Top Five To Do Before You Fly

We travel, all over the world, frequently. Sometimes the stress of travel is unavoidable but there are some things that can be done to minimize the plane drain. Already purchased your travel insurance, showing up to airport early, and getting text alerts from your airline? Good work.

Here are a few other travel tips to help make the long haul feel as short as possible:

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate -- We’ve all been there, you’re rushing so hard to grab that last essential, stuff it in the right spot, and still make your flight, that you forget to hydrate. Don’t do it. Dehydration is a major issue when traveling by airplane. The problem arises from spending long periods of time in a climate-controlled environment where the relative humidity can be as low as 10-15%. That’s three times drier than the Sahara desert!

Bring a vessel, chug before you go through security, and fill up in the terminal before you board. Some airlines will give you a bottle of water, or fill up your container on board, but if they only give you that oh-so-small small plastic cup you can finish before they even walk away, don’t be shy about asking to fill it as often as you see them.


2. Kick That Cold-- It’s best to avoid flying if you have a head cold. Changes in cabin pressure  upon take-off, landing, and during pressure changes while in the air, can cause debilitating pain and in some cases cause permanent damage to your inner ears and hearing. Also, research shows that if you sit within two rows of someone sick on a plane you are at a 3.6 percent increased risk of getting it, so your neighbors will certainly thank you for staying home.

However, if you must fly while congested there is a protocol you can follow to reduce the discomfort.  Decongestants like Sudafed work to reduce swelling around your eustachian tubes, giving the ear more of a shot at equalizing. Best to take one of the long-acting brands that lasts 12-hour or 24-hours, an hour before takeoff. Really stuffed up? A nasal spray such as Afrin, taken 30 minutes before takeoff and then 30 minutes before descent, can help shrink swollen tissues, too.


3. Get Loose-- So plane dehydration is real and if you’re really being good you should drink only water and avoid dehydrating liquids like tea, coffee, soda, and--yes--alcohol. BUT if you find that a little nip is what makes that 12th hour in the same position a little more bearable, there’s something you should know. You may not have to pay whatever arm and a leg the airport and airline will try to charge you for it!

In fact, TSA rules state that, “Travelers may carry as many 3.4 ounce bottles of liquid (mini bottles of liquor are 1.7 ounces) that fit comfortably in one, quart sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag. Comfortable means that the bag will seal without busting at the seams. One bag is permitted per passenger.” The only caveat here is that certain airlines have strict policies about consuming your own alcohol onboard. So relax, enjoy responsibly, and don’t forget to refer back to number #1. Hydrate even more!!

4. Get Comfy--  You know those neck pillows and eye masks you pass as you jog for your flight? Consider stopping one of these days and picking them up. It’s tempting to dismiss these things as bulky and not effective enough to be worth the money. But try them once on an overnight flight and it’s guaranteed to be a game changer. You may find you’ll never be able to fly without them again. For a neck pillow, we recommend the memory foam type, like this one, they seem to work much better than the bigger, less effective, basic fill ones.


5. Carry-on Smart-- In addition to water and 3.4 ounce bottles of your choice it’s wise to pack a few adventure snacks, prescription meds, and basic toiletries into your backpack or carry-on. Planes are notoriously cold too, so always pack a light jacket or sarong and keep in mind any essential clothing you may need for your final destination. You never know, you could arrive to 3 days of unexpected snow as we did on our last audition adventure in London.

Finally, consider bringing both a tablet and analog reading materials. There are sometimes long periods of time to kill in airports and in the air.  In those moments and without your own pages, you may find yourself devouring an article in the in-flight mag about online dating and will never be able to get those minutes of your life back again.

Adventure safe, wander far, and enjoy running around the world.  


New York City

As we make final preparations for our upcoming auditions across the pond in London, we look back fondly on our last SOS Team rendezvous in New York City. No joke, NYC never sleeps, and it totally rocks your senses.


For musicians in town with new tracks to lay down, stop by to say hi and check out our studio, Taste Sounds, on the Lower East Side. Start off down Grand Street on the corner of Essex at Kossar’s, where bagels are baked fresh daily, or if you have the time, sit down for breakfast at the well worth the wait Clinton Street Bakery near Essex St Station.  New York is full of endless foodie opportunities: Himalayan, Italian, Asian, Greek, you name it from Brooklyn to Uptown and over to Queens--so much pizza, all the pizza. Check out the infamous Joe’s Pizza in Manhattan or Brooklyn, you might run into a celebrity.


In addition to all the Halal food carts along the sidewalks to the corners where the bodega game is strong, you can also hear some fine, perhaps some of the finest musical talent the current scene holds. You can trade in tokens for a pint at the Brooklyn Brewery and then catch any number of bands lay down funky, fun, and diverse musical shenanigans onstage at the Brooklyn Steel (we snagged two last minute tickets to sold out “Vulfpeck”). A bit farther south in Williamsburg there are always tasty tunes and micro-brews at Skinny Dennis and Duff’s goth bar down the street, to roll into after a couple matches of skeeball.


In the fall you can dance the weekend away with your favorite new artists or 90’s bands at the Meadows Fest in Queens before you head back over the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan, where on any given evening you can catch intimate shows such as Julian Lage at John Zorn’s historic downtown jazz club, The Stone**, or Norah Jones at Le Poisson Rouge.


And we haven’t even talked about Broadway yet. Once the full team arrived and the work was done (we hosted a tremendously successful audition at the Ripley Grier Studios in Midtown), we went and spun around snapping selfies in Times Square before “team building” activities began. First we caught the side-splittingly hilarious Book Of Mormon and got a full tour backstage!


After a show, there is a perfect place to meet old friends, Rudy’s on 9th ave where $5 gets you a hotdog, beer and a shot, why not!? It’s also right down the road from Birdland.


