One thing I can say after the last 12 months; I am officially a seasoned traveler. I’ve covered over 60,000 miles in the last 12 months and have learned a lot from the experience. A full 25% of flights in the first half of 2007 were delayed or canceled, so the likelihood of running into problems is a legitimate concern. To prevent Holiday travel from bring out the Scrooge in you, try these helpful tips I have picked up along the way:
1) Plan for the Unexpected: As much as possible, have your bases covered. Make certain your cell phone is fully charged in case you need to be in contact with the airlines for lost luggage or flight rescheduling. Carry airline contact numbers on you to avoid long lines if flights are canceled. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Bring food with you on the plane — even if they offer a meal, it may not be something you’d want to eat! In the event you are stuck on the tarmac for 2-3 hours you will want to have at least a snack on hand so you are not grumpy and hungry when you reach your destination.
2) Pack as little as possible: The best way to avoid lost luggage or being at the mercy of disgruntled and understaffed baggage handlers is to carry everything with you. Liquids and gels need to be less than 3 fl. oz. and fit into one ziplock sandwich bag, but all other toiletries are fine. Remember – sometimes it’s just easier to use hotel shampoo than to check your luggage and wait an hour to retrieve it after a delayed flight.
3) Take it all in stride! Attitude is everything. I’ve come to see travel as a whimsical adventure in which the most unexpected things can happen. I do my best to avoid stress by leaving and returning a day before I am required to be at my destination, packing only the essentials, and having a light-hearted attitude. I can’t control the weather, absent pilots or being trapped on the tarmac, but I can control how I respond to any event. If I am well rested, have a good book and food I like I am as well prepared for the unexpected as I can be. What’s beyond my control doesn’t have to stress me, and often it makes for a great story!