Although traveling can be one of the most rewarding experiences, it can also be a key way to finding out if you need to sign yourself up for some anger management classes. Traveling –if done the wrong way– can be some of the most stressful times of your life (especially if you are traveling with others). It becomes a chaos of missed flights, anxiety, friends not cooperating, etc… Let’s just say it can be more stressful than figuring out who owes what on a dinner bill for over 8 people (we’ve all been there before).
In order for you to avoid a stresscation, I put together some general Do’s and Dont’s of traveling (with the help of my friend Mallory aka travel guru) because lets face it — the only thing you should be worrying about is finding out where the beach is and what time happy hour starts…. am I right?
DO: Pack a few days before your vacation. If you pack a few days before, you are less susceptible to forgetting something. How many times have you forgotten to pack enough socks or realized that you are just about to run out of face wash before your trip. Packing a few days before helps to eliminate the problem of not having enough time to go pick up those last few items or checking the weather so you know what to appropriately pack. It also allows you to double check your suitcase to see if you have everything on your packing list rather than throwing in random items the night before.
DO: Bring Frebreze and Tide To Go. When all of your clothes are in a compact and enclosed space, they tend to absorb a type of reeking smell. This type of smell is most present when you come home from a tropical vacation. All your clothes are damp from the humidity and have the lasting aroma of dried seaweed. In order to avoid a dire encounter with a smelly suitcase, frebrezing your clothes before packing inside your suitcase is a must. You and your nose will thank me later. An alternative to the Frebreze if you want to ensure no complications with the TSA restrictions, is dryer sheets. I have never used them before, however Mallory says they give the same effect.
Also, do not forget the Tide to Go. Literally I don’t know how something the size of a pen has the ability to become the biggest life savior. How many times have you worn something new and instantly ruined it with your messy eating habits or clumsiness? When on vacation, you have limited outfit options and can’t afford a run in with some ketchup and French fries all over your shirt. Save yourself the anxiety and always keep the Tide to Go handy.
DONT: Overpack. All my friends reading this are probably laughing at me for this one. I am the WORST over packer and you would think that after countless inconveniences I have had from over packing that I would learn by now. Inconveniences like paying $$$ for an over weight limit or constantly needing help to carry my belongings. Doesn’t matter if I am going away for 2 weeks or 3 days, I can guarantee that my suitcase will be packed and over stuffed. The reason for this is because I have an annoying tendency of packing with a “just in case” scenario in my head. In other words, I overpack to avoid situations where I feel unprepared. The conversation in my head usually goes like this “let’s add the rain jacket just in case it storms” or “let’s throw in that hat just in case I have a bad hair day”.
I hope whoever I am traveling with is an avid lifter because hauling my big ass suitcase around is an unavoidable situation. So save yourself the rolling eyes or the awkward asks for help & only pack what you NEED. *note to self*
DO: Create a mini itinerary. I have yet to actually do this, however I have had various people tell me about how amazing it is to have an itinerary handy on your trip. I am a very very organized person & prefer to sticking to a plan when I travel. Don’t get me wrong, I love spontaneity and going with the flow as well, however on a trip I want to make sure I don’t miss ANYTHING! Having an itinerary–especially when traveling with others– can keep everyone on track & together. It is also a great way to makes sure everyone’s preferences are best met. If you have traveled with others before, I am sure you know how selfish or aggravating people can get if they don’t get to do what they want to do (myself included)… so it’s better to limit those hissy fits and create a little itinerary as a guideline for everyone to follow.
DO NOT: Forget to bring cash. This is so important because forgetting cash can result in one of the biggest inconveniences you’ll have during your travel. Typically I don’t like carrying cash because I always stress that it will get stolen (especially knowing my luck). However, I force myself to bring cash, especially if I am traveling internationally, because other countries rarely have the accessibility of a card machine. Also, it is such a hassle to inform your bank that you will be using your credit card abroad, as well as the extra fees you are charged when going to the ATM. Not to mention, tipping is widely encouraged in other countries and if you don’t have a few bucks to give, you can ensure a few nasty glares.
DO: Bring all the necessary “just in case” medicine. I can not stress this enough! This is basic travel 101. Even if you may be lucky enough to not use the medicine you brought for your travels, you always always need to plan for the just in case scenarios. So many sucky situations can arise when you travel: food poisoning, headaches, falling, upset stomach, fatigue… the list goes on and on. Your body does not magically grow a shield of armor that protects you while you’re traveling. It is essential to pack the Advil, Tums, Band-Aids, Ibuprofen, etc. Especially if you are going to a foreign country, bringing some medicine is a must. You have no idea how their doctors treat their patients or how clean their facilities are. It is better to be aware and be prepared of the possible health hazards that may arise and how you can best maintain it on your own.
DO NOT: Dress to impress for the airport. You’re at an airport for heaven’s sakes! This is not some runway fashion show. Traveling is soooo uncomfortable given the cramped seating and long hours of restlessness. The last thing you want to worry about is the discomfort of high heels or making sure your makeup is still fresh. Dress comfy and dress practical! This means converse or tennis shoes for those unpredictable last minute sprints to check in. A extra sweater to prepare yourself for the freezing temps of airplane conditioning. A backpack filled with countless games/books/ headphones to get you through the long hours of sitting with anxiety. The more comfy the better!