Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

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We all have seen those super fresh, impeccably dressed women breeze through the airport, their skin dewy and their faces plastered with a giant grin. Why don’t they have crumbs on their shirts? How can they fit all their belongings neatly into one sleek bag? And why on earth are they smiling?

After a ten-hour flight (or even a one-hour flight these days), it seems utterly impossible that anyone could look so glamorous and refreshed.

The truth is, the only difference between these women and us lowly earth-dwellers is that they have a few more secrets and tricks up their wrinkle-free sleeve. We grilled three of these ultimate travel gals for the personal secrets to staying fabulous throughout any flight.

The three original Tango Divas answered each of our most pressing questions with their own unique style, offering a wide range of travel solutions for any woman. Learn what Tango Diva founder Teresa Rodriguez Williamson snacks on in-flight and what Tango Diva editor-in-chief Stephanie Block swears by to ensure VIP treatment in airports. Adapting their tips will help you feel and look amazing in even the worst travel conditions.

1. How would you define your style when traveling by airplane?

Stephanie (S): Comfy! I have long given up on the ridiculous days of super tight jeans and stiletto heels.


Teresa (T):
My style is all about fashionable comfort. Stretchy, stylish clothing that will keep me warm on chilly planes and comfy shoes I can put on and take off easily.


Patti (P):
My style is all over the map – leaning towards comfy and wrinkle free – but defaults to what’s clean and how I am feeling minutes before I leave for the airport.

2. What’s your go-to travel outfit? What about shoes?

S: On the plane, I wear charming, customizable Sweatsedos.
I think the must-have travel suit is of the velour track variety. But once you slap a hilarious or sassy saying on them, and customize the colors and styles to your personal taste, you look like a rock star! Slip on/slip off shoes are a must. I just ruined my ultimate travel shoes traipsing through Egyptian deserts chasing down tombs, but they were hot pink accented Ecco (again, comfy!)

T:
Lately I have been sporting yoga pants with a black BCBG wrap-around sweater and cute tennis shoes.


P:
My go-to outfit is comfortable pants with an elastic waist and long sleeve, light-weight top that breathes and topped with an easy fold-away jacket.

I use jewelry to define my look. I love those little plastic things that prevent earrings from slipping off. And for shoes – no rubber soles. I learned sometime ago that rubber soles melt quickly if there is an in-flight emergency.

3. How do you feel and look after a flight? Where could you go straight from the airport without feeling under-dressed?

S: The key to feeling awesome is sleeping on that damn plane. There is no other way to arrive not feeling like total shit. Don’t drink or have a lot of caffeine. After that first glass of celebratory champagne, cool it. I always head straight to the hotel after a trip, no exceptions. I feel oppressed by all the world’s germs that I’m pretty sure I’m now carrying.


T:
When I get off, I look like hell if it is a red-eye and I am sitting in coach. I look like a rock star if I am flying anywhere in First Class. How can you not with never-ending champagne? After a first class flight, I could go straight to an international cocktail party.


P:
I freshen up with a MLAB facial mist and lotion, fresh mascara and lipstick, and brush my teeth if the flight is lengthy. I keep my colors simple – black, white, solids.

I keep a small makeup case of jewelry with several earrings and pendants so I can dress up or down at a moments notice and a simple pair of black heels so I am ready for dining out or a surprise business meeting.

4. What are your travel essentials you always bring on a flight?

S: The biggest essential for overseas flights is a first class or business class ticket. I also make sure that my carry-on tote is large and empty so that I can accumulate galore whilst gone! Finally, I’m not going to schlep an iPod, Bose headphones, DVD players, neck pillows and other nonsense across continents. If I have a book, it’s one I’m prepared to leave in a hotel library somewhere.


T:
I take a neck pillow and my iPhone (on airplane mode).


P:
I take a small blow up pillow, Clean Well hand sanitizer, sound reducing headphones, earplugs and chapstick. b> I also bring Tango Diva bookmarks to hand out to anyone interested. And printouts of all the e-newsletters I haven’t read. I’m also prepared with colorful tissue paper for wrapping spontaneous gifts.

