Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Travel Tales: Being OCD(ish)

Travel | Posted by Doc List
Sep 14 2017

As a frequent traveler, I find myself greatly amusing with some frequency.

For example, I like to set up my toiletries just so in the bathroom. I feel frustrated when I stay in a hotel room that has a vanity that is too small for my stuff. (Feel free to laugh along) There’s the face stuff and dental stuff and cotton swabs and so on, and I’m accustomed to each of them having a space and location in my setup.

As a result of this OCDish-ness, I find it annoying when the housekeeper comes in and rearranges my stuff. After all, isn’t it obvious that I put some effort into putting it all where I want it? Seriously. Isn’t it obvious?

On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed having the bed made and the trash emptied and so on. And yet, on the other other hand, it baffles me that the housekeeper will replace the soap (after a single day) or lotion (which I haven’t used) or even leave a second one because that’s what they do.

On my current trip, I remembered a couple of friends who left their Do Not Disturb signs on their doors for their entire stays. When I asked them why they said: “I don’t want anyone coming in and messing with my stuff.” As I was getting set up on Sunday night after arriving I wondered “I wonder what that would be like?”

I boldly decided to experiment and put out the Do Not Disturb sign and have left it there for four days. I think it’s important to understand one thing (besides the fact that I’m kinda OCD): I’m a VERY neat sleeper. When I wake up all I need to do is pull the sheet and blanket up a bit and the bed looks totally made. I realized that if I want fresh towels (which I really don’t need every day) I can just leave the towels outside the door. And I don’t make that much trash and have left that outside in nice plastic bags.

Did I mention the towels? One thing that has baffled me is that ALL of the hotels have these nice hanging tags that suggest reusing towels to save water and energy. I ALWAYS hang them up for the first day or two. Housekeeping ALMOST ALWAYS replaces them anyway.

So here I am in my private space into which NO ONE HAS INTRUDED. I’ve reused towels, emptied my own trash, made my own bed, and… I LIKE IT!

My toiletries stay where I want them. There is no waste of water or energy to wash towels that don’t need washing. There is no waste of free toiletries (which I sometimes take home to donate to homeless shelters and the like).

Overall I like it. I do.

I might have to have my own, private, personal Do Not Disturb sign printed so I can take it with me everywhere.

Because I am kinda OCDish. 😉

 

Travel tip: call forwarding

Travel | Posted by Doc
Apr 06 2011

I’m in Sweden. It’s chilly and damp, much of the time.  I’m separated from my wife and children by thousands of miles and seven timezones.

I brought my iPhone 4 with me, just because I can’t bear to be away from it.  And I brought the unlocked LG phone I bought last year, which has a SIM card from O2 in the UK.

There was a balance on my SIM card, so rather than buy another one here in Sweden (mistake), I decided to use the one I have and use up the minutes.

First challenge: topping up my prepaid SIM. Can’t use an American credit card by web or phone. After a couple of hours of screwing around, I finally reached a real person.  She was lovely, after confirming that I can’t use my cards by web or phone and suggesting I go to an ATM.  “But I’m in Sweden,” I opined.

As I had also wanted to add their “International Favourites” plan, she was kind enough to say “I’ll add 15 pounds to your card, to cover the plan and give you some money so you can make important calls.” I was impressed with that. It’s not a lot of money, but that’s good customer service (after the abysmal experience with the website and automated phone stuff).

Once she gave me the credit, I was able to set up the International Favourites, which includes three US numbers to which I can make up to 3000 minutes of calls per month, and a direct-dial US number for them to call me so there are no international call charges from the US.

Here are the tips I learned from this:

  • If you have a SIM from another country, find out about topping it up. I’m going to set up auto-top-up when I get to London tomorrow. Then I’ll never have to deal with that again.
  • If the carrier has a plan like O2 does, with a number in another country, get it, because…
  • I have AT&T. Call forwarding is done at their switch in the US, not on my phone. So I forwarded my mobile number to the O2 number in Houston. This means that anyone can call me using my mobile US number, and they’ll be forwarded to my UK-based mobile without even knowing it!
    • I was at dinner last night, after setting this up fifteen minutes earlier, when my UK mobile rang. It was someone calling me from the US. It worked!
Now to figure out how to unlock my iPhone 3G and iPhone 4, and just put the SIM cards directly into them. 🙂

P.S. I got a prepaid SIM for my iPad here in Sweden. Fixed price, unlimited data. It’s worth the investment, since I’ll be coming back here again this year.  One for each country, maybe.

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