Packing Tips

Summer vacation season is upon us and many of you are getting ready to dust of the suitcases and start the packing process. Our friends at AAA Central Penn have put together a number of packing tips to help ease the daunting task of what and how to pack. Here are some of the tips put together by their Travel Store staff:

Packing Tips:

1. Know your airlines baggage policy! Each airline has its own baggage policy with size and weight limitations. It’s important to be aware of such policies so you aren't surprised when you get to the ticket counter.

2. Make a packing list. Start making a list a few weeks in advance, this way you less likely to forget something if you plan ahead.

3. Pick a basic color scheme such as black, white, and red or khaki, black, and white. Then you can mix and match your clothing and layer.

4. Wear your heaviest and bulkiest clothing such as boots, sneakers, sweaters, or jackets.

5. Place all other heavy items at the bottom of your suitcase so when you stand up your luggage everything falls to the bottom. These items may include shoes, a toiletry bag, or a hair dryer.

6. Place a cardboard divider between the heavy items on the bottom and your top layer with clothing. This serves as a divider and easy access to the bottom layer.

7. Roll up all knit items such as sleepwear, workout clothes, t-shirts, and sweatpants.

8. Keep all valuables in your carry-on. These items may include your wallet, phone, keys, camera, jewelry, and medication.

9. Always follow the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons set forth by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Only liquids less than 3.4 ounces, in a 1-quart zip lock bag per person are allowed in carry-on luggage/bags. If you are traveling for an extended amount of time, it’s best to place those liquids in your checked luggage.

10. Pack patience! When traveling there are things that often “pop-up” unexpectedly, always best to pack patience and a sense of humor!

AAA Central Penn also has a great packing checklist which is a great place to start!


Capital City Airport to Host the Oldest Historic Air Race

New Cumberland, PA — Capital City Airport in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania will be the terminus, or final stop, of this year’s Air Race Classic (ARC) which spans over 2,338 nautical miles.

The 2014 Air Race Classic will be held June 16–19. Racers will zoom through ten intermediate stops in four days enroute from Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, California in the quest for the fastest time.

This year’s ARC will have fifty-two teams and over one hundred female pilots compete for the championship title in the transcontinental air race. Follow the ARC teams at https://www.facebook.com/AirRaceClassic or https://twitter.com/2014ARC.

The race is an annual, all-female pilot air race in which pilot’s race against their own best speed in the small airplane of their choice. Racers will undergo briefings, flight planning, and a fly by study prior to take off.  Additionally, the aircraft must be “stock” models (no experimental) and have their handicap speed identified with a check pilot.  Many of the pilots race not only for the experience, but compete to refine their flight skills as the route changes each year in order to keep the race challenging.

The Air Race Classic carries on the long tradition of women’s air racing that dates back to 1929. Air racing became popular in the 1920’s, but women pilots were forbidden to race against the men in that era, so the women started their own.

The race attracts competitors of all ages around the world.  In 2013, pilots from Kosovo, Japan and Italy joined US pilots in the ultimate four day air race challenge. Collegiate teams make up nearly 20% of each year’s racers.

The race begins Monday, June 16, precisely at 8 A.M. and airplanes will take off every 30 seconds. There are 9 predetermined stops as the pilots make their way along the way eastward, where high speed low timing passes are permitted.

Once at the terminus, Capital City Airport, scores will be determined by a panel of judges and timers, and the winner will be announced at the gala Awards Banquet Saturday evening, June 21.


The Air Race Classic, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to: encouraging and educating current and future women pilots, increasing public awareness of general aviation, demonstrating women's roles in aviation, and presenting and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation.


MDT Dodges Rain and High Fares

Eleven teams arrived at Skyline Sports Complex on August 3rd, ready to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge for Allegiant’s “Dodge
Briefing the 11 teams
The Bad News Balls came out on top against Erie Insurance to secure the golden dodgeball trophy as well as gift certificates toArooga’s Grill House & Sports Bar.  However, the biggest winner of the day was Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region who received $1100 from the event. 
Bad News Balls - Tourney Winners

High Fares” charity event to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.  As tournament play began the rain stopped and the eleven teams battled hard until one team was left standing. 

Thank you to all the teams who competed including Erie Insurance, Arsenal, Phoenix Contact, The Bad News Balls, MDT’s very own Turbulence and the six teams from HMS Host!  

Allegiant’s “Dodge High Fares” tournaments will continue across the country at participating airports to support a variety of local charities.  Visit www.dodgehighfares.com to register to win free airfare from Allegiant and find the next tournament.  


Local Tourism Spotlight: Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

Battle of Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup
A monumental battle of the Civil War that transpired at Gettysburg is celebrating its 150th anniversary this week and with gusto!  Are you unfamiliar with the magnitude of the sacrifice that occurred at the site on July 1-3, 1863?  Then, please take some time to read this account of Battle at Gettysburg

Are you in town visiting Central Pennsylvania and interested in Civil War history?  Then you've come to our region at an optimal time.  This week and weekend is full of 150th anniversary-related events and activities.  We've collected a sampling of what you can do and see this week:

The town of Gettysburg and the National Park are not the only places available to visit 150th anniversary celebratory events.  The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, the only museum in the country that tells the stories from both sides of the War, is also hosting a series of lectures and activities to commemorate the 150th.  Check out their calendar of events

For more on the 150th anniversary celebration visit the official website, and for a wide variety of attractions, restaurants and more in Gettysburg, visit the local convention & visitors bureau online.

If we might recommend an activity that we enjoy when visiting the battlefield?  Make a point to see the Cyclorama - you won't regret it!  

Share with us some of the great memories you've experienced when visiting Gettysburg Battlefield - we'd enjoy hearing about them!


Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge

Do you have what it takes to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge?  
That's right, we're talking about a seriously fun game of dodgeball!  
Join AllegiantHarrisburg International Airport (MDT) and other local dodgeball enthusiasts for a fundraising effort on August 3 at Skyline Sports Complex to raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.  
Plus while you're there you'll have a chance to win free airfare!  What's not to like about that?

 Dodge High Fares online for more information and to register a team for the event. 

So, gather up 6-10 of your friends, family, colleagues or coworkers and join us for the fun!  We'll see you there!


2013 Summer Travel Trends

Every summer seems to bring something new and exciting to do and see when it comes to travel.  So, what destinations are the hottest sellers this season?

  • Music festivals – there are thousands of them to choose from around the country and in all genres.  Think about your favorite type of music – chances are there are many options for festivals to choose from!
  • Disney dinners – to call this a popular destination for families is an understatement.  To get a reservation of dinner with the famous characters, you’ll need at least a 6-month lead time! 
  • Wilderness delight – the Cumberland Island off of Georgia’s coast boasts no paved roads, wild horses and pristine natural settings.  Don’t miss out!
  • Island hopping – on the Grecian isles, you’ll find sun, sand and more!  Study volcanoes, soak up the sun, enjoy white beaches and that’s just the beginning! 
So if you know where you want to go for a later summer vacation, we urge you to book it sooner rather than later!  Or, perhaps start planning your ideas for next summer’s travel.  If you've already booked a trip – where are you of to this season? 


Ugly Bags are Good!

Did you read that right?  Yes, we are advocating for ugly luggage.  We didn't say in bad shape, we just said ugly.  Making your luggage ugly has its benefits.  And, what benefits are those and how should you make your suitcase ugly? 

Personalizing your luggage with touches that are uniquely yours makes it more recognizable on the baggage belt and lessens the likelihood that someone will mistakenly grab it off the belt – thinking it’s theirs.  We all are familiar with the ever-popular colors of luggage – black, grey, navy blue, red – and also the fact that innumerable fellow travelers also have bags in those colors.  Make your mundane bag, uniquely yours!
  • Consider knotting a thick, brightly colored ribbon to one of the handles.
  • Write or draw something on the side or front of the bag using fabric paints or pens.
  • Create and laminate custom luggage tags.
  • Decorate the sides of the baggage with duct tape.  Duct tape comes in more patterns and colors then just the standard dull grey anymore!
  • Luggage straps can serve two purposes – first they can hold your stuff inside the bag more securely and also can identify it as yours.
  • Fancy yourself a paracord artist?  Make some special to tie onto your bag.
  • Iron or stitch patches to the sides of your suitcase.
  • If you use a hard-sided bag – perhaps decorate it with stickers from places you've traveled.

Have fun with the process.  The sky’s the limit, literally!  The uglier, the better! 
Share your photos of your personalized, ugly luggage with us – we’d love to see your creativity at work. 


MDT Plane Spotting: Beechcraft 1900D

In this post we will take a look at one of the aircraft that you may spot flying to and from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT).

The Beechcraft 1900D is the smallest commercial aircraft that flies through Harrisburg International Airport. It was manufactured by the Beechcraft Division of Raytheon between 1991 and 2002. The 1900D is the third iteration of the Beechcraft 1900 series, following the 1900 and the 1900C. The 1900 series are all 19 passenger turboprop airliners which were themselves an evolution of Beechcraft’s Model 200 Super King Air.

The 1900C was an early redesign of the 1900, distinguished primarily by the removal of a second airstair door. The 1900D was a more significant redesign. The most obvious feature of the 1900D when compared with the earlier 1900 models is the shape of the cabin. The 1900D is notable in its class for being one of only two 19 passenger airliners in service with a ceiling height that allows most passengers to walk through the craft without bending over. Changing the shape of the body necessitated other changes to the design, including more powerful engines and a larger tail.

Although more than 70 airlines currently operate Beechcraft 1900Ds, the only ones you’ll see at MDT wear the livery of Air Georgian, operating flights for HIA’s airline partner Air Canada. As many as 900 passengers make their way between Toronto and Harrisburg on 1900Ds every month.


Best Practices for Booking Trips

For some prospective travelers, the idea of booking a ticket for a  flight can be stressful.  At MDT we like to help take some of the hassle out of your air travel experience, not just in the terminal, but by offering tips and insights to make planning a trip just a little bit easier!  While these tips cannot be guaranteed to assure you the lowest possible airfare, we do recommend considering them before you book your trip.
  •      As soon as you have an idea of where you’d like to travel to begin comparison shopping for airfare.  Check with a travel agent, online booking engines (Hipmunk, Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, etc), and directly on the airline’s website.
  •      Do not wait until the last minute or the day of, to book your trip.  You will pay a premium for airfare if you wait too long.  Give yourself at least three to six weeks prior to book airfare, if you can.
  •      Shop on a Tuesday.  Fare sales are often rolled out on Mondays and usually by the next day competitive airlines are matching their rates to that of sales.
  •      Often airlines will have one-hour specials or short-notice sales that are debuted on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.  So, if you’re active on these sites, follow the airlines you are considering flying with to keep up with these specials/sales.
  •      Sign up for e-alerts for notification of sales/specials from sites like AirfareWatchdog.com.  The alerts are delivered right to your inbox as they’re available.
  •      Be flexible, if you can, on your departure date and times, you can often save money on airfare by being willing to fly during the week as opposed to leaving on a weekend.
  •      Go where the low-cost carriers fly! 
  •      If possible, avoid visiting popular destinations during peak season.  You’re bound to run into limited seat availability and higher fares if you choose to travel to a location during its busiest season(s) of the year!

Did these tips help you book a trip with less hassle?  Tell us about it!  Where did you go and what type of Money, Distance and Time savings did you experience?


The History of Middletown, PA

Early 1700 maps of Pennsylvania show that the area of land, now called Middletown, was once the village to the Conoy Indian Tribe of the Susquehannock Nation. When the town was planned out in 1755, some of their lodges were located in the area of where the town square is now located.
Middletown was founded in this rich agricultural area, thirty years before Harrisburg.  Due to its location for trade, the town grew rapidly in the next century and a half both by land and water.  The Scotch-Irish were the first white settlers in this area.  It is estimated that nearly 200 Scotch-Irish families resided in the vicinity.  With the sudden growth of settlers, several well-constructed roads had to be built. Middletown was named for its location midway between Lancaster and Carlisle along the Old Stage Coach Road on the Wagon Trail. 
Many different architecture styles can be found in Middletown today since the town is so old.  Log cabins, Victorian mansions, churches and several houses are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Middletown is noted in colonial records as being a supply depot for the Revolutionary Armies.  Small boats for General Sullivan’s army were built here and his troops were supplied with provisions from local farms.  The Swatara Ferry House is said to have housed Hessian prisoners during the Revolution.

Residents of Middletown published their “Resolves of Independence” from Great Britain at a meeting in 1774 chaired by Colonel James Burd.  These ideas would later become incorporated in the colonies’ “Declaration of Independence”.

After the Revolutionary War, trade grew with the completion of the Pennsylvania and the Union Canals.  Joined together at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Swatara Creek, the town was an important trading center for lumber, flour and iron.  The Harrisburg-Lancaster Railroads were also in this area, as well as a ferry which ran back and forth across the River to York County.

Volunteers from Middletown enlisted in all wars leading up to the Spanish-American War of 1898.  Camp Meade was set up as a troop garrison during the Spanish-American War.  Named for the Civil War General George Meade, the camp was visited by President William McKinley.

The proud history of the Olmsted Air Force Base is said to have begun here when the United States Army Signal Corps established a military presence in Middletown with this temporary staging area during the Spanish-American War. 

When the Middletown General Supply Depot broke ground on the site of what had been a pickle farm for the H.J. Heinz Company in 1917, the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps and the 113th Aero Squadron of the Pennsylvania National Guard were assigned to the new facility and the first aircraft landed in 1918.

By 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Depot became an important part of the war effort. As the largest airplane overhaul center in the world, it employed 17,000 civilian employees.

The Middletown General Supply Depot became Olmsted Air Force Base in 1948 and the Olmsted Field runway was expanded and modernized in 1958.  During the Korean Conflict, the base continued to overhaul jets until its closing in 1964.  Olmsted Field then became Harrisburg-York State Airport which would later become Harrisburg International Airport.

The lives of many residents of Middletown were impacted for nearly a half century by Olmsted Air Force Base; as well as playing a very important role during war times.

Have you visited Middletown to enjoy in its rich history?  What aspects of this community appeal most to the traveler in you?