I travel, a lot! And to keep myself smiling no matter what happens, there are a few things I do, and have with me that keep my trip comfortable, and make HUGE difference when hit with one of those travel nightmares! Maybe they can help you keep smiling next time you’re stuck on the tarmac as well!
When I said I travel a lot.. it’s A LOT!!! I travel at least one weekend every month to teach, as well as traveling home a few times a year to see my parents, and a handful of other art shows and festivals. As much as I travel, I have experienced ALL.THE.THINGS. that can happen- cancelled flights, delayed overnight, missing luggage… So I’m always prepared for everything. It really doesn’t take much, and it gives me a lot of inner peace when I leave for a trip, to know I won’t be starving if I arrive at my hotel at 11pm and all I find in the vending machine is snickers bars.
I love to be comfortable as well as cute when I fly. Airports and planes can be very temperature weird, so layers are your friend. I am very fond of leggings and shirt dresses. Remember you may have to take your shoes off when going through security, so I stay with slip on boots or shoes. I have had many sprints from one terminal to another, so heels are a never. I highly recommend if you fly in heels, put flats in your carry on in case you have to run. I also always have a cozy sweater or shawl. This makes for a great pillow or blanket if you are stuck in an airport for hours as well. (The pattern for the pictured sweater is here.)
You want a carry on that is sturdy and fits “your stuff” I use an Atenti Overnighter, but find something you love and is comfortable to carry. No matter where I go, I always keep 2 small bags in my carry on- These 2 bags are the key to travel happiness. They are small bags- but they are mighty!
First is my “comfort” bag. This bag has everything I need to feel fresh and combat that I’ve been traveling a million hours feeling.
I keep inside, a package each of charmin wipes, wet ones and make up remover face wipes. These 3 wipes hit the entire body, so you can walk into the bathroom on a plane and walk out feeling *almost* showered. Deodorant, one use toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear- these 3 things bring me even closer to feeling like a human being after a night stuck in an airport or a flight from LAX to Sydney. The stain wipes and advil (container also holds a couple claritin, and a few sudafed) usually need to be refilled each trip. Feeling good is a huge part of flying comfortably.
The second bag is even smaller than the first, and it’s my ” HANGRY” bag. This bag comes in really handy when you have to run for a connection and don’t have time to stop and pick up something- or even worse, you’re stuck on the tarmac for hours. Very simply, it’s got a granola bar, trail mix and dried fruit. It’ll also often have a pack of instant oatmeal. As well as a few teabags, honey sticks, instant coffee packets to mix with hot water, and crystal light packets for bottles of water. Even when stuck on the tarmac and all the food/beverages are locked up- flight attendants can usually still give you water- so the crystal light and tea/coffee is super important. It’s not an entire meal of food, but it will certainly hold off hunger pains.
What else you carry on with you depends on your needs. I always have an insulated tumbler, which I can keep filled with water, or use for coffee/tea. You can usually stop by any restaurant or coffee shop and they’ll fill your mug with hot water- so when you’re in a rush it’s great to have your own teabags. I always also have a portable phone charger; perfect for that emergency battery drain. I always make sure it’s fully charged before any trip. The rest of my bag is filled with my computer, a ziploc bag with cords and chargers, “Pass the time” materials- knitting and a coloring book and pencils, and any jewelry/meds I have with me. I also have my ipod/earphones, eyemask and inflatable neck pillow.
The final bag I keep in my checked bag. This bag is for when I arrive in my hotel after all the restaurants have closed, and there’s only junk in the vending machines, or if there’s no breakfast at the hotel in the morning. If that happens when I arrive on a Friday, and I have to teach on Saturday morning.. with no food in my stomach? I won’t have a very happy students, because they’ll have a grumpy Esther. So it’s a small bag with enough non perishable food for a meal and breakfast. A pack of tuna (with a couple mayo packets to make tuna salad), almond butter (most vending machines have some sort of cracker), a protein shake, trail mix, dried fruit, instant oatmeal packet, and a granola bar; as well as a few tea bags, honey sticks, crystal light packets and instant coffee packets. I have to thank my friend Abby Franquemont, for the idea for this checked bag food pack. She told me about hers after I called her from my hotel at 11pm after I got stuck from a cancelled flight and everything was already closed.. and it has saved me once already since then. *if you are flying internationally, check with customs regulations about restrictions on fruit/nuts. You may need to eat those in your carry on, and substitute for your checked bag*
The last few things I keep in my toiletry bag. A “sink” pack of Tide laundry wash – in case of emergency laundry, some wrinkle release spray to combat suitcase smush and a can of Lysol– because the remote control in the hotel room is always gross.
So that’s a few of my travel tips for making the trip as comfortable as possible, in spite of all the nightmares that can be thrown in the path. I hope there are a few things that might helps others as well!! Are there any travel tips you can share with me? I’d appreciate any you have!