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Sunrise at Dulles Airport in Washington DC

How to Be a Terrible Traveler: My Top 8 Tips

A few nights ago, lying sleepless in bed due to jet lag after my 26-hour journey from the United States to South Africa two days before, I had a profound realization: I am a really terrible traveler. “How can Heather be a terrible traveler?” you may be asking. I often ask myself the same question. Nine years ago I chose to move across the world, knowing it would mean a lifetime of transatlantic travel. Then I became a travel writer. I travel all the time, for a living no less. And yet I’m terrible at it. I get worse and worse every year. Would you like to be a terrible traveler too? It makes for great conversation. Just ask my friends and family who have the privilege of listening to me moan about traveling — for weeks or even months before, during, and after my annual pilgrimage from South Africa to the United States and back. Just in case, here are my top eight tips for being a terrible traveler. Terrible Tip #1: Don’t Make a List Packing lists are for sissies. Why plan when you can just wing it? Throw a bunch of clothes into your suitcase a couple […]

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Sunrise at O.R. Tambo, one of Joburg's two major airports

Joburg Airports: O.R. Tambo vs. Lanseria

Travelstart asked me to write a blog post about the cheap domestic flights it offers in South Africa. Of course I agreed — blogging assignments are easy when the thing you’re asked to blog about is actually useful. And every traveler in South Africa knows Travelstart is the best place to book domestic travel. The last time I booked a domestic flight — a round trip from Joburg to Cape Town — I used Travelstart. The process was seamless and the fare was, as promised, cheap. I just made one mistake: forgetting to pay attention to which airport I was flying from. I normally fly out of O.R. Tambo, Joburg’s main international airport. But I accidentally booked this flight out of Lanseria. On Travelstart, flights from Lanseria are clearly marked “HLA” and flights from O.R. Tambo are “JNB”. Somehow I missed this. I noticed my error a day or two before the trip and cursed my stupidity. It was a 6:30 a.m. flight and now I would have to drive myself all the way out to Lanseria at 4:30 in the morning. I didn’t even consider Ubering because I figured it would be too expensive. Because Lanseria is so far, I thought. […]

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I Died and Went to Airplane Heaven

Before this week, I never thought much about where airplanes go when they can no longer fly. Really, I never thought about it at all. Why would I? A dead South African airplane. Actually though, airplane death a topic worth thinking about. Airplanes are big, and heavy. It’s not like you can hitch a dead plane to the back of  a tow truck and take it to the nearest junk yard. It turns out that around here, at least some dead airplanes wind up at an “airplane graveyard” at Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg. There are 30 or 40 old planes there, scattered haphazardly in an open field next to an unused airport runway.

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