Travel advice from a consummate wanderer

Don’t let unexpected challenges derail your wanderlust
Don’t let unexpected challenges derail your wanderlust
The cable car to Cape Town’s Table Mountain with  Lion’s Head Mountain in the background.  /Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

PAWTUCKET – I have a friend who will not travel because of bedbugs. We’d say she’s meshugga (crazy), yet her fear has made me a little crazy, too.

Whenever we’re in a hotel, my husband hands me the flashlight and says, “Go check for bedbugs.” We both laugh at our running joke.

I also think about the pleasures that travel brings – new sights, foods, cultures and people – and offer some pointers I’ve learned from my years of travel.

Incorporate some Jewishness in your trip, if you can

Whenever my husband and I travel, we seek out at least one Jewish place to visit or eat.

On a trip to Washington, D.C., I visited the Library of Congress to see the life exhibit of Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine. The program about two Jewish kids from New York turned out to be very informative.

On a trip to New York City, we made sure to eat at Carnegie Deli, home of delicious matzah ball soup, corned beef, bagels and lox, knishes, and sour pickles. Although the food is delicious, Carnegie Deli’s best assets are its entertaining servers – right out of a Yiddish comedy.


Select the venue to fit your vacation goals

For a totally relaxing vacation, choose an all-inclusive resort where you don’t need to carry your wallet – you can charge everything to the room – or think about anything except choosing kayaking or snorkeling, for example.

On the other hand, for a religiously-themed vacation, you’ll need to do some research to find a city or venue that offers enough “Jewish stuff” –museums, synagogues, architecture or food, for example.

Pay attention to your surroundings

Is the parking secure, lighted and/or indoors? We once stayed at a hotel in a very nice office park and the next morning when we went to our car, geese and ducks, which had invaded the parking lot, began to chase us.

Other tips

Before booking a hotel, one friend always asks, “How recently was the hotel remodeled?” She won’t stay in a hotel unless it’s been refurbished within the past five years.

You can get a sense of the hotel by how you are greeted by the concierge and the front desk people. Are they friendly and knowledgeable? Are they eager to see you?

Book a room away from the elevator; otherwise, you may hear the elevator as it travels up and down all night. Avoid staying near the air conditioning or boiler systems for the same reason.

Ask for what you want! I am allergic to feather pillows. Our travel agent specifies something other than feather for us, yet, too often, hotels give us a feather comforter and pillows. Persist and get what you want.

Finally, travel allows you to create memories and fulfill dreams – be they for business or pleasure. But, happy traveling means that you must roll with the punches (and minor inconveniences), so keep traveling, learning, sharing and enjoying.

MIRIAM R. PLITT ( has most recently traveled within New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. She is always exploring and discovering.