Today I am going to break down a topic that to many is considered a luxury, but triggers my anxiety. Ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking of travel preparation.
As mentioned in Celebrating Through Spain Part I and Part II, the then-fiance planned a honeymoon with the destination being a surprise to me. As in, I had no clue about the destination until I got to the Delta ticket agent and she gave me my boarding passes. When sharing this unorthodox honeymoon plan with others, I was met with a variety of questions. How do you trust someone to plan that? How do you know what to pack? How do you know what to expect?
My answers? I would not have married my now-husband if I could not trust him to plan a honeymoon. I also trusted him to make suggestions for my suitcase. Lastly, when I travel, I plan for the unexpected.
Back in 2008, I was shopping in a high end boutique, prepping for my big move to Washington DC for graduate school. A display of acid bright colored and psychedelic patterned travel accessories caught my eye. That day along with a burgundy strapless knit Susanna Monaco dress, I purchased this Tepper Jackson luggage tag. It is still a staple on my small basic black suitcase; so much so that the last time we saw it coming around on the carousel, the husband made a comment about how identifiable it makes my luggage.
Since then, I have added to my Tepper Jackson travel accessory collection: a luggage tag for my large black suitcase, a passport cover / wallet combination, and an earbud and charger holder. In order to plan for the unexpected and to manage any travel anxiety, I keep myself organized; all of these items help me do so.
Do you want to know the most devastating thing that can happen on a flight? Realizing that you do not have earbuds. Add to that, that they are not available for purchase in-flight. Thanks to a bad flight the summer of 2011, getting on a plane these days is scary. This is why I like to take a few melatonin and fall asleep to an episode of The Real Housewives of DC or The City before the last passenger boards the plane. Ditto to a lesser degree, a iPhone / iPad charger. At the same time it is a personal pet peeve to have cords on cords tangled in my bag. On top of that, being the window seat patron that I am, I always feel awful
climbing over my seatmates asking my seatmates to move out of our row when I realize that my charger and earbuds are in my backpack in the bulkhead. Just tuck your tech accessories in the earbud and charger holder, throw it in your purse, and call it a day.
There is always paperwork one should bring with them when traveling abroad:
- I insisted on my then-fiance print out all of the embassy information for the country (countries?) where he planned our honeymoon. I am shocked at the number of people that do not think to do this. Worst case scenario, you will need this information. (Cut to the husband and I arriving in Barcelona the day of the Catalonia rebellion.)
- When taking air travel, I always carry my Delta Skymiles card and a card with a direct phone line to a Delta customer service agent. The latter was gifted from my father whose Diamond Medallion status grants him all sorts of Delta privilege; ironically his flights are always smooth sailing.
- Say it with me: Print. Out. Your. Boarding. Pass. Inevitably there is always one electronic boarding pass traveler who holds up the line because the wireless just cannot handle the demand of an entire 767 jets-worth of passengers. Or your battery is drained and there is not a USB port or electrical socket available or heaven forbid, you packed your charger in your checked bag. The horror. Have hard copy boarding pass, will travel.
- In the same vein as the boarding pass, print out all train tickets, meal reservations, and tour itineraries you procured before leaving home. Do not count on any app to work, especially when you are somewhere where English is not the host language.
Yes, that is a lot of paper to keep organized. Pack it in the passport cover and wallet. It is available in a multitude of vivid colors and patterns, all of which are impossible to lose in your purse.
Can we talk about luggage tags? Nobody will mistakenly take your suitcase with one of these statement makers on them. On that note, I would like to make the following PSA: Never write your address on your luggage tag. Again while this is common sense, this is news to some people. Writing your address on a luggage tag is essentially an open invitation to break into and raid your residence while you are carefree frolicking away from home.
I am giving away a Tepper Jackson passport cover and luggage tag on my Instagram. Comment on this post with your most insane lost in translation travel story and I will be drawing from those this upcoming Monday COB EST.