Even though I still continue to travel, this morning I realized I don't post too often about it anymore. 2014 has already been a busy travel year, and it won't let up until June when I finally have a break. I'm actually in Charleston now with one of my fave friends. The weather is crisp and lovely, but raining heavily with no end in sight. And if you were wondering why the pictures in this post include sunglasses and bright floral shorts, it's because the pictures are from my hawaii trip five months ago. I thought I'd channel warm weather thoughts I'm pretty behind on blogging about my travels and current work. I'm sitting here at Collective Coffee snuggled up in a cozy arm chair reflecting about what it takes to live this life of constant travel. I thought up a few qualities I think help me in all the travel I do.
Keep your bags always packed. This is certainly very, very valuable. Keep basic items always in your suitcase (see list below). When it's time to travel this tip takes away all the guesswork from packing. All the very important items I need for every trip always stay in my suitcase. It prevents you from forgetting essential items. And if you notice from the list below, those essential items actually take up very little space. When I pack I'm actually only "packing" a few things: clean clothes appropriate for the weather and destination (flannels, sweaters, knit cap for this Charleston/Norfolk trip), additional weather appropriate shoes (boots for this trip), makeup, books and my camera gear. The following items always stay in my suitcase: - all my toiletries, dry shampoo, lotion - a swim suit, a scarf, socks, clean underwear - a red bull, aspirin, allergy medicine, motion sickness medicine - flip flops and a pair of flats - a three-outlet surge protector (works on all outlets of variable voltage and is a lifesaver at airports and older hotels where outlets are limited), universal outlet adapter - an umbrella, baggu bags - my "airplane survival kit": inflatable neck pillow, an eye cover, ear plugs and a light blanket that can double as a scarf - and a few other items that escape me right now.
Maintain as much normalcy as possible when traveling. When I travel I always use a purse that I use on a regular basis. I used to use a "travel bag" but found that I would leave it somewhere or misplace items because I wasn't used to the bag. I didn't have a rhythm to how I wore it or where I'd put specific items in it. I realized it also helps me be aware of it since I'm used to how it lays on my body. Another tip I noticed that works for me is to wear clothes that I wear on a regular basis. This is important for many reasons. First, I know for certain how comfortable I feel in the clothes. Second, I know the clothes well enough to know the buttons aren't going to fall off or the pant legs won't ride up. Finally it makes picking out outfits while traveling super easy.
Be flexible. Yesterday evening my father alerted me US Airways canceled my thursday flight to Norfolk. I automatically went into stress mode. On the way back to my friend's house my mind was all over the place, wondering what I would do. I had no idea what to do. I panicked internally. After about two hours on hold, a very friendly agent rescheduled me to a more convenient and shorter flight and all was well.
Understand your traveling style. I used to fill my days with activities from when I woke up to when I went to sleep. And if you know me, it only takes a few days of that to really wear myself out and become incredibly crabby. After a few trips I learned I much more enjoy wandering with a few target must-do's per day. Usually I plan ahead of time what few things I want to see and places to eat. I then rank them and choose 2-5 things I absolutely must do on the trip. For Norfolk it's going to the beach, Handsome Biscuit and colonial Williamsburg. Sometimes it's a little less specific like for Charleston it was just go to a coffee shop and see downtown. That way it ensures that I get to see the things I want, but still maintain the slow pace that keeps me sane. Oh. And I like to wander aimlessly and find cute spots to sit and read and write and draw. yay. When I travel with other people I need to know they are similar to me in how they travel because I don't want them to wear me out and me to bore them to death.
Plan a timeline that with wiggle room. As more of my travel becomes work related I'm learning how quickly everything could hit the fan. Thankfully with all the flights I've been on I've only experienced a few missed and canceled flights. So now I try to be wherever I need to be at least two days before. It decreases the stress of wondering whether or not I'll get to a certain destination or not. I noticed inexperienced travelers try to pack in as much as possible into their schedules. As with anything things are bound to take longer than expected. So planning for downtime helps alleviate the stress of possibly rushing from one thing to another.
So that's basically my travel essentials! Hope that helped you in some way. :D