This week I’ll be making the trek to a family reunion in Minnesota. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, though it’ll be tinged with some sadness since my Grandma’s health may be declining after a hip fracture this month. We’ve always been a pretty jovial group though, so I’m hoping to show her a bit of the good old family merriment.
All the family aspect aside, airline travel seems to come with so many complications and pitfalls these days that I feel like I have to prep everything down to the most minute detail. One of my most frustrating (and strangest?) quirks is that I get ravenously hungry when I travel. Like three cheeseburgers, fries, a shake, and then Panda Express just for lunch kind of hungry.
Okay so this is actually a picture of my biggest weakness, the Costco hot dog. You get the gist though.
Since I’ve been cleaning up my eating and getting into a regular exercise routine over the past year or so, it feels pretty cruddy to be shoving my face with fast food right at the beginning of what should be a fun and exciting adventure. Not to mention pocket-draining and nap-inducing at the most inconvenient times!
If only we could all nap like dogs. 🙂
There are ways to make a trip go smoothly for those of you out there like me though! Here’s what I’m packing to make this a successful and healthy jaunt through the airport.
For clothing, I try to pack the exact things I will need and nothing more (except for one extra pair of unmentionables because that one is hard to fix if you’ve miscounted). I’ve found that even if I need an extra outfit one day, I’ll probably end up not needing something I packed another day. The bare minimum toiletries has always worked for me as well.
I have to stick to my exercise routine to feel like a functioning human being while on a trip, so that’s always something I take into account too. Just roll everything up and go at it like a jigsaw puzzle of clothing!
I love to take advantage of the copious amount of entertainment that my smart phone and tablet provide. Not only are there tons of options, but it also means you don’t have to carry around extra things in your bags. Because let’s be honest, how many of us are taking more than a carry on these days?
We have Amazon Prime for the free shipping but I’m really happy with their Amazon Video App. Unlike Netflix, which we also have, it allows you to download episodes and movies so you can watch them offline. Just make sure you download everything well before it’s time to head to the airport, I wouldn’t want to rely on their WiFi!
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, my next favorite diversion tactic is my Podcast app. I always have about…three dozen podcast channels that I listen to at least somewhat actively at any given time. It offers a ton of variety and all for the low, low price of free. You can also put ebooks and audio books on your phone through your library with the Overdrive & Hoopla apps. Again, totally free. I listened to The Girl on the Train that way and it was an awesome experience.
As a last ditch form of distraction I have a few phone games that I consider highly addictive. My favorite one to date is called Qubed and it’s a funky Tetris-style game that gives my hands something to do while listening to other things. Set is also great for the same reasons.
My last piece of entertainment advice would be to have a project to work on. Feeling productive feeds into my list making/completing personality, so I love the rewarding sensation of crossing a to-do off.
I was listening to a Cracked podcast and I learned some unsavory facts about how people actually get sick when flying. It turns out it’s not the recycled air that does the dirty deed, it’s the surfaces you touch at your seat. They just never get cleaned, which I’m sure I knew somewhere at the back of my mind given the tight turnovers I’ve seen with every flight I’ve been on.
That’s why I’m adding a disinfecting wipe or two to my packing list this time! Another pro-tip from them was to never, ever drink the plane coffee (or any water that’s not coming straight from a bottle). File that under ‘things I wish I didn’t know’ right next to how one gets pink eye and the fact that our bodies contain about the same number of bacterial cells as human ones.
My best tactic to beat the insatiable travel munchies was to just stay ahead of my hunger. That meant overnight oats at 3am on the way to the airport, a salad at what my normal breakfast time would be, a big snack I had packed, and finally an early dinner at the ballpark.
The Twins still got destroyed but that is entirely beside the point on Dollar Dog day at the park with your Dad. 🙂
I hope this helps any new or less confident travelers out there! It took me a while to not feel overwhelmed when I set foot in the airport, but planning things out really does help!
I think my next post will be a traveler’s guide to the Twin Cities for all those who may be thinking of hitting up this gem in the Midwest.