Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Road Again...

I’m getting ready for yet another trip, and the familiar feeling of having too-much-to-do is starting to hit me again. Packing is so not my thing. Neither is getting up early to head to the airport. I’m not so much for dragging heavy suitcases, either. And don’t get me started about waiting in long lines at the airport, or that anxious feeling that hits my stomach before we take off.

What I am into is getting there.

Once I’ve checked in at the hotel, I’m starting to feel ok. Then, if I’m in a town or city I’ve been before, I make a beeline to nearby haunts – like the place that serves my favorite slice of pizza in Midtown, my favorite plate lunch shack on Oahu, the joint that has the best tacos in Portland. The comfort of familiar places and food calms my travel nerves. Yummy food is somehow a home when I'm far away.

So what if I go to a new destination? Well, I immediately find a favorite food place. When I was in Dallas for a conference with buzz girl Dona a few years ago, I didn’t feel at home until she texted me one morning on my way out of a workshop -- “Found cheap a$$ food! Two streets away at diner!” After being dismayed by the cost of restaurants nearby the hotel, we suddenly had our breakfast place, and everything was right with the world. (And we had pancakes!)

How do you make yourself comfortable when you travel? Can you related to my food location trick? Do you pack pictures of family, friends, or pets to display by your bedside? Do you bring your own pillow? A favorite book to get you through the trip?

I’d love to have some travel tips to pack to today.



The Clearing – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Never Cry Werewolf – HarperTeen

Wherever You Go – Harcourt Fall 2011

P.S. That photo of my kitty is not staged! She is having a sit-in to protest my packing.


Lenore said...

Wow - your kitty looks a lot like our kitties. Is she a Birman or a Ragdoll?

Ella Press said...

I've never traveled by plane, so 'i wouldn't know what to do in an airport.

But what I do to get me through my trips, because they can last up to 12 hours, is upload new music onto my mobile (it has mp3, no iPod). I do bring my own pillow. I have two 101 Dalmatians pillows from when I was little that I love.
And of course I take books with me.

Have fun!
I hate packing too.

TinaFerraro said...

Love the picture of your kitty in the suitcase, and it felt perfectly piggybacked with my blog post on Monday about the traveling cat!

As far as feeling at home in a new location, it's simply getting my bearings...finding out where the pool is, the shops, etc., Takes a day or two, and then I settle in.

nymfaux said...

Wow--I'm super inspired by this post, so as a frequent traveler, here's Part 1--Practical issues, packing and logistics

Ok, so my longtime packing strategy has been to pack as little and as late as possible--I hate packing until it's absolutely necessary, because what if I pack something and then I need it? So that's the lateness. As to the littleness, in general I hate carrying anything more than my pockets. I hate being overcome with trying to carry two bags and your purse on one shoulder and another bag on the other, and trying to pull something behind me at the same time. Not to mention all the fees! Plus, if I have a tight connection, there's no way I can grab all of that stuff! Also, you go faster with wheels--you just do. And I also get nervous if I don't have my emergency info and ticket ON me, and with the ticket, long and oblong, it's sometimes hard to find someplace.

So my travel clothes include easy slip-on-off sandal, comfy slacks (cargos and jeans are a plus because of the pockets), t-shirt, also something light and long-sleeved (it's hard to tell how cold you'll be on the plane/in the airport), and my fleece vest.

The vest is MAGICAL, it only has two pockets, but I can get my arm up to my elbow inside it--which is great if I'm ever really cold. But also means I can keep my ticket close, my wallet, sunglasses, etc...

Lately I'm an absolute minimalist with clothes, and you can mix and match easily if you keep to basics/one or two colors, and one piece just because it's really cute. Shoes need to be functional--use you're travel/slip shoes to go to the pool/beach. You're not going to be comfortable when traveling, so you're going to be miserable in the cute shoes that you can't walk in--And no matter what you think, you'll be walking in them more than you planned, so they need to be comfortable. I can look cute for a couple hours, but then I'm just miserable if I'm in the wrong shoe. I found a pair of black wedge flip-flops that my friends let me get away with. When in doubt, pack your go-to shoe, and thank me later. When you're running out of room--Underwear is overrated, socks are not. I don't even bring toiletries anymore because of the restrictions. Whether you're staying at a friend's/relative's house, or a hotel, they'll have what you need...You never know when you might need a swimsuit, bring it anyway, although the alternatives can be interesting...

These days all your essentials need to charge at night--phone, mp3, camera, bluetooth--some of mine have a USB plug, some have traditional, and I then I have a couple of traditional plug adapters that so that I can plug USB devices into the wall. For emergencies I have a USB hub that I can plug many devices into--but that's my backup, because they don't charge as well when they're split. So you get to the hotel, or even a guest room, and they don't have as many outlets as you need, or they're behind all of the furniture, and you have things charging off every wall in the room--And imagine if you have a roommate.

My solution is to bring a multiple outlet extension cord with me--I find the most convenient outlet, and plug everything in in the same place.--Also, I use one of the little bags that I used to store toiletries in to put all my cords in--they can tangle easily, but they're all in the same place and easy to find.

nymfaux said...

As to comfort issues...

I always have to have a book on me, usually a couple--because you never know if you'll feel like reading what you thought you would, and you don't want to be stuck if you finish before you thought you would. I recently got an e-reader and I'm really excited about it, now I can take ALL my favorites EVERYWHERE, this is saving my SOOOO much space.

Also, it's a good idea to bring a pen and a notebook, and a travel game or deck of cards. It's really easy to get antsy on a trip, and even easier to wish you had brought something else to do. A couple little things can give you a lot of variety. And when all else fails, sleep.

Ear plugs are my new best friend. I'm used to both my dad and sister snoring, but when I'm in a strange place with different sounds, even the familiar ones can be enough to keep me awake. I've come to like the quiet so much, that I even wear them during the daytime now, when I want to focus on something.

I bring my pillow wherever possible, and I sleep better with my old pillow, with the dents in it from my head and arm. Also, something I noticed when I was a child, when I'm away, my pillow smells like home. (And when I came back, it smelled like grandma's house.)

Pillows are also great for armrests and lap-rests. You can squish it in your suitcase, and if not, I've even brought it on a plane once or twice with no complaints.

Also, I've had a little thing that I've slept with since I was a child--I don't need it, but it's soft and at night, alone in a far away place, it's like holding on to all of the good things in the past. It travels in my pillowcase, or in a small pocket if I'm not bringing my pillow.

I've never really been much of a picture person, but even "grown up" I still call my mom when I leave someplace and when I finally get there.

After I pick out my bed, I untuck the sheets from the foot of the bed. If I don't, I'll be kicking all night, because they're so tight, and I end up having to get up and remake it anyway.

As for food--I like to treat myself when I'm at the airport or traveling, because airport Pizza Hut is my comfort food, and so are most fast food places and chains. However, the prices are horrible, and you can't always plan to be hungry when you have a layover, so I like to bring some easy snacks along--Usually anything you'd pack your grade-schooler for a snack, a sandwich, trail-mix, jerky, and Luncheables are good ones.

Sooooo...hope that helps, good luck and happy traveling!

Wendy Toliver said...

I always bring something to do on the plane or if I have a quiet moment, whether it's my laptop to write or a book to read.

As far as getting along in a new place, I am terrible at finding my way around so I just give myself lots of time in case I get lost and try to think of my wanderings as little side-trips.

Love your kitty!

Marley Gibson said...

Who's taking care of Harper? = )