In honor of our “travel week” on the No Worries blog, we culled the best advice from fellow travelers about how to prevent sticky situations while heading near and far:
Every seasoned traveler has their own trick for jet lag, and you have to discover for yourself which one works. The universal rule applies to EVERYONE, however: Do not go to sleep at your destination city until the evening!! No napping! You need to reset your clock according to your new locale’s sunrises and sunsets, and if you take more than a cat nap upon arrival, you’ll be a mess.
For example, after I arrive at my destination, I stay up till about 10 or 11pm, my usual bedtime. This may mean that I may be up for almost a day when I arrive, and THEN have to keep my eyelids open till 11pm that night. It’s a doozy, but that’s what coffee’s for, people. (And I cannot sleep in a plane…at all.) And sure enough, I wake up the next day wide eyed and bushy tailed, and back in gear.
Other tricks from veteran travelers:
1. HYDRATE. Like you’ll never drink water again. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Perhaps get an aisle seat, too, since you’ll need to go the bathroom pretty often…!
2. SLEEP SELECTIVELY. If, say, you are leaving the States in the afternoon and hitting Italy (dare to dream…!) at 9am local time, you may be able to sleep a few hours prior to landing and be refreshed. Me, I can’t sleep on planes – but those who can, can give this a try.
3. WATCH THE COFFEE AND ALCOHOL. Don’t counteract tip #1 by drinking too much coffee and alcohol on the plane – you may want to avoid it altogether. I usually take an overnight flight to Paris so that I arrive by 9am; they serve breakfast around 8am, and I definitely tank up on coffee at that time, but not before.
4. GET SOME AIR. As soon as you land and check in, go out for a walk, a fun activity, sightseeing – whatever. The sunshine will signal your internal clock that it’s still daytime.
5. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR – about sleeping pills. I am not medically credentialed to say anything else but, some people find these helpful on the plane!
6. PLAN THE FLIGHT ACCORDINGLY – go for an overnight flight, like my routine of hitting the destination at 9 or 10am local time.
Ah, the art of packing. Having worked for both House Hunters US and International, and traveled for weddings, I’ve gotten it down to a science. Here’s some tips:
1. PACK ESSENTIALS ON YOUR CARRYON. Pack the following: Medications, original prescriptions, extra glasses and/or contacts, toothbrushes, some cash/local currency, spray ointment (Neosporin makes a great one), antibacterial wipes and gel, over the counter pain killers, digestive meds, eye drops, bandages, and allergy medication, as well as ear plugs (never forget these – learned the hard way when I was on location for HH and the room’s unreachable smoke detector kept beeping due to low battery). Also make sure you have two changes of underwear and extra clothing and socks. If your checked luggage goes missing for a time, these things will get you through a night or two.
2. HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. Antibacterial gel is this OCD girl’s best friend – and it has its own little compartment, a side pocket in my carry on after I go through security. My water bottle is in another portion of my carryon, and the Ipad and laptop are in another. My ID and boarding pass are in an easy-to-access, outside zippered pocket as well. Pack in an organized fashion and it will save you quite a bit of time and stress.
3. RENTING AN APARTMENT? PACK TOILET PAPER. If you are renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel (OR, staying in a hotel in Sochi…!), the owner may have forgotten to leave you with a few essentials. And the one you DON’T want to wait for is toilet paper, so throw a roll in to your luggage. Seriously!
For as hard as the TSA and Homeland Security work to keep us safe, our personal property is not always out of reach of theft. As you send your items through the X-Ray scanner, bear in mind:
1. PLACEMENT: I like to put my laptop and ipad after my two bags, so I can buy some time to go through my personal scanner and hopefully beat their arrival at the end of the security check in. Wear easy off-and-on shoes so you aren’t fiddling with shoe strings for twenty minutes.
2. SLOOOWWW DOWN: By that same token, when you have actually put back on your belt, shoes, and dignity (!) after the screening, take a moment and do an inventory: Got your ID? Boarding Pass? Laptop? Phone? Do a mental checklist of all your valuables, and if any are missing, see an agent ASAP. I once was in a hurry (for no good reason…ah, my crazy 20s!) and left my cell phone at security. I called it and the agent picked up, thank goodness. Now, I stop and take my time very carefully after each security check to properly restore every item.
3. RFID and KEEPING MONEY SAFE. The new issue travelers are dealing with are thieves who pick up your credit card information via scanning their RFID information. (Clear as mud? Read this article for a full explanation.) There are RFID blocking purses and moneybelts that we encourage clients to use as they wander the streets of their destination. Also, do not be distracted by peddlers, pickpockets, con-men – in Paris, bands of peddlers will come up to ask you for money while stealing your phone or wallet. (The issue was so bad last year, the staff of the Louvre staged a strike one day in protest!) Keep these items in zippered compartments or pockets (or even better, in hidden money belts) at all times!
We hope this gives you a good kickoff to your travel planning. Need more tips? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dee at 310-562-3306!