Baffled by bidets

We have all come across puzzling things in our travels: things like Limburger cheese and sacred cows in India. Usually we ask, “What the heck is it?” or, “What”s going on?” But there is one item that every American encounters in Europe but seldom has the courage to investigate further. I am talking about the bidet.

6 things to pack for safety

People’s packing lists can be very revealing. I have friends who won’t travel without their laptop, their chihuahua, their electric toothbrush, their binoculars and, yes, even their mother-in-law. But there are really only six things you absolutely must carry — because they can save your life.

It’s all about me

In this space, I’ve written about Clark Gable, Willie Nelson and Thomas the Tank Engine. This time ’round, however, the column is all about me. So if you don’t want to hear wax eloquent in self-reference, now’s the time to click on your browser’s “Back” button.

Traveling with your boss

One of these days, you will have to travel somewhere with your boss. Will the trip be a career maker, or will you come home to clean out your desk? Lady Luck isn’t in charge here — you are. If you plan ahead and keep your cool, your trip with the boss may be your ticket to the top.

Build your cognitive reserve

Business travel can be frustrating, infuriating — even dangerous. Most of us do it because we have to. But here’s another reason: All the hustle and bustle, all the flight delays and the grumpy seat mates, may actually make your mind more resilient. And that’s a good thing. Psychologists call it “building your cognitive reserve.”

Witless passenger behavior

It’s a common battle cry among today’s travelers and travel writers: “The airlines suck! ” Maybe they do. I am no fan of the airlines, but I am not a blustering critic of them either. It’s the passengers I think need fixing. Welcome to “Witless Passenger Behavior,” a primer for traveling nincompoops.

Nice to meet you!

So, you’re sitting in your window seat, three hours of flying ahead of you, when a total stranger takes the seat next to you. You check him out surreptitiously, wondering, Is this my new best friend? A business deal in the making? Or am I in for three hours of Joe’s hernia operation? Herewith, some advice for managing in-flight small talk.

Terry’s Travel OSTARs

Welcome to Terry’s Travel OSTARs. Today we will screen one of the strangest assortments of online travel clips that we have seen in years. See the plane (almost) land in the crosswind! Marvel at the pickup ploy! Cover the kiddies’ eyes for the hotel bathroom scene! It’s awards time at the Academy of Video-clip Gags and Advertisements. And the winner is …

How embarrassing

Have you ever boarded the wrong plane? Thrown up on your seat mate? Locked yourself out of your hotel room wearing nothing but your skivvies? Travel has its share of embarrassing moments, that’s for sure. Is there anything you can do about them?

Secret powers

Terry RileyTravel would be so much more pleasant if it weren’t for all the obnoxious people. You know the ones. The guy who hollers into his cell phone in the airport lounge. The kid who runs up and down the aisle of the plane. The desk clerk who chats with a colleague while you cool your heels at the counter. But you have secret powers to stop them.