Recently two fairly untraveled friends of mine have asked for Cosmic packing advice. Now, considering I can do a 5 day business trip in a 22" rollerbag and a backpack, I’m hardly an average traveler (oh, and I can pack that bag in under 10 minutes), but I’m always willing to try. So, much like "Plastics" I have decided to condense my advice into two easy to remember points – quality footwear and coughdrops. First, the coughdrops. Now, most people know that plane air is dry and stale. And most people carry gum for takeoff and landing. Well, replace the gum with coughdrops and make your throat happier as you pop your ears while waiting for your specimen cup of "complimentary beverage". (TSA gel, cream and aerosol warning – might want to avoid the ones with the liquid center – better safe than cavity checked in "the little room".)
Secondly, but perhaps most importantly, revisit your shoes. There are, once again, two key points – TSA ease of removal and comfort (not to mention speed) for moving through airports. Ideally, your "airport shoes" should double as your work shoes and sightseeing shoes for conservation of baggage space and weight (shoes are heavy and the new weight restrictions make every ounce count). Those of you that run while on the road can stop here, since you will have to find the space for your running shoes, but for the rest of you, I’ve found three brands that have worked for me. First, Cole Haan moccasins and loafers – never go with a shoe that isn’t easy to slide on and off (TSA) or that looks overly casual (sport or beach sandals/thongs). The Cole Haan Country collection has shoes that meet these criteria perfectly, but they require breaking in. For years I mixed and matched Cole Haan loafers and Rockports – another great shoe that meets our criteria. These days? It’s Merrells, hands down. Now, you have to be careful (lots of Merrells look far too casual for a work environment) but in general these are perfect travel shoes out of the box – comfortable, business casual, easy to put on and take off, sturdy and requiring no break in period.
Finally, for all of you that aren’t seeing tennis shoes mentioned here – that’s cause they don’t really meet either criteria and have other "issues". They take time to take off and more time to put back on and they hardly double as dinner or business wear (no, not even the black ones – they just make you look like you need a pocket protector). Yes, they are comfortable but please, I beg of you, avoid being in front of or behind the guy wearing the sneakers in the TSA line. Sneakers = foot funk. Serious foot funk. Now think about it – do *you* want to be the guy with the funky feet who gets pulled for a random security check, kills two people and hospitalizes four others due to respiratory problems related to the green fog emanating from betwixt their toes? I thought not. Ditch the sneaks.