and close my eyes and meditate. I like ideas come to me that sometimes do not even...
You know I think there really is a different -- it is a different atmosphere and it is just so special to be able to just have that time. I assume, do you use noise-canceling headphones or do you have any special headphones you like?
Well, I am not a music person. I never watch some movies. I mean one thing on the airplane is to play all kinds of things and you can take other things with you. I read a lot. I read e-books on my iPhone. I can get the Kindle books from Amazon and I read them on the iPhone and I can download those anywhere in the world so -- and I read a lot when I am traveling and of course -- here when I'm home, if I go to a store and have to stand with line, that is a gift, thank you, I would reach down, grab my iPhone and keep on reading.
I absolutely agree and it is interesting to me that you say you are reading it on your iPhone, not like on Kindle or not a device. You don't mind having (crosstalk) you don't mind?
There is a difference between you and me. You have been better looking of course, but for the size we had, the difference is you are female and I am male. You have a purse, I do not. You can carry an extra device. To me, it is a real pain to carry something like an iPad or a Kindle around.
But if my iPhone is a multifunction device, in this country, we keep them on our belt, it is always there. In the Netherlands, they stick them in their pocket, in South Africa, they wear them around their neck.
Interesting. You know the mini iPad is a nice -- I just got a mini iPad and that is kind of a good way to go because it is not as big as the iPad. It is a little smaller than a Kindle and it is a lot thinner so that is it. It is an interesting option and I am finding myself reading in those.
Okay. The other thing is I used my Mac for -- I had the Microsoft office in it so I used that for PowerPoint as well as doing my e-mail and writing books and so on and with the iPad, it won't run a PowerPoint.
Oh, that's right. How interesting, interesting.
You also have to be very careful about the systems that you use because wherever you go, it's got to be compatible with local stuff so...
The local AB people can plug it and use it.
And when you're traveling, how do you get around that heavy expense you get from the extra cost when you're in another country? Do you do the locals -- do you buy a local phone or do -- because there are such heavy charges when you're going to international calling plan.
Yeah. Well, in most of these other countries, they are much more civilized about that. They have a phone company on every corner and you can buy a sim card. The problem is I'm only there for a few days so it just doesn't pay. I don't use the phone a lot. It's more of an emergency device. I can call my contact, I can call home, my home can call me -- use it and dial the regular number -- and if they find you in Singapore, it is amazing but I don't use it a great deal just for that and I don't do my -- well you can have Skype on your iPhone.
And so if you have a Wi-Fi saved on, you always have that in a lobby of a hotel.
You know, I love Skype and for even planning my trips -- I can call up the countries I'm going to and book and not worry about having to have the heavy cost of even planning my trip, that is where I actually have been using it for some time. Well, I want people to know how to reach you because you have such an amazing amount of great books and information available to people. What's the best website?
I've got so many because I believe now that you can use different websites for each book, but people interested in books should go to parapub.com, think parachutes and publishing and the round the world information is all with roundtheworld.com which is rtw2d, round the world in 2 days, that's rtw2d.com.
Very fun to read and definitely I recommend Air Travel Handbook: Tips, Tricks and Secrets on Flying which is available on Amazon and all your Kindle devices as well, correct?
Yeah. People go to Amazon and just type my name and spell it correctly, Poynter and all the books will pop up.
Well, happy flying Dan. I'm sure I'll meet you in the air one of these flights and I won't book you a United 2B okay?
Okay. Well, I hope I'll find you in 2A.
Right too, I should definitely go. And I'll book 2A. Thank you so much and if you ever make it over here to Maui, please give us a call.
You're on my list. Thank you very much Cindy.
Aloha and happy flying.
And I do want to say that I'm so excited that my new book the Travel Angel handbook is coming out very soon. I have a travel angel app which you can easily visit. It's travelangel.net and I also have this book, it's coming out as an e-book, the Travel Angel handbook, probably it would be out in about a week so depending on when you listen to this, you can check out travelangel.net or the travelangel.com. One of the things I love to do when I'm traveling is to really get a herbal remedy kit together. That could be like anything that you know works. For me, what really works when I'm traveling as I mentioned to Dan is having vitamin D3, I take Airborne. I take those little packets of emergency. Those are not quite as strong as Airborne. So you know it's kind of nice to have if you don't want to get those two heavily with Airborne, you can take the emergency and we were talking about melatonin, which I do believe is really helpful. I don't see the effects of it. One of the things you might want to think about if you're hoping to use melatonin to overcome jet lag is you need to have it in your system so you won't take it a few weeks before your trip to as being at work. Valerian is really helpful. Valerian has been used for years to relax you and you can get that in herbal form. Lavender is another wonderful thing to take. Lavender is very relaxing -- a wonderful eye mask made from lavender.
And you know I had not used the lavender eye mask before my last trip and I just tried that out and I absolutely love it. It was so soothing in the eyes and when you put an eye mask on, all that extra energy in light and everything that's great, you have that and you have your noise-canceling headset and you're in your own beautiful world. All you need is a lot of great music and then you're really ready to fly. So I suggest checking that out. What I also like to take is some great herbal teas, the ones that are naturally sweet. I love the most like the Gooder Teas, have you ever tried Gooder Teas, it's really awesome teas, they don't need any sugar. I'll get the decaffeinated one because I don't want to be just freaking out with too much caffeine when I'm on a plane. Another one is the Celestial Seasonings, some of the __27:20__ very heavy and vitamin C are very good. They try to sell a cup of coffee when you're traveling and I think you will really find that some herbal teas will benefit you. You want to drink a lot of water when you're on a long flight. What happens is you get dehydrated because when you're up in the air, definitely there's not much air that you're getting, not as much fresh air for sure and you're under a lot of pressure and you get dehydrated so you want to -- really they suggest, experts, to drink 8 oz of water every hour. It is kind of hard to do but if you have some herbal teas you can do that. Another good thing to take is ginger. If you get it all seasick or your stomach gets motion sickness, ginger really, really works. There is a rescue remedy that I find extremely helpful which makes you relaxed and it's all holistic and then there is zinc which I say is very good if you have colds and last but not the least, the colloidal silver nose inhaler.
This you can get as a spray and the colloidal silver is very helpful to knocking out cold so you can use a dash of that [inaudible] over the ingredients of the herbal remedy kit one more time, vitamin D3, Airborne, the emergency, melatonin, Valerian, lavender, peppermint oil which is really helpful as well, herbal teas, aloe vera, I didn't mention that is really good if you get a cut in this size you should have that, ginger, rescue remedy, zinc, colloidal silver nose inhaler and possibly Vaseline. I have been using Vaseline and I just put it on the rim of my nose and this seems to keep the bacteria that you get on the plane out. Again, you can go to the travelangel.net. There my travel angel app is available, also my daily travel blog is available there and I really hope that you find your trip a truly inspiring adventure. We really can make the most of our travels and it's really always possible to change your whole state of mind and be inspired with memories for a lifetime any time you travel so I wish you really a pleasant time traveling and I would really like to say Vaya con Dios, Go with God in your travels and thank you so much for listening. From Maui, this is Cindy Paulos saying Aloha.
It's good to talk.