For more music head south to Greenwich Village where it is well worth taking a $3 trip down the stairs (careful not to stumble)  to the Fat Cat for some live jazz and a game of pool or chess. The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard and The 55-Bar are also nearby. Just across the street, if you skipped the Broadway show and got in line early, you would likely run into a familiar face down at  Smalls (only holds 60 people, hence the name) while Chris Potter and Ari Hoenig trade choruses.


By day, you’d have no problem getting in your 10,000 steps in as you meander around town and up to Columbus Circle. Take a moment to flip off the Trump tower, catch a couple innings of slow pitch softball, and have a lakeside lunch at the boathouse in Central Park.  Throw in a small donation and wander through a few exhibits at the MET and up to the rooftop overlooking the park.  Finish up your final evening with rooftop Martinis on Wall Street before you hop back on skateboards, trains, and planes, east and west across country and overseas to your prospective destination. Leave with your belly and mind full. Happy and alert, all your senses fully engaged, in some cases overwhelmed.


Thank you New York City, we know you never sleep… but while we do, we will see you in our dreams.




#supports #urban #living #work #play #brooklyn #manhattan #williamsburg #Broadway #music #live #jazz #teambuilding #planes #trains #taxis #skateboards


*Sadly, the Stone, a gem of a venue closed in February 2018


The Road Less Traveled

It is nearly impossible not to come back fully relaxed from one of our top favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica. The easy packing and unpacking from this trip is enough to sell itself. A near-perfect climate from November through March allows for wearing little more than tank tops, board shorts, and if you’re feeling fancy, the occasional sun-dress or sarong.

Costa Rica has many popular touristy and resort destinations on both the Caribbean and Pacific side, but if you venture a bit farther off the paved roads, you can wind the coast along the bumpy and dusty trails of the Necoya peninsula. There, you will certainly stumble on some hidden gems.

On this peninsula, in the casa we briefly call home, an aging rooster lives nearby. We know he’s getting old because he crows at all hours of the night whenever someone in the sparsely populated neighborhood turns on a bathroom light. Cut him some slack, it is otherwise pitch black. Minimal light pollution is one of the many perks when you’re a two-and-a-half hour bus ride from the nearest international airport or a five+ hour chicken bus from the capital city of San Jose (yes sometimes even chickens catch a ride).

Here, just before dawn, the chirping bats return like college kids out drinking. They squeak and wrestle for the most comfortable spot to nestle under the roof overhang. Three floors up dangling upside down, they tuck in against the protective bug screen, snuggled up with an ocean view after a long night out of easy feasting.

If the birds, bats, or the senior rooster does not stir you, then the scent of locally grown coffee brewing surely will. You’re on vacation, why not top off your cup with a dash of Cafe Rica?! (A smooth, rum based coconut/coffee liqueur.) This leaves you perfectly amped for a bike ride down the jungle path for an early surf session.

Unless you are a seriously heavy sleeper. Then, the last alarm no one can snooze through comes, the roars of Howler Monkeys. The dinosaur pipes on this crew shake you wide awake as they leap from tree to tree, sometimes with newborns clinging on to mom’s back. How does so much sound come from something so small?

Now, you are awake, alive, and every single window in the casa is open. By 10am the humidity pushes you outside like a champagne cork. During the heat of the day, the wisest place to be is posted up with the ocean breeze and some shade, flipping pages.

Here the jungle stays in perfect balance tucked against the sea. When you’ve had enough relaxing, the flip side awaits: running along suspended swinging bridges among the Cloud Forest in the trees, Superman Suit flying, zip lining (complete with Tarzan-drops from the canopy)--not to mention, surfing, beach bike-riding, slack-lining, and of course, local micro brews that slip into nights of live music, dancing, and open-mics.

You forget, for a moment, about politics and what is happening outside the jungle.

And oh, the food! The freshest possible fruit: machete-opened coconuts, plantations packed full of mangos, papaya, lemons and limes picked straight off the tree and into the hem of your shirt IF you can hold it all. There is ice-cream like you’ve never had it before, delicious fish casados, and always rice and beans. Of course there are tacos, tacos, tacos, and fresh tamales delivered hot, straight off the backs of motorbikes. Keep an eye out too, for a man wandering dirt roads singing, EMPANADAS, a warm picnic basket tucked under his arm.

The Costa Rican jungle is generous because it is alive. In a single day you will see racing iguanas, kudamundi (as if a Meer cat made love to a raccoon), monkeys, scorpions, tarantulas, rainbow-colored butterflies, and humming birds feasting on flowers of every shape and color.  When we were last there in December, dozens of mama Olive Ridley Turtles arrived, crawling from the sea to lay their eggs deep in the sand so that 30 days later tiny versions can run back to surf the waves from where it all began.

Costa Rica is one with nature and all that comes along with it. A friendly gecko or two may join you in the shower but they are most welcome masters of keeping down the bug population. Insects enjoy the same safety and security of walls. Four, six, and even sometimes eight legged critters crawl inside for a visit.

Even the local two-legged species are rarely problematic.  There is little violent crime in Costa Rica, the local and tourist police do not even carry guns. But because these communities are an assimilation of ex-pats and local Ticos and Ticas, petty crime is prevalent.  We strive to travel with purpose: be kind, aware, and confident. Support and contribute to the open-minded and respectful artistic community here and in return, relish in the shared beauty of this pristine tropical surfing paradise.

If you want to discover what Pura Vida (Pure Life) really means in the bathtub warm water of the Pacific, there is luxury on all levels for all budgets around the world. However, taking the road less traveled, may lead to a story not yet told.

Surf, Practice, Perform. Escape, Unwind, Repeat.  

- Six O'Clock Studios

#SOS #support #sustainability #travel #livemusic #culture #puravida