Dan Pink's travel tips

As a public speaker Dan Pink travels a lot. He's created a dozen travel tip videos that are entertaining and he actually shoots the videos while he is waiting in airports for his next flight.

Tip #1 — Never get sick again
Tip #2 — The magic of earplugs
Tip #3 — Four road food rules of thumb
Tip #4 — The rule of HAHU
Tip #5 — More hygiene!
Tip #6 — Staying connected
Tip #7 — Zipping through security lines
Tip #8 — One thing you should never do in a hotel room
Tip #9 — The secret(s) to beating jet lag
Tip #10 — The first thing you should buy
Tip #11 – The hidden benefits of Mickey D’s


  1. Good tips. Something about tip #7 though, despite being true, strikes me as oddly similar to the lines Clooney uttered in “Up in the Air.” Something about pacing of the video, perhaps.

  2. Tip 1 – use antibiotic ointment in your nose. While I was watching it I thought, well, that’s not a bad idea to prevent bacterial infections. Wouldn’t do anything for a virus. Then one beat later, the guy claims that the antibiotic ointment stops him from getting colds and sinus infections (colds are viral, sinus infections are often viral). Oh well. 

    1. The petrolatum in the ointment might actually do that by keeping the viruses away from dry, cracked mucosa. But you could just use a tube of vaseline for that.

      1. Interesting. I wonder how many viruses would get stuck to your schnoz, and how many would pass on through to your esophagus and lungs?

        1. People rarely get lung infections compared to the number of nasal/sinus/pharyngeal infections. If your mucosa are not in tip-top shape, you get more infections. That’s one of the reasons that doctors try to manage non-infectious sinusitis; the damaged areas are a gateway for infections.

          Still, for avoiding colds and infections, nothing works better than being a hermit.

  3. His first tip, to smear bacitracin in his nostrils to protect himself from infection, doesn’t make sense to me. First, colds – which he claims now to be protected from – are caused by viruses, which are unaffected by antibiotics such as bacitracin. Second, studies suggest that air travelers are unlikely to be infected through airborne pathogens; you’re much more likely to pick up something nasty from the toilet or your tray table. (This is true of colds generally: it’s not the person sneezing in your vicinity that you need to be wary of, but whatever they’re sneezing on).

    I am no epidemiologist, but it sounds to me that he’s been dosing himself with a healthy handful of new Extra-Strength Placebo.

  4. Not sure about the ointment up the nostrils, and it seems really weird that people need to be told how useful earplugs are, but I love listening to this guy. I’d like to go on a trip with him, he seems like a lot of fun.

  5. Saline nose spray is a better way to protect yourself on planes (and in sealed hotels). It not only keeps germs at bay, it keeps your sinuses wet. Dry air on planes is as much of a problem as the germs.

      1. Sam: Yes, both my experience for over ten years of using it and the advice of my doctor, my ENT, and many other folks who use it.

        Having dry sinuses allows airborne germs to lodge in  your nose. Having wet sinuses keeps things flushed out. But, equally important is “humidifying” your sinuses on planes because of the dry air.

          1. Sam: Dan’s video is purely anecdotal as well. But, there’s logic in his suggestions and there’s logic in mine. Personally, I think antibiotics are over used and I prefer a simpler solution if it can be found. I found one (for me).

  6. I’m fully convinced there is no universal remedy for jet lag.  I frequently fly a route that sends me to a time zone 12 hours away.  I’ve solved the problem in one direction (jet lag is minimal), but nothing works in the opposite direction (results ranging from flu like symptoms, to acute fatigue for a week, to borderline insanity).  Time of departure, arrival differ by 4 hours.  Yet that’s enough to change results dramatically.  And yes, I’ve tried his method (one of the worst).

    On the other hand, I fully endorse trying international McDonalds.  Having beer and fries brought to your table at the Brenner Pass McD’s while looking out at snow covered Alps is awesome.

  7. Tip #6: Wow, I have yet to pay for Wi-fi while on the road.  (Oddly, though, the more expensive your hotel is, the greater the odds that they charge for EVERYTHING.)
    Tip #7: To zip through security, avoid American airports.

    My tips:
    #1: Have two sets of personal toiletry.  Your travel set and your home set. 
    This way, there’s no risk of forgetting something.  The toiletry bag should have a crush-proof section – modify it if necessary. 
    #1a: If you use an electric toothbrush that uses ‘AA’ batteries, flip one of them over into the wrong position, so that even if the power switch gets turned on, it won’t.

