I’m not an expert traveler by any means, but I love to travel. No, scratch that. I love to go places other than my hometown. No, scratch that too. I love to BE in places that are not my home town. I’m not a huge fan of the process of going there.
Some of you might remember from a post I wrote in September that I suffer from travel anxiety. Since I am currently sitting in an airport, preparing to go on yet another trip without my family, I thought this would be a good time to talk about some things I do to try and and make traveling slightly more comfortable for myself. These tips might not work for everyone, but I’ll share them anyway because that’s what blogs are for, right?
1. DRESS LIKE A HOBO (BUT A CLEAN ONE)
Temperatures in airports and on planes are always unpredictable. You might be freezing one minute, or roasting the next, so dressing in layers is essential. I usually wear stretchy jeans, a tank top, a light short-sleeved t-shirt, a warm cardigan, a jacket, a scarf, and a hat. Layers can be easily removed or added back as temps change, and can also double as a pillow if you feel like napping. Also be sure to wear comfortable slip-on shoes: something easy to remove at the security gate, but still comfy enough to run in if you have to catch your flight in a hurry.
It is generally not a glamorous look, but it’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone; I’ll probably never see these people again.
2. LAST ON, LAST OFF
I prefer to be the last person to board the plane. Why should I jump out of my seat to stand in line with dozens of other people, when I could be sitting in my chair? I’m really not going to get there any faster. In fact, when I travel alone I often get summoned by name via overhead announcement when the annoyed gate attendant is preparing to close the gate. Gate attendants probably hate my guts.
After we land, I wait for the aisles to completely clear before I stand up to exit the plane. I never book a flight with a short connection because I don’t want to be in a hurry. Seriously, if I jump up into the aisle the stand behind the 35 other people in front of me, am I going to get there any faster than if I waited for all those people to leave? No I won’t. Plus my knees will get tired from all the standing, and my shoulder will get sore from holding my carryon bags for so long.
3. DRUGS? YES PLEASE
In addition to travel anxiety, I also get motion-sick, so I never take a flight without Dramamine. Also, I utilize ear plugs so my ear drums don’t pop on take-off (works great btw), and always carry a bottle of Ibuprofen in case of headaches which often hit me when I travel.
4. OCP: OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE PACKING
I make lists. Before I travel, I make a list of all the things I need to do before I go. I also make a list of things I need to pack in my carryon bag and my suitcase, and pick out the clothes I will wear on travel day (see section 1 above). I check them off the list as I pack, making sure I got everything. Inevitably I will forget to put something on the list (this time it was sunscreen), but I never forget to pack the stuff on my list and almost never forget to bring everything home because I know exactly what I brought with me. I also pack an empty garbage bag for bringing dirty clothes home (so they don’t contaminate the rest of my stuff with their germiness) and a ziplock back from bringing back any loose jewelry or small items I might collect at my destination (so they don’t get lost in the luggage or fly out if my bag is searched by TSA).
All important items must go in the carryon bags. I have had the lost luggage experience once before, so I like to be prepared. Here’s a sampling:
–Ibuprofen, dramamine, and allergy or cold meds if needed
–one pair of clean socks & underwear
–toothbrush & toothpaste
–reading material (today it’s Axe Cop graphic novels 1, 2, and 3)
–ipad and stylus
–snacks (at least one sweet & one salty)
–Empty plastic bottle to be filled with water after passing through security
5. KEEP YOUR HEAD HAPPY
I am extremely particular about the configuration of my bedding. I like my blankets to be smoothed out before I go to bed and I need to have the right sort of pillow arrangements, or I cannot get comfortable. I like to bring my own pillow whenever possible, unless I know the pillows where I’m going will have the right kind of fluff.
This concludes my travel advice for the day. Please remember to put your seat back and trays in their upright and locked position.