In today’s installment of “Planning A Trip” we’re talking about the most love or hate part of vacations… the act of getting there.
I’ve always loved the journey. Sometimes on road trips with B or my sister, I find myself with a twinge of remorse upon realizing that we’ve reached the destination and those pure hours of carefully curated playlists and deep moonlit chats are over. The feeling, of course, is fleeting; but I have always felt like a bit of an odd duck for it.
Ultimately, I think it’s because I love what’s associated with these seemingly tedious travel journeys. Traveling really does not stress me out. I know people can get super frazzled in the security line, or frustrated at the airline for doing *everything* to ruin your day. But I love what it means to be in an airport or on a road trip, and I love the feeling of knowing that something magical could happen any minute. I feel so at home in airports, they have always been one of my happy places, and I think part of it is anticipating what problems may arrive. That, and I have a native New Englander’s penchant for punctuality, so I always arrive with way more time that I need.
Identifying what makes you most uncomfortable while traveling can help tremendously in terms of preparation. For me, it’s staying hydrated. I have exceptionally dry skin, and so I actually start drinking water in troves the day before I am traveling. I also keep lip balm, hand cream, and a face moisturizer in my bag for the airplane… But I think the copious amounts of water I drink are the real saviors here. I’m also not one for coffee or liquor in the airport, as both are majorly dehydrating. But for others it might be the coffee or airport bar that make traveling less stressful, so whatever works for you!
As soon as I get on the plane, I get myself on the time zone of my destination. I aggressively fight against jet lag, since I’m already prone to falling asleep at 10pm EST, I always feel like I have double the work to do when I go to the west coast. Immediately getting myself on PST on the flight helps make the whole week easier. Another thing I did for jet lag in San Francisco is have Bryan make sure I stayed up until 11pm the first full day we were there. I could have easily fallen asleep hours earlier, but by pushing myself to stay up a bit later (especially since we had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before) I slept in until 6 and had no problem staying on California time for the rest of the trip.
There are a few pricy things that have increased my travel experience tenfold.
Priority Pass. In a nutshell, Priority Pass offers several different memberships that provide access to airport lounges. Several big travel credit cards will include a complimentary membership, which is a great perk to take advantage of. While some of the lounges don’t compare to the likes of Centurion Lounges, they do make a consistently great place to stop before a flight. In Boston, there’s one that is usually not too busy at Terminal C (JetBlue) that I like to go to, if for no other reason than grabbing a granola bar and Perrier. But in some cases, like San Francisco, the lounge may be the only real access to quality food and drinks that you have in your terminal (thank you Air France Lounge for the turkey sandwich and chicken noodle soup!)
Another perk that some credit cards offer (or that you can purchase for $85) is TSA PreCheck. Precheck has been my absolute saving grace over the last few years. I’m a huge germaphobe, and just the thought of taking my shoes off in an airport always nauseated me beyond belief. Not having to do that anymore is absolute heaven. Plus, who really likes waiting in line at the airport?!
If you don’t want to shell out the cash for PreCheck, make sure you have everything organized and accessible on your way through security. Before I had PreCheck (I can vividly remember doing this in high school), I used to pack my belt and jewelry before going to the airport. Didn’t even put them on until I was through security, so I didn’t have to take them off in line. I also would always keep my laptop and liquid bag right near my zipper, so I could just toss them on the belt without fumbling through the rest of my belongings and knocking things out onto the floor, or holding up everyone else in line.
And lastly, this is not a tip so much as a rule, the person stuck in the middle seats gets BOTH armrests. This is really non negotiable. While you have your window seat daydreams or stretch your legs out into the aisle, the only saving grace a middle seat dweller gets is both armrests. Where’s your humanity?!
How do you like to make traveling easier?