5. What are your essential travel snacks?

S: As I always fly first/business, I never need snacks. And eating a lot while flying is a sure-fire way to arrive feeling like shit. I have gotten food poisoning several times from airline food.

Don’t order the beef or shrimp. Just don’t. I do stock up on supplies in the first/biz flight lounges in transit. A 7-Up or chamomile tea to fortify the travel tummy and a handful of cookies, biscuits or crackers is always good to grab. If I’m traveling to an exotic destination, I always bring granola bars because I know the tummy will probably need them at some point.


T:
Dr. Melina bars. My favorite is peanut butter and chocolate.


P:
Lately all I want is water, water, water. Recently I sat next to a gal who had those tiny individual Crystal Light packets so I may pick some of those up for future flights.

6. What do you do during a flight?

S: Sleep! At least five hours. Then I watch movies and allow myself frivolous trash– it’s the only time when I buy those stupid Hollywood rags. I exercise my brain with crosswords or Sudoku. Being a last-minute Lucy, the long flight is when I do my hardcore research about a destination. This is when I dip into the books about the social and or political history of a country.


T:
Chat with who ever is sitting next to me. I love meeting new people on planes.


P:
I usually connect with my seat partner initially and then settle down to a book or in-flight movie. I love the radio channels that provide interviews with successful business people and I dig scoring an empty row to stretch out and snooze thru a long international flight.

7. What travel disasters are you always prepared for (big or small)?

S: This when your first/ biz class tickets pay off. If you’re mega-delayed, there is a beautiful lounge. And the customer service is far and away superior. Once, when my flight was so delayed that I would have missed my connection, American Airlines actually picked me up at the gate in a personal car and drove me across the tarmac to my gate.


T:
Dry mouth and dehydration. I always carry gum and eye drops.


P:
Small disasters like spilling and staining your top – I keep touch-up cleaning packets. Crying babies or chattering teenagers – I keep a set of earplugs in my purse. I have programmed airline numbers into my cell for “real person help” with delayed flights and getting alternative flight choices.

8. What general tips do you have for Tango Divas who want to stay “fabulous” while in the air?

S: You must have a face spritzer. Even if it’s one of those small Evian misters, being able to spray some delicious moisture on your face is refreshing and rejuvenating.

I find that what makes a tremendous difference for me is saying ‘yes’ to that last offer of tea or coffee that comes around just before landing. That way I am revived enough to get through customs and get to my hotel. But you don’t need anything more fabulous than as much water as you can possibly put your hands on while flying.


T:
Nothing says “Jet Set” like a big beautiful smile. So smile and treat the airline staff well.


P:
Stay positive, friendly, respectful, and discreet. Opt-in for day passes at the Clublevel during layovers. It’s amazing how invigorating it is and who you can meet!

9. What are your travel etiquette tips?

S: Smile and be nice! The difference between your ass getting stuck in O’Hare versus you snagging that last seat to Paris is your attitude! Though they might not own the airline, the ticket agents (as far as you’re concerned) are the kings and queens of the airline. They can work magic, and are more apt to do so if you are nice, patient, and understanding. This is also true with the people at hotel registration desks and any other service person you can think of. (Note: Being able to say hello to a customs officer in the local language is KEY! Not many travelers do this.)


T:
Be nice.


P:
Speak clearly and use direct eye contact with airline staff. They get hassled all day long and will respond positively if addressed with respect. Keep travel accessories organized and out of your seat partner’s way. Try to use fragrance-free lotions and potions.

10. What is the ultimate airplane faux pas?

S: Not doing your homework. If you find yourself in the middle seat in the back of an overseas plane for which you’ve paid a small fortune, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you sense that something is not right, have the cojones to change it. Speak up. If you arrive and hate your destination or hotel, MOVE! Don’t stay in a situation just because you think you have to. It’s your trip. Take control!


T:
Yelling at airline personnel or getting drunk on a plane.


P:
I am guessing vomiting in the cabin would be the worst ever – but so far – knocking on wood – I have yet to really know!

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