“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” — Pat Conroy
I have missed travel, if nothing else to keep myself on my toes, to be even more appreciative and to remember to not always believe what is running through my mind. What do I mean by all of these? I will address each of them in one of the points below, but basically, travel is the opportunity to remember our own humanness and the humanness of others.
Recently, I stepped on a plan to South Korea, and these are the tips I was reminded of as they served me well as I traveled comfortably and kicked off a trip that I won’t soon forget.
Explore and ask for recommendations from fellow travelers
Upon learning I would be traveling to South Korea, I began to ask questions of those who had been, live or know someone who lives or has traveled there. I then took note of repeated recommendations and picked up a few travel guide books to investigate further.
As the internet is the world at our fingertips, I also explored Korean blogs and destinations of high repute on what was worth exploring as well. And while I am not someone who typically joins a large group to tour, there are always destinations I am curious about after I learn more. Therefore, the more options the choose from the better as you can pick and choose based on your interest, location and time available.
Restock your toiletries
Ideally, I try to restock m y toiletries upon returning home from my most recent trip, but sometimes, because I am exhausted or I hit the ground running when I arrive back at home, restocking is delayed. Knowing you have everything you need to look and feel your best and most comfortable is crucial, so take a look at what you have, what you need and what you no longer need to pack in order to save space.
Pack an on-flight freshen-up mini-tote
Especially for long flights, pull out some of your make-up, some of your toiletries and any other touch-up necessities. Perhaps facial wipes, moisturizer, blush, concealer and mascara. Then add deodorant and dry shampoo. Whatever your essentials are, if you’ve checked your luggage, this will save you time as you freshen up after getting off of the plane.
Discover the luggage situation for your airline and trip
If you’re flying international, you will probably be able to check one piece free and possibly two (that was the case for me this time around). Knowing what you will be bringing as carry-on and what will be checked will help you plan what will go where in your luggage.
Decide how you will get to the airport
With the goal of ease to your mind and your budget, find the best choice for getting to the airport if you will have to tend to it without the help of a loved one to drop you off. Sometimes long-term parking the airport is a feasible option, but if you are traveling for a long duration, check out nearby hotels to park your car as sometimes they offer parking spots for half the price and a taxi ride to and from the airport.
Put your mind at ease
Being away from our homes and everyday lives is necessary as we are given the opportunity to relax and step away from our responsibilities for a temporary period. And in order to insure you do not have more work for yourself when you return, tend to these things before you leave.
- Leave the house clean
- Schedule mail hold and delivery upon return
- Alert neighbors if necessary to tend to garbage bins
- Set the home temperature
Pack the day before
Packing without rushing ensures we not forget anything we hope to bring along and will need to derive the most enjoyment from our trip. Making a list a week or more in advance puts into place a plan of attack: what to take to the dry-cleaner, but to purchase, etc. And then when I sit down to pack, I just run down the list and actually turn off my mind, trusting what I have written down. Read this book, How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip.
Ines de la Fressange, details in her new book Parisian Chic Lookbook the ideal traveling attire, and after scrutinizing my own wardrobe, I certainly concur after testing the theory on my recent 12 hour flight across the Pacific. Stylish loose bottoms, layers on the top in the form of camisole or tee shirt, an oversized sweater and oversized wool coat. Oh, and don’t forget the shoes- slides if possible – no open toes and flat, very, very flat.
And as some readers protested after my suggestion of a jumpsuit for airplane travel a few weeks ago, I purposely scanned travelers attire while making my way through the San Francisco terminal. And to my delight, I saw more than a few women wearing jumpsuits layered under denim jackets or other comfortable separates. And I too counted myself amongst them, and not for the first time but the third time.
Understandably, a long-sleeve jumpsuit would be a hassle to undo upon needing to go to the lavatory, but with the camisole top and strapless jumpsuits I have worn, the process is no more cumbersome than any other clothing. And it is one decision when deciding what to wear. Ultimately, I gravitate toward jumpsuits for their comfort. Much like pajamas, they are loose and flexible as we pretzel ourselves into our seats.
However, jumpsuits just may not be your thing, and as someone who once I find something, returns to it again and again, once you find what works and is comfortable for long durations of travel, stick with it and your experience will be all the more enjoyable.
Prep your tech
- Upload the wifi apps for your airline
- Download all preferred music, podcasts, audio books, etc.
- Pack your earbuds
- Charge your devices
- Bring your USB and power cords
Eat fewer carbs and sugar and more protein and fiber
Not only will your waistline thank you as you sit for hours, but your appetite will be satiated and you won’t need every salty, processed snack that may be offered while in-flight
If you know you will be flying once or twice a year every year, domestic or international, I highly recommend paying $87 for your TSA PreCheck clearance. The check, once approved lasts for five years and the process is as simple as picking up stamps at the post office. In fewer than 10 minutes, after scanning my fingerprints, showing my passport and paying the fee, I was done. In fewer than two weeks I received my Known Travel Number (KTN), and I was set to quickly move through security (no need to take off my shoes, only extremely heavy items – watches and jewelry can stay on).
Plan of attack for jet lag
It’s going to happen. As much as I was determined to avoid it, combat it and allow to not waste one day of my journey, on the second day here in South Korea, it hit me. And the frustrating part is that I didn’t realize it was jet lag until afterwards. What do I mean? From my experience, it is my emotions that are heightened. Good, bad, excitement and fears. While there are definitely ways to minimize jet lag (see melatonin use below), immediately getting into the sleep pattern of the time zone you are in (whether that means keeping yourself up a little longer (24 hours for me this time around), or going to bed earlier than you would have if you were at home, simply knowing that you will feels its effects in some way is a powerful tool as well. Don’t make any rash decisions, don’t express your fears unless you know (after checking with someone you trust) that they are founded, etc.
- Take before going to bed in the evening if you travel west
- Take upon waking up in the morning if you are traveling east
If possible . . .
Step away from the technology and access to email, phone, etc. when on vacation. Enabling yourself to be fully present, knowing that you can and should step away, and everything (your home, pets, etc.) will be fine as you have done your due diligence before leaving, will allow you to have a more relaxing and fulfilling getaway.
Plan a little, explore a lot
“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
Depending upon why we are taking the trip and what our lives have been like leading up to the departure, we will need to tailor our trip to our individual needs and those we are with. With that said, I have done both, planned, scheduled and made nearly a concrete itinerary, as well as planned nothing at all. Neither have been ideal, but instead a little of both has turned out to be the best approach for me.
My approach now is a simple plan of attack. Some specific sites were put on my list to see, dates and times of events I wanted to attend were put on my day planner, but the rest, the rest I decided would be discovered as I meandered in particular neighbors. Telling myself to just put myself in an area of curiosity and then see where my eyes senses lead me, I tend to come across memorable boutiques, food and people.
Don’t take pictures the entire time
Sometimes when we pull out a phone or our camera we step outside of the moment and prevent it from permeating us deeply. As much as we recognize how magnificent a moment is, remember the power of being present. Soak it in, stop, put the tech away and create in your mind a place to go no matter where your life takes you next.
Life is about creating moments, beautiful moments so that they can indeed be enjoyed more than once. And believe it or not, sometimes that means not capturing it for all to see, but rather capturing an image, the aesthetics, the scents and sounds in your mind for your own private audience.
After having not stepped on a plane for 20 months and with nearly four years having lapsed since my last international trip, the first thing I realized I had missed was a simple but powerful gift that traveling in proximity to hundreds of strangers whilst each in the midst of their own emotional journey, how appreciative I am of humanity . While we are uniquely different, from different backgrounds, heritages, and experiences, we are all human.
The more I am reminded of this truth, the more I attribute my journeys traveling away from home to be full of gifts to enrich the everyday when I return. Whether it be a deeper appreciation for the simple routines, a dedication to becoming the better communicator, or ultimately how to be as human as I can possibly be, travel is an opportunity to be enriched, strengthened and brought to living well and far better than you may have been living prior to the journey.
So while today’s list will certainly help enrich the journey while you travel to and from and while you immerse yourself into the present while there, ultimately, these tips will allow you not worry about the details and instead soak up the lessons, soak up the beauty and open your world to ideas, experiences and people you might never had imagined could expand your world even after you’ve returned home
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVeS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Why Not . . . Travel Internationally? (multiple part series)