    #2: Shower before you travel and wear a fresh set of clothes.  You’ll find that you’re less itchy and that you pick at yourself a lot less.

    #3: Drink water.  Lots of it.  You GI tract will thank you.

  8. I feel like I live in an alternate universe from this guy.

    Ask which line will be the quickest?  You get pointed to a line and you have to go there.  Try to finesse your way into a premier security line?  Sigh.  Resist putting on the TV the minute you walk in the hotel room  or else you’ll end up sitting there for hours.  Really…that’s a thing? Businessmen are the quickest through security lines?  Sometimes, yes, but they’re just as likely as to take longer, between having to pull out and turn on the laptop and forgetting things in their pockets so they have to go through 3 times before they’re clear.

    And everything already said above about antibiotics, viruses vs. bacteria, and plain old petroleum jelly.

  9. I just want a tip for not having my ears feeling like they’re going to explode. Popping Benadryl like M&M’s? Done it! Chewing gum? Doesn’t do a thing! Roll up the Skymall catalog and ram it through my eardrum? If you say it works!

    1. Benadryl is an anti-histamine, which dries you out, so it would make the condition worse. You want a decongestant, like Sudafed.

      1. Yeah, Sudafed and Afrin spray are the way to go. Drinking water or juice sometimes works better than chewing gum during takeoff, too. 

  10. useful tips, but… dude sounds like my mom!
    Turn off the TV
    Watch out for germs
    Eat healthy (no soda, it’s bad for you!)

    Ok Mom, I’ll change my underwear and wear a jacket when it’s cold too…

  11. He lost me at “Fly to Singapore and eat at McDonalds.” No sir, you can keep your McFish and Nuggets. For fast food, I’m eating roti prata and a cluster of mangosteens (and I’m lovin’ it).

  12. He lost me at “simple explanations provided strictly as video, rather than the much more conveniently consumable text, for no apparent reason other than the author’s preference and/or hubris.”

    1.  My pet hate is people who do this for tips to fix COMPUTER PROBLEMS.

      “I’ll show you how to set up a router to multiplay Terraria.  Got your pen and paper handy?”  ::bangs head against wall repeatedly:: 

  13. Tip #13: When posting useful tips, provide a text version as well so folks don’t have to sit there watching long videos if they don’t want to.

    1. tl;dr

      Alas, my particular sense of entitlement dictates that I cannot assimilate your tip as you failed to supply it on SACD read by Hugo Weaving while Mr. T takes his first banjolele lesson in the background.

  14. Wow, I have never seen such a bunch of whiny, nay-sayers in one comment thread on Boing Boing before.  This guy is on a plane over 100 times a year and you guys think you know more than he does about traveling!

    Mark, I thank you for posting this.  I will be using at least two of his tips during my upcoming business trip.

    1. Our point is that some of his suggestions aren’t very good or are even counter-productive.

  15. Funny boingboing moment in episode 6. Dan says boingboing instead of boingo when listing wifi subscription services. 

    Or maybe I’m missing something. boingboing wifi? I like it!

  16. What’s the HAHU? Hustle, Anticipate,  Heads Up = try to hustle, anticipate the worst, and count the people around you?

  17. I asked a commercial airline profssional about the nasal goop claim. Here is his response:

    If Mr. Pink’s theory is correct, you might reasonably expect that those who spend their woking lives in aircraft cabins might be the worst affected. – They’re not.The air filters in aircraft cabins are HEPA standard: You’re not at risk as a result of recirculated bugs and germs, but you are if you are sitting next to somebody with a cold – just as on a bus, metro etc.Antiseptic cream doesn’t (and can’t) cure or prevent the common cold: Moist nasal passages however, do help lots of good things to happen, which is why I ram vaseline up my schnoz when going on crew rest – stops tubes drying out while sleeping (or trying to). Oh, the glamour! 

  18. I watched about half of these videos and was not impressed. Here’s some better advice:

    1. Find real food to eat, not fast food, not chain food, not junk food.
    2. Wash your hands often and don’t touch your face (esp. eyes).
    3. Do not use germ-killing lotions; they kill the good germs as well as the bad ones. You want those good ones!
    4. Hotel room? Wash a glass you’re going to use that day yourself, after the staff has washed them. (Do not rely on the staff to have cleaned them well.)
    5. Pay for Wifi; every time I’ve paid it’s worked MUCH better than free wifi. Why get frustrated with free wifi?!
    6. Travel in business or first class if you can; more oxygen there (and less likely to get sick).
    7. Drink a good amount of water.

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