My only disclaimer is this: I didn’t set out to answer these questions.

What are the best hotel toiletries?

God forbid I pass the maintenance cart with Malin+Goetz, Bliss, Bumble and Bumble, or Kiehl’s toiletries. Hyatt is my favorite hotel chain, but its toiletries make for dry hair and dull skin. I recently mailed my sister about 30 Bliss body butter tubes from the W. in New Orleans.

They were given to me!

Can you hear intercourse through hotel walls?

Yes. Absolutely you can.

When is it okay to report loud sound violations from the adjacent room?

Gratuitously loud radios and televisions, yes. I’ve been reported, and I’ve reported. The unfortunate aspect of the complaint is that if you call it in to the front desk, your noise violator next door could hear you through the thin walls. If you leave your room to report it to the front desk, your heavy door will crash into the lock behind you and make a loud noise, alerting your neighbor. Typically, the agent will have called the room by the time you get back to your room and you’ll be the obvious snitch.

Loud conversations, arguments, and/or intercourse? No. Pile pillows over your heard, or just leave. Or if you can’t beat ’em…

Just kidding.

When is it okay to send back food at a restaurant?

When you know what you’re talking about and are prepared to defend your choice.

If you think the order is wrong, if you know it to be really cheap to the restaurant to fix, or if it’s going to ruin your night, sure. Making up a food allergy is a bad excuse, but sometimes, it’s necessary. I hate some beans, so I’m allergic to them in several states. You have two bites to decide if you’re going to do it or not.

If you send back your meal, you could do worse damage than the bad meal is doing. Here’s an example: I was pressured into a ravioli special instead of mussels, but it turned out to be a sloppy open-face ravioli sitting in an overly salty congealed duck fat broth, so I sent it back almost untouched and offered to pay for it then ordered the mussels. I was not charged for it, but I did get some raw mussels.

When is it okay to hit on a bartender?

When you don’t live in the city.

What should you do if check-in for your flight ended right before you arrived?

Beg. So-help-me-God beg to run to your gate. Ask the agent to call the baggage coordinator for your gate to see if he/she will accept your bag. Say it loudly enough for a coworker to be your witness–it’s lazy if he/she doesn’t at least ask. Be persistent and confident and make strong eye contact. Instead of trying to bribe the gate agent or get sympathy by flirting or moping, say, “If there’s something I can do, let me know.” If the ticketing line is really long, do not cut people in line! Try to stand in the first-class line or make desperate eye contact with an employee. It might not be necessary to react like this–in my experience, I’m usually waiting in line with passengers on the same flight as me.

I’ve never missed a flight for work.

What should you do if your flight is canceled?

Relax for 0.5 seconds, then race to the gate or ticketing agent to beat the rest of the passengers to rebook your travel. Again, be confident, persistent, and polite. Yelling will get you nowhere, except, perhaps, to a special place in hell. In my experience with canceled flights, there’s an easy Plan B on a pricy flight and a painful Plan C with an option that’s cheap for the airline. If you’re offered standby, ask how realistic your chances are before agreeing to it. If it’s a trip for pleasure and you can do it, consider this an opportunity. I never would have spent an overnight layover in Dublin and taken British Airways home instead of KLM if not for a disembarked flight and a simple statement at the customer service desk in Cork City’s airport: I spent my savings to be in Ireland, and right now, I want to spend the last $100 to my name to see Dublin.

What happens if you make a scene on an airplane?

Very little, actually. I’ve gotten sick in my seat, I’ve bawled for more than an hour, I’ve had a kid spill a soda down my white skirt and scream at me, I’ve been drunk and needy and likely stinky. Flight attendants are there for your safety, not your mental health. You’re on your own, which is probably a good thing.

What happens if you get a parking ticket on a rental car? (Then forget about it?)

Your rental car company will charge you the parking fee and a service fee after about 3 months.

What happens if something happens to your rental car?

Like, if you’re in Nashville and the valet parks the convertible with the top down and a bird poops in the back seat and leaves a large stain there? You take down the name and phone number of the particular valet, and take pictures of it. Then you clean up the mess and return the car, and hope you never need to use the name and phone number. If there’s really something defective, like if you’re in an ice storm outside Denver and your windshield wipers can only allow 7 inches of visibility, return the car and request a free upgrade (confident, persistent, polite)–and make sure you are not charged for anything when you return the car, like insurance you never signed for.

How do you get a free upgrade to first class?

Nothing I’ve tried has worked.

How do you get a free round-trip ticket?

Put up with enough $#!%, and…

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