Nighttime noise is an issue when you travel with grown men. On a ski trip when my kids were in high school, I shared a room with two other fiftyish dads and spent much of the night trying to decide which was more annoying, the chainsaw-like snoring or the innumerable brief trips to the bathroom. When my friends and I travel for golf, we try to pair the snorers and coughers with the heaviest sleepers, and make sure that the guy with the anti-apnea machine shares a room with someone who likes white noise. I myself employ two snoring-related sleep aids: gumdrop-size silicone ear plugs and a vaguely wishbone-shaped appliance called a Nozovent, which sprongs my nostrils wide open. (One night, while my wife and I were getting ready for bed at home, I groggily inserted my earplugs into my nose instead of my ears—as the first one went in, I thought, Whoa, time to buy some fresh ones—then realized what I had done and laughed so hard I nearly suffocated.) On a golf trip to Pinehurst in 2006, I shared a room with two friends. One was a world-class snorer, but the noise he made, though extraordinarily loud, was so steady that it was easy to sleep through. What woke me was a fart (same guy)—like exploding a paper bag. My entire body rose about six inches from my mattress, and it took me a while to get back to sleep. At the bottom of this post is a picture from that trip.
After the death of my father, whose snoring was audible throughout our house, my mother gave me his old white-noise machine, a Marpac Sound Screen. My wife and I keep it in the kitchen—for our dog, Henry, who barks in the middle of the night if he hears raccoons knocking over the cat-food dishes on our back step. Half a dozen friends and I are taking a golf trip to Ireland in April. We’ve all decided to splurge on single rooms, but if we hadn’t I’d take the Marpac with me.