Hello there again! We booked our plane ticket back to Texas last night, and it got me to thinking about how much of a seasoned international traveler I am. Traveling a lot is one of the things that goes hand-in-hand with having an international marriage.
Because of this, I know airport call signs by heart, which airlines have the best food and entertainment, time zone differences off the back of my hand, and I have my passport and frequent flier numbers memorized – for myself and my husband.
Last but not least, another skill that comes with traveling often- I am an expert packer. I know exactly how to pack our check-in bags and what to carry on the plane, both in my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin, and what I want in my purse within easy arm reach.
After 12 transcontinental flights, you get a bit of a gist for what you need on the flight and a timeline of how to survive it best.
As for my travel-day attire, I wear flip flops or slip-ons that are easy to walk (sometimes run throughout the airport) in, so that I take up minimal room in my seat area with my shoes, and can put them on to go to the bathroom easily. (You do NOT want to go there in your socks. Ew.)
I also wear a warm-ish, comfortable tunic with a tank top under, leggings, and a sports bra. <- that is a golden rule. Wear clothes that are as day-clothing looking and as comfortable as possible. I curl my hair on our departure day, because after all of that plane time and sleeping squished up in crazy positions, curled hair looks a lot better than wavy-used-to-be-straight-at-one-point hair. I also bring one of my jackets that are light and squishy enough to be stuffed into my carry-on, but warm enough for the cold air I will meet upon landing.
We always leave South Africa in summer and arrive in Texas in winter, and vice-versa. Every time. We never get a full summer; We are the ultimate snow-bird definition.
Starting from take-off, I order about two screwdrivers (hehe) and watch three movies, just until they come around for supper. Then I try to sleep as much and as long as possible. Literally waking up, trying not to check the in-flight map, and then practically forcing myself to go back to sleep if I can, if not- I watch another movie until I do fall back to sleep.
Carry on luggage (overhead bin):
*All electronics, their chargers, and other valuables
*Anything of heavy weight (books, etc) that would make my check-in overweight
*Change of clothes (after a nightmare of getting stuck in Dallas a couple of years ago i’ll never travel again without something to change into and shower with)
*Comfy Pillow- trust me, on a 17 hour flight you’ll want it.
And for my gigantic purse I use specifically for flying:
*Sleeping Tablets (in case I absolutely can’t fall asleep, I’ve only taken them once over 12 flights)
*Pain and any daily Medication (you never know when a headache will strike- and a long flight is not where you want that to happen)
*Effervescent Immunity Booster: Such as Airborne. Because people sneezing around me constantly and sharing my oxygen freak me out a little.
*My toiletry bag with (travel size) toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, perfume, contact case and solution, hairbrush, and makeup. (This is my lifesaver. Once we are about 3 or 4 hours from landing, when the bathrooms aren’t busy, I take my selfish 5 minutes and freshen up. This makes for a huge difference in how you feel and decreasing jet lag- especially when you have another flight hop to go from Atlanta to San Antonio..)
*Warm Socks- this is to keep my feet warm, it can get quite chilly on the plane especially when your doing nothing but sitting.)
*Ear plugs (we have special ones for shooting that are custom made for our ears, so they’re really comfortable and block out all sound)
*Eye-shade (people are less likely to bug you when it’s on, and you will sleep more soundly)
*GUM (so my ears don’t pop on take-off/landing and make for a very grumpy Victoria)
*Both of our passports and any other important documents in the safety compartment
*Both of our wallets
*Over-ear Headphones and jack splitter (Ear buds start to hurt at about hour six. Trust me. And the jack splitter has come in handy more than once- you’d be surprised how often either audio or visual doesn’t work on the entertainment.)
-In case none of the movies interest me, or there is a technical problem, I make sure to have entertainment backups, because 17 hours of looking at at black screen is NO fun.
Most of this stuff, especially anything heavy, I only add to my purse in the terminal right before boarding, and I put it all back in my rolling carry-on about an hour before landing. This makes it a lot easier to navigate the airport without a purse weighing 15 pounds. :)
NaBloPoMo November will occur during our travel back to Texas- so towards the end of the month you’ll get posts about that experience, as well as my most favorite holiday: THANKSGIVING! Whoop! So. Much. Excitedness. My first Texas culinary satiation I will partake in however, will be sure to be a chopped brisket BBQ sandwich from the best BBQ place in the whole world. …but more on that later!
See you tomorrow!
Have you travelled internationally?
How long was your flight and what are your travel habits?