Set To Jet

It’s up, up and away to the friendly skies this summer to see family, friends and new sights. Let Jake Gaines, our own Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

A couple, who are great friends, asked us to join them on their jet for a weekend at their second home. What sort of host gift should we bring to thank them for their amazing generosity?

Wheels Up in San Antonio

Dear Wheeler Dealer,

We should all have such conundrums. Lucky you. Flying privately is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed between friends.  We love that sort of invitation and any sort of gift we have chosen has always been well received.  Besides buying a dinner and meal here and there, upon your return (for a trip never take a host gift with you – it’s too cumbersome for the recipient to deal with on the trip) immediately send the gift. You likely have a good florist you use, so send two orchids, not one but two, so that the guests really see your appreciation with the rare three feet tall flowers. Different colors, of course.  If your hosts like spirits, a case of Patron’ tequila or Cinco vodka is an impactful gesture. Then, there is the really over-the-top gift of sending them for an evening away, complete with dinner and breakfast, at their favorite hotel in town. That, dear friend, should show them how much you love flyin’ high.

Dear Mr. Manners,

I love to travel, yet hate to pack. My husband manages to fit everything into his carry-on, while I end up bringing along half my closet. What pieces should I pack that will allow me to streamline yet still look chic at my destination? And, do you recommend FedEx’ing luggage ahead like the celebrities do these days?

Travelin’ Light in Austin                       

Dear Lovely Capital City Traveler,

Whether a man or woman, it’s easy to pack into a carry on. First, get the best and largest carry on piece of luggage possible. Carry-ons can be deceiving. They can look big, yet not be too big. They can look the right size and be too small. Beyond the actual vessel that will carry your wardrobe, what goes in it – and how, are very important. Of course, the weather has a bearing and winter clothes are, of course, thicker and more wieldy. Let’s project we are packing for a perfect weekend get away to Turks & Caicos. Sound simple? It is.

The greatest thing about planning a vacation is planning ahead so you are not caught without something you need. If you have four days away, that’s easy. For women, pack two skirts or shorts, three tops, two swimsuits and two breezy dresses. Plus, three pairs of flats. For men, pack two shorts and swimsuits, one pair of pants, three shirts and two T-shirts, along with two pairs of shoes and/or flip flops. Plus, the usual assortment of underwear and socks. This will be enough for beachwear, nice dinners and lying around the pool as uniformed servers serve you cocktails.

Rolling the clothes as you would a bath towel, aligning all the clothes in the middle, works best. Your shoes and toiletries kit should flank the outside perimeter. The outside pockets can also hold those. Remember to take things that are cotton and drip-dry should you need to wash something out overnight. That’s really all there is to it. Along with your iPad or slim laptop or a couple of paperbacks and this magazine, you are ready to hit the beach when you land.

Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

My in-laws are staying with us while in town for the family reunion. How do we best prepare and do you have any tips for me to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Home Host-With-The-Most In Training in Laredo

Dear Border Host,

It was once said that guest, like fish, tend to stink after three days. We love our in-laws, yet a three-day weekend visit is perfectly long enough for anyone to be a houseguest in my opinion. While you’re happy to share your home with friends and relatives, the stress of hosting sometimes gets in the way of enjoying the visit itself. Here are the basics.

First, the guest room. Make sure all the amenities of a hotel you might want to stay in can be found in the guest suite you prepare. You needn’t have monogrammed stationery for them, yet make it as cozy as possible. An “extras” toiletries kit for anything that might have been forgotten is always nice to have in the bathroom cabinet along with a selection of fresh towels. Buy the best bedding you can, as well as the best mattress. There is nothing better than a guest who is well rested and feels like one of the family treated to nice linens.

For late afternoon or midnight snacks, keep the fridge stocked with kid – and adult – friendly foods. From yogurt and granola bars to good champagne and fresh bread for the sandwich on-the-go, a fed guest is a delighted guest.

Then, plan the itinerary with them in mind. If they love culture, there’s likely a good concert or band playing nearby. If they love nature, set up a walk in a scenic area or arrange a historical walking tour of your city’s downtown. No matter who the guest, advance preparation is the key to a festive weekend for both guests and hosts. As you know, good manners make the best house-guests of all.

Mr. Manners