Hey, welcome back. Whew! What a week… Monday was 20-hours in airports and on planes, Tuesday was try-to-get-un-jet-lagged, and then back to work! So, come on over, sit down and let’s take a rest. Grab a cup of something warm and I’ll share the rest of my newfound travel tips. This trip was so fun!
Ziploc baggies. Several sizes. And clear make up bags- one to hold my meds, one to hold the solid toiletries – toothbrush, deodorant, comb, etc. Mine came out of another makeup bag, and had velcro that worked like they were designed for the suitcase I bought. Win! I put my manicure kit and a small sewing kit with a few bobbins of thread in a small rubbermaid container that fit into the larger makeup bag. I also had an RFID blocking, passport body pouch that I wore everywhere under my clothes, and had a smaller ‘nametag’ pouch/wallet from the travel agency that I wore outside with just a bit of cash and a place to keep receipts, a chapstick, etc. I recommend the flesh-colored body wallet so it doesn’t show no matter what you wear. Yep, boring – but invisible.
Electronics. Unless you’re a professional photographer or on a business trip where your laptop is essential, use your cell phone. My phone is actually the best camera I’ve ever owned; it’s a Note 3 if anyone is asking. That was the only piece of electronic gear I took. No laptop, i-pod,tablet, camera, lenses, adapters, power cords for those things. No special cases that make one more piece to lug and one more piece to check. An i-phone or droid can let me connect to facebook and post my newest pics, send e-mail or text messages, store my favorite music, make phone calls and even do an electronic journal if I like. I made sure to re-name at least one pic of each site – and be sure to include the date in that title! A set of Bose noise cancelling headsets is amazing, especially on the plane. I borrowed a set, and will never travel without a set again, if I can help it.
Airports/airplanes. For the flights, my ears are usually a mess – plugged up for days. We had three flights in 24 hours on two separate days and I was pretty nervous! I discovered ear plugs designed for air travel. They look a little like rubber rotini noodles with handles, only smaller. They worked!!! Follow the directions on the package and have a wonderful flight!
Pack light weight, so you don’t have to wrestle heavy bags. If you will buy a good amount of merchandise at one store, most places will ship it home for you. Sometimes for free; sometimes not. I did this twice – two huge boxes cost me $100 to ship from Israel to Kansas. Trust me, it was worth it! Try to keep everything carry on. Things don’t get lost that way – like my 3-legged cane with a folding seat. Use the moving walkways. Even if you’re walking on them (most people do) you’re greatly leveraging your walking speed and saving a lot of energy in these huge airports. Use the trains. Use any assistance given.
For security, nothing beats having time. Watch the folks in line ahead of you to see what you need to do. Put jackets, scarves, etc in one bin. Electronics and watches, belts, etc on another bin. Shoes in another one. Some domestic airports had us put EVERYTHING except our clothes in bins; one foreign airport just let us run our carry on bags through the x-ray, not even asking us to remove our shoes; once I was in the search group where they looked into all my bags and patted me down. Learn to ‘stack’ your passport and any necessary document so you can flip it open to show the agent the correct page, and right side up. Stay hydrated! Airplanes are as dry as deserts. Drink all the water you can drink – on the plane and off.
The last thing I want to mention is the most important thing of all: attitude. Face it, things are not going to go your way all the time. A flight will be late, security will be outrageous, the food may be too different, the weather may not cooperate. No matter what happens, it’s all part of the adventure. Put a smile on your face and just do whatever needs to be done in the moment. Getting angry and upset just because you have to somehow get through security doesn’t change a thing, except your own sense of peace and joy. You may feel rushed after you’ve stood in an eternally long line, but grumbling doesn’t help. It rained on us in Israel one morning- it was colder than anyone had expected, and lasted longer than we thought it would. My shoes were mesh; several had sandals on. The streets were really slippery in places. So what did we do? We sang. We sang spirituals and hymns. We looked out for each other – pointing out uneven or slick spots, obstacles to walk around, big puddles. And we thanked God for the rain – Israel has been in drought. I told you all about our experiences with security. One time our group of 34 had less than an hour to make an international transfer flight… it was tense. But we made it. And you know what? I kept a smile on my face for the adventure, and now I have a great story to tell – with another smile.
So, there you have it. My novice travel advice. It worked, and we had a great time! Maybe next time you can come, too!