Early is better than watching your plane take off without you

Readers Dave Middleton and Kathy Hudgins enjoyed Catharine Hamm's travel column on resolutions.
(Loris Lora / For The Times)

We enjoyed the resolution in the Dec. 23 On the Spot column (“New Year, New Ways Ahead,” by Catharine Hamm) about not arriving too early when you travel. We likewise leave plenty of time, as we have to drive about 125 miles over three freeways. We can easily imagine a minor problem turning into a missed flight.

We would rather sit in the terminal waiting for a flight than sit in traffic, picturing our flight boarding without us, taking off and arriving at our destination with our empty seats. So we allow plenty of time to start our journey, sometimes too much.

On our last trip, we encountered clear sailing all the way to LAX and made our way to check-in about five hours early. We joined a long line at the counter, eventually creeping to the head. Too early: The agent would not let us check in nor would he accept our bags. We found one restaurant on this side of the security gate and enjoyed a meal while counting the time until we could line up again.

Still, we allow a lot of time to arrive at the airport and take care of business. We just see it as part of traveling.


Dave Middleton and Kathy Hudgins

Rancho Mirage

Kiwi surprises

We just returned from a three-week trip to New Zealand. We tried not to overpack; we figured on finding a public laundromat at some point.


We were pleasantly surprised to find that several hotels had a small laundry room with tokens available from the front desk for just a couple dollars, detergent included.

Another pleasant discovery in New Zealand was that tips were not expected or even encouraged. We were reminded a few times by the locals that good service was a matter of pride in one’s job and not dependent on tips.

Lasse Poulsen

Aliso Viejo


A window on the world

Thanks for excavating the glowing memories of the strange and wonderful travel books of John L. Stoddard (“A World Traveler by Proxy,” Departure Points, by Lori Erickson, Dec. 23). I also rode on those magic carpets to exotic lands. My father was a construction worker and he sometimes brought home books that were being thrown away from demolished buildings.

Among them was a box of Stoddard’s books, as Erickson described them, smelling of mold but charged with wonder. I treasured those images of faraway people and places, and they planted my life-long interest in journeys of self-discovery. The world is full of interesting connections, as you point out.

Well done.


Chris Vogler

Playa del Rey