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15 Travel Tips

I just