Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Air Travel Tips for the Neurotic

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The past week was filled with a lot of travel. My parents flew back to the Philippines, my husband had a business trip, and then towards the end of said week, our family flew to Chicago for my father-in-law's first death anniversary. Two out of these three trips experienced major delays and caused serious distress.

There are only two things I like about air travel: (1) the shortened travel time (assuming my flight doesn't get delayed or canceled); and (2) the people-watching it affords me which amuses my imagination. I hate everything else especially the airport lines, the germs I have no choice but to inhale while being in a claustrophobia-inducing aircraft, and all the rules and restrictions I have to factor in when packing my stuff. 

Given how neurotic I can be during our family trips, I've found that doing these five things have helped me tremendously in keeping me sane and making air travel more manageable. Hopefully, they could also help you and your family on your next flight.

Travel with a hyper-organized suitcase.

Since I discovered the compression system when packing our suitcases, travel has been a lot more stress-free. It maximizes the space in our luggage and let's face it, they make it look prettier. You can purchase these compression/packing cubes from many retailers these days such as Ikea, TJ Maxx, Walmart or these packing organizers from Amazon and I promise you, you'll never go back to your old ways. If you don't want to spend the money, you can always upcycle those plastic packaging 'cubes' most sheet sets are sold in. The point is, this system makes it easy to locate things in your suitcase, which of course would be very useful in case you suddenly encounter problems with checking in your luggage or have issues with airport security. I once thought these cubes were just a gimmick but I can honestly attest to their usefulness and would never want to travel without them.


Designate a travel outfit. 

The thought of traveling long hours is stressful enough. You wouldn't want to spend any more time figuring out what to wear every single time you have a flight (or a long drive for that matter). This is why I have one or two go-to outfits for every single long trip we have. If I know I would have a way to launder before I fly back, I don't pack a separate outfit for the return trip. I always go for a comfortable pair of jeans, my slip-on Vans to make it easy to go through airport security, and my trusty plaid roll-tab sleeve shirt. It's loose which allows for a lot of movement in case I need to raise my arms and carry multiple things. It's also long enough to cover my hips and butt in case I would need to bend down. The roll-tab sleeves are useful because in case I get cold on the plane, it can turn into a long-sleeved shirt. Give this tip a try and I'm sure you'll be happy you did. The less things for you to think about every time you travel, the better!


Pack a first-aid kit with these essentials, and make sure it's accessible to you during the flight.

I always make sure I have the following: (1) Advil or your choice of pain reliever; (2) a small tube of antibiotic ointment (e.g. Neosporin) and a few bandaids; (3) flushable wet wipes because staying clean and fresh during a long trip are priceless, especially if you are with kids who always find ways of ending up with sticky fingers; and lastbut absolutely necessary for me when I fly—(4) a tube of Ayr Saline Nasal Gel. My son and I tend to suffer through the aircraft's low humidity and I've found that applying a little bit of this all-natural nasal gel helps us tremendously. Don't forget to include a few cotton swabs to help apply that nasal gel.


Bring your own water container...(Keeping hydrated is key for comfort and health, especially during travel).

Because you can't go through airport security with liquids beyond 3.4oz, and buying bottled water at the airport isn't exactly cheap, the best solution is for you to travel with an empty water container which you can just refill using the airport's hydration stations. You can bring a recycled plastic water bottle, but I personally love using our collapsible silicone water bottle. It's very light and I love that I can roll it and put it away in my purse once it's empty. There is no fear of crushing or cracking plastic, unlike with traditional water bottles. 


Gear up for your inner world, and minimize the outside.

As an introvert and a paranoid, I need to make travel as relaxing as possible so as not to be hyper-aware of anxiety-inducing elements beyond my control (e.g. airborne illnesses, confined spaces, rude passengers). As such, I've found that bringing headphones and an eye mask help decompress me when needed. Headphones also come in handy for signalling to others that you're not interested in meaningless chitchat and would rather be left alone. I mostly use mine to listen to calming music and I highly recommend that you download Marconi Union's 'Weightless'. It's known as the most relaxing tune ever composed. Bringing with you a good travel pillow is also highly recommended especially on long trips. I've loved my convertible travel pillow and have tested its usefulness during our 22-hour trip to the Philippines last year. It was a lifesaver!


I know travel is always exhausting and we all wish we can travel first class to make the long hours more bearable. But since most of us don't have that kind of privilege, I want to mention one other thing you might find worth looking forward to—entertaining and pleasant flight attendants. On our most recent flight last week, one flight attendant left us with these wise words and I hope they stick to you as they have on me. After all, what it speaks of is the one thing we all need more of to make life bearable: 

Remember that there are still a lot of kind people in the world. 
If you don't know one, be one.




















2 comments:

  1. Great tips, Joy! We don't travel very often but, anything I can do to make it more bearable I will do! Thanks!
    b

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  2. If you find that quite a few of you are heading in the same direction, it will be more economical and comfortable to rent a minivan and driver like we did from Bahar Dar to Gondar (7 people).http://www.offateverything.com/10-common-misconceptions-about-travelling-offateverything/

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