There are so many traveling tips out there. Here are some more! All of mine intend to bring more balance and less stress into your traveling experience. Most of them are based on logistical things you will plan before you get to the airport. The other things are your mindset and only matter if you implement them on the trip. Enjoy!
Before you go:
Email a copy of your license, passport, other important documents to yourself. This is a foolproof way of keeping those safe and accessible with any internet connection, and allows you to carry fewer pieces of important paper around with you (thieves!).
In this current climate of political tension, not only in the states but throughout the world, where globalism is seen as a threat and nationalism is on the rise, I would briefly go over some recent events happening in your respective country or state to which you are traveling. Then, when you say yes to engaging with strangers, you are not only a traveler into a local’s home, but you have a little perspective and context to more greatly understand them.
Right before you go:
Charge your devices! There are plugs to be hunted, surely, but all of the working plugs or docking stations are rare, and when people find good ones, they tend to camp out at them. You would too.
When I travel, I like to prep with a travel book and supplement with social media (for more immediacy while I am there). A lot of cities have active social media Facebook pages & websites that alert people of events. For instance, if you are traveling to Boston, visit thebostoncalendar.com or The Boston Calendar on Facebook. They are ideal-always updating events: concerts, comedy shows, restaurants--all you could want as a visitor.
Once you have arrived at the airport at the correct time (at least two hours before an international flight), if you are not checking a bag, you can skip the first line, before security, if you have your boarding pass (you know, that scary line). This saves a lot of time, probably the biggest chunk of time you can secure. Print your boarding pass or have it on your cell phone. If you are checking luggage, then sorry, this line is a non-negotiable. If you are not checking a bag, you are also probably saving a lot of money! Some airlines do not charge for bags (thanks, Southwest!) while other airlines can charge up to $75 for a 50 lb or less bag! It adds up quickly.
Once you are through security, it’s just you and your carry-on on your journey. Some of my carry-on essentials include:
Reusable water bottle (filled up after you’ve cleared security, duh)
Emergency almonds (or your favorite snack)
Your electronics, not because you need them right now, because putting them anywhere else than your carry-on is risky!
*Books are great for plane rides, but hard to lug around. I am partial to the physicality of books, but Kindles and other tablets are great for traveling. If you are bringing a book and worried about it taking up space, be on the lookout for places that let you leave books in good condition or a place to donate your book.
It is nice to carry a few things in your carry on that you wouldn’t necessarily need to put in a carry-on unless your checked baggage is lost--essentials like a toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, and an extra change of clothes.
Deciding which clothes to pack for a short or long trip is always a challenge for me. When traveling, I make sure my clothes are comfortable, seasonally appropriate, and can be appropriate for the day & nighttime. The biggest thing i have to remind myself of when packing is that if I don’t wear a piece of clothing often at home, I am not going to be wearing it on vacation. I love to have my #options, but it’s not worth wasting suitcase space. I know that this is easier said than done.
Finding balance amidst all the chaos of traveling: one of the most major issues with traveling can be fatigue and sleep deprivation. Just remember that you are in a new place, and be gentle with yourself. Listen to your body when it tells you it is tired, unsettled or anything else. Sometimes we forget how important that balance is for overall well-being, and you want to be well when you are exploring!
We all know experientially how many ways we can distract ourselves throughout the day. These distractions become habitual parts of our days and when we travel, we want to disconnect from those distractions. There is so much to experience with all five senses in a new city, country or continent and being mindful will help you have a fuller, better experience. If you have to make decisions about packing lightly, these decisions are probably more intentional-you’ll pack only what you need, or at least pack a little less!
Only having access to wifi in a hotel or internet cafe can help immensely with staying present. International data plans can be expensive (especially if you go over your international data), so going without one accomplishes two goals: saving money and increasing presence. What if there is an emergency? Remember that most phones will still work if you are in another country, you will just have expensive roaming fees if you do make an international call. Make sure to have your in case of emergency contacts stored in your phone, and if you are abroad, the country’s emergency numbers as well.
If you have a smartphone, consider: how necessary is it to bring another tablet or laptop?
(This is a hard one. How will I look at all my new photos on a screen larger than 2”x2”? I want to see how awesome my food looks up close right now!! Viewing photos is the only reason I still bring my laptop on long trips.)
So much happens when you travel---a little planning and mindfulness can go a long way to enhance your adventure.