Four Ways to Beat Pre-Trip Panic
By Sarah Schlichter via Independent Traveler
Countdown to departure: three days. Before I board a flight to Vancouver on Thursday, I have to finish packing, call my credit card company, do laundry, print boarding passes, clean out the fridge, confirm my reservations … so many details, so little time!
Am I curled up, knees to chest, in a stress-induced stupor? Not exactly. I’ve adopted a few strategies for handling the pre-trip panic phase:
1. Make a list — or several.
This weekend, I jotted down a clothing inventory for each day of my trip, a more general packing list (medications, umbrella, etc.) and a list of everything I had to do before I left. Having everything laid out in writing helped me get organized … and gave me the satisfaction of whittling down my mountain of tasks one by one. (Our handy interactive packing list can help with this step.)
2. Start early.
Dumping drawers on the floor in search of your passport hours before your departure is, to put it mildly, poor planning. I headed off last-minute panic attacks by starting the packing process several days before my flight. As it happened, I discovered that my passport was indeed where I left it — score! — but that I was missing a few other odds and ends. Luckily, I still have a couple of days to run to the store. Crisis averted.
3. Have a plan.
As Ed Hewitt points out in 10 Things to Do Before You Travel, the first day of a trip is often the most nerve-wracking as you figure out how to get around an unfamiliar new place. He suggests making a plan before you leave: “Sketch out a walk near your digs, which can help you get oriented as well as shake off travel fatigue and jet lag. Also, check out any nearby amenities — like a rooftop lounge nearby, a balcony with a choice view or a heated pool for maximum chill-out at the end of a harried travel day.”
As for me, I looked up public transportation options from the airport to where I’m staying, so I know exactly where to go once my plane touches down. And I’ve scribbed down a few yummy-sounding neighborhood restaurants for that first night’s dinner.
4. Let go.
Once you’ve taken care of all the important stuff (the passport is packed now, right? RIGHT?), try not to waste too much energy on the rest. Slow down, take a deep breath and focus your fevered brain on how much fun you’ll have on your trip, rather than all the tiny little details you might have forgotten.
If you’re looking for me on Thursday, I’ll be in one of those airport massage chairs — having my last few twinges of travel tension gently rubbed away.
what kind of packer are you? take the QUIZ here @ www.independenttraveler.com
(FYI it says i am a light weight packer. hmmm – not too sure that’s the whole truth!)
how to pack from a guy’s point of view:
By Dave Dean via journeywoman.com
Born and raised in the South Island of New Zealand, Dave Dean started travelling over a decade ago and hasn’t quite figured how to stop yet. His degree in Political Science and History was obviously the perfect preparation for a career in IT, which has given him the freedom to work around the world and enough internet access to book his next plane ticket. Dave isn’t quite sure what he wants to do when he grows up but suspects it may involve sun, beer and a large body of water.
We asked Dave to offer some tips for a traveller’s first extended backpacking adventure. At the end of his article we also linked backpacking tips from a woman’s point of view. We all can learn from both the male and female ways of looking at this topic.
Here’s what Dave suggests…
About to head off and see the world but feeling a bit daunted by the whole thing? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. The great thing is that it really doesn’t have to be that hard – a little knowledge goes a long way. Here’s a few useful tips that I wish I’d known before I went travelling for the first time. Want more of Dave’s tips. Go to http://www.whatsdavedoing.com/
planning and packing:
1. If you’re not sure if you need it, you don’t.
2. If you’re pretty sure you need it, you don’t.
3. If you’re absolutely certain you need it, you probably still don’t.
4. Take more money.
5. Take more pairs of underwear.
6. Take fewer pairs of shoes.
7. If it can’t be worn for three days then washed and dried in a hostel laundry room, don’t bring it.
8. Your airline’s baggage allowance is a limit, not a challenge.
9. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel. Pack small sizes.
10. If you can’t carry your luggage up a flight of stairs easily by yourself, it’s too heavy. See hints 1, 2 & 3.
11. Make sure your passport has enough pages and validity (> 6 months) to last your entire trip.
12. A little planning is good. For example, accommodation in Europe can be hard to find in peak season.
13. A lot of planning is not. The best experiences are often spontaneous – detailed itineraries don’t allow for that.
14. Aspirin, Band-Aids and Imodium. The traveller’s trifecta.
15. Contraceptives are not the stupidest idea in the world either.
16. Take another memory card for your camera. You’ll need it.
and in transit:
17. Arrive early. Airports suck, but missing your flight sucks a lot more.
18. Jokes about security are hilarious. Spending time in jail is less so.
19. The only thing worse than the taste of airport food is the price. Eat beforehand.
20. Getting drunk on the plane is not fun. Being hungover on the plane is horrific. Your call.
21. Earplugs are your friend.
22. So is an eye mask, even if it makes you look like a dork.
23. Learning to eat using plastic utensils, with your elbows tucked in and your knees bumping the table is an essential flying skill. Start practicing now by sitting in a cardboard box during your next meal.
24. Take something that can entertain you for several hours. A novel. Playing cards. An ipod. A ball of twine. Whatever. Just take something.
25. Set your watch to your destination timezone as soon as you get on the plane, and use that time when deciding when to sleep. It’ll help with the jetlag. Maybe.
26. Get up and go for a walk now and again when you’re in the air. It’s good for the circulation and helps relieve the crushing boredom of a long haul flight, even if only slightly.
27. After 20 hours in planes and airports, toothpaste will change your life.
28. When it comes to conversations with border officials, less is more. Answer questions truthfully but don’t volunteer too much.
29. Distinctive luggage is a good thing. Surprising as it might seem, yours will not be the only black bag on the conveyer belt.
30. Having a change of underwear in your carry-on will be the smartest move you’ve ever made when the airline loses your bags.