Blog Post #5: Important Travel Tips Learned the Hard Way

Today I’m taking a “Break” (# 7 Word of the Day, smiles) from talking about ASL, Cued Speech, and raising our special needs deaf child. Instead I will share a few handy travel tips with you. I learned these tips the hard way, by experience. My hope by sharing them is it may save you from learning them the hard way too.


I thought I was a genius  (first mistake, lol) for leaving a big suitcase full of my clothes at my sisters house. So all I had to do when I make one of my regular trips traveling across the country to her home is take my non-clothing essentials in a small bag that fits under the airline seat in front of me.  No checked baggage! No heavy carry-on! No lifting a heavy roller case into the overhead bins! And … No clothes to lug around. The only clothes I traveled with are the ones I wore. The only things I traveled with across country were just my purse and a small bag – useful for carrying my meds, a good book to read and my crossword puzzles. 

So on this specific occasion, I boarded the plane and found my middle seat between two men.  The man to my left, sitting by the aisle, almost immediately fell asleep after we took off.  The man to my right , sitting next to the window, exchanged a few pleasantries with me throughout the flight.

Of course I needed to go to the bathroom halfway through the 5 hour flight.

I didn’t want to bother the sleeping man sitting between me and the aisle, so I thought I could wait to go until we arrived at our destination (2nd mistake).  Or, I thought he would wake up soon and then I could go (3rd mistake). As time went by, I got more uncomfortable but still thought I was okay.  It became clear he was going to sleep the entire trip.  

It’s okay, I assured myself, just hang on and as soon as we land the first thing I’ll do is find an airport restroom. Time went by, until finally we were approaching the destination.  I was now wondering if I could make it to the airport bathroom.

It’s okay, I told myself, I can just hop in the plane’s restroom as I’m walking by it to leave the plane.

But alas, the worst happened (THE BIG MISTAKE)— I wet my pants when I was standing up to leave the plane. 

That is the background, now for the lessons learned and tips.


1. Only wear black pants to travel. (They don’t show wetness.)

2. Always carry a spare pair of underwear and shorts in my purse or carryon. Also, bring an empty sealable plastic bag that can hold wet clothes.

3. During a 5 hour plane trip, do not feel afraid to ask the sleeping man to let me get up to go to the bathroom. Yes, I will feel bad about waking him up, but I now know the alternative is worse. (When I feel guilty about bothering the person next to me, I just tell myself over and over “I’m Okay, You’re Okay, I’m Okay, You’re Okay”.)

4. If I have a full bladder, do NOT bend over to retrieve the bag under the seat in front of me. Instead ask the nice man next to me to help retrieve it.

5. It’s practically impossible to look natural while walking in the airport holding my purse in front of my pants and my bag at the back. It would be good to have a long sleeve shirt over my regular shirt for plane trips. If needed, I can take it off and drape it over my butt, tying the sleeves in front of my waist. Then, I can easily carry my bag in front of me, and have any accidents covered naturally, front and back.

6. For planning purposes, be aware it takes 30 minutes flapping a pair of wet shorts in an airport bathroom stall to dry them out. Only then can I walk to an airport store and buy a clean pair of pants unobtrusively. 

7. If all else fails, and I’m dying of embarrassment and hating myself, google the Black Eye Peas lady that so obviously wet her pants on stage, performing in front of an audience! Imitate her dignified reply when someone asked her about it: “Yes, it is embarrassing (and for me I add, yes I made a mistake) and now I’m moving on.” In fact, this phrase and outlook, “Yes I made a mistake and it is embarrassing, and now I’m moving on.” has been useful for me many times, and I don’t hesitate to use it when it is called for.

So, there you have it, my useful hard-learned travel tips.

Here are the links to my signing and cueing YouTube “Word Of The Day” channels. I post a new word every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check it out and I would love to know what you think of them!

ASL Word Of The Day with PSE Sentence Examples:

Cued Speech Word Of The Day:

Also, Check out my Adventure Games in the App Stores:

Please join me for my new blog posts each Friday. Have fun with your ASL Adventures, and / or  your Cued Speech Adventures!

Published by Donna Gateley

Developer of SignCueQuest and CueQuest

2 thoughts on “Blog Post #5: Important Travel Tips Learned the Hard Way

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