Travel Tips for the Untraveled

If you haven’t traveled by air before, or have and are looking for more tips, you have come to the right place! maybe. I fly at least four times a year, if not more, and most of those are long flights. So, I have a few tips and tricks for you, the untraveled. However, this list is not comprehensive, so see #2.

2. Read travel blogs.

I read a lot of travel blogs, and I travel a lot. There are so many tips and tricks to make flying easier and I am constantly looking. Many times I find things I already do, but then there are the gold mines, things I hadn’t thought of or haven’t tried.

3. Keep it simple.

There are a lot of tips and tricks out there that have you putting cords in sunglass cases, or something similar. I do not own a sunglasses case, and I am not going to go out of my way to buy one to hold cords while I travel. I try my best to keep it simple and work with what I’ve got. So, take all the advice from travel blogs with a grain of salt.

My carry-on contains deodorant, travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste, and make-up remover. I also pack all my electronics and cords in my carry-on. And snacks. That’s about it for me, give or take a few items depending on the flight and destination. I always wear leggings, a loose fitting tank, cardigan, and easy shoes. Today for example, I am wearing Birkenstocks with chinchilla themed socks, because it makes me happy. The little wins are important on long flights. And comfort is KEY.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle.

I just payed $5.59 for a water bottle in one of the airport stores. Do not make my mistakes. Bring a reusable water bottle that you can fill up once you are past security. It will save you a lot of money and keep you well hydrated for the flight.

5. Download the airline app before you get to the airport.

Airlines usually have their own apps that can do a range of things, such as flight status, check-in, and in flight entertainment. Southwest and United apps have the in-flight entertainment option, without which you will be stuck on a long haul flight with just your thoughts– no one wants that.

6. Lay out all the clothes you want to pack, and then rethink it all.

I am a notorious over-packer, it’s just who I am. So once, I have laid out all my clothes, I go back through them asking myself various questions. Do I usually wear this? Will I wear it at the destination? Does it have a specific purpose? How many variations of a white tank top do I really need? I always end up throwing 1/3 of the clothes I thought I would need back in my drawers. This helps clear up space for other essentials, cut down on baggage, and keep the weight under 50 pounds.

7. Window seat for long flights, aisle seat for short ones.

The window seat gives you more room and a built in pillow. This helps on long flights that you may want to sleep on or just have a few extra inches of wiggle room. Aisle seat for shorter flights because its harder to fall asleep, which isn’t something you want to do on a short flight (messing up your sleep schedule sucks for jet lag).

8. Bring a book. Always.

Reading a book on a flight is an easy way to stay occupied and be engrossed in a wonderful and engaging story. This can be a paperback, kindle edition, or audiobook, but it really helps the time pass. Sometimes, reading on a plane is the first book I have read for pleasure in a while. Recently I read Crazy Rich Asians, Sharp Objects, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The first two I picked up in the airport and the last I have on audiobook.

These are my go to tips and tricks for flying. I am sure I could come up with twenty more given more time and space, but I don’t want to bore you with the minor details of my travel life. Good luck and safe travels!

Moving to a New Country

Here I am, sitting at the Oakland International Airport, waiting for my flight to London. Of course I am here a full two hours early so I have plenty of time to reflect on my move and maybe watch an episode of NCIS.

I couldn’t help but smile as I walked through the security line. I’ve never bought a one-way ticket before. It is a little exhilarating knowing I have no plans set in stone of when I will return to my home country. I wonder how long it will take for me to start referencing Cambridge as “home”.

I am sure moving to a new country will not be easy. There is a whole new culture I have to learn, different customs and practices, and a new language practically. I have to figure out a new monetary system, a new town, a new apartment, new classes. Everything I do from here on out is…new. And that is the most exciting part. I truly believe I was meant for travel. My soul is restless when it is resting.

Every person who knows that I am moving to England has asked me the inevitable question- Are you excited? I think what they are really asking is- Are you scared? I used to think I was terrified, about the unknown, starting over, knowing no one. But as the date drew closer and closer, I realized I’m not afraid at all. Am I stressed? Yes. Scared? No. I know in my heart of hearts I am meant for this adventure. I am meant to conquer this goal. I am nothing but hopeful of my new future.

When dropping me off at the airport, my brother said, “I’m sure you will do great.” and I started to respond with, “I hope so,” but I stopped, because I am not “hoping” anything. My future and my time at Cambridge is what I make of it. I don’t have to hope for a good time and an easy transition- I will make it so.