Sometimes I’m just too busy to live by the travel secrets I know. For instance, it would have been smart to visit FlatSeats.com to check out the incline of my seat before my flight to Paris two weeks ago (you’ll find information about this Web site and other tactical solutions to travel hassles in our cover story, 26 Travel Secrets).
The angle of the less-than-flat bed was not a good one for me, and it took a day or so to shake the impact it had on my back as I made my rounds of the city (fitting heavy bags into overhead compartments also did not help). Next time—this coming weekend, in fact, on the same airline—I’ll bring along an extra pillow for the overnight trip to Delhi (and get off to a better start by controlling the profusion of books and magazines in my carry-on). It takes only a few minutes—and some presence of mind—to improve your travel experience.
Speaking of better travel experiences: as always, our writers and photographers have done the advance work to make a number of destinations in this issue more richly rewarding for you, our readers. The stomping grounds of Alice Waters since the 1970’s, San Francisco and the Bay Area have long been a vivid shade of green; architecture and design critic Karrie Jacobs scopes out the pleasures of their locally sourced food, sustainable design, and generous swaths of open space (Designed for Living). The rich offerings of the earth and sea also played a role in attracting food writers Matt and Ted Lee to southern Ireland: their quest for authentic flavors in County Cork leads them from pubs and oyster bars to family-owned inns and pilgrimage-worthy restaurants in Celtic Quest. We go slightly off the traveler’s map in our stories on Montenegro (Magic Mountains,) and Cartagena (Cartagena Lights Up), where the beauty of the natural and man-made alike—whether a vibrant colonial town or a medieval monastery—have so far been preserved by a variety of cultural and political factors. But our writers, Charles Maclean and Oliver Schwaner-Albright, concur: Get there fast.
As for travel secrets: my editors and I are always on the lookout. I hope you’ll share some of yours with me at TLEditor@aexp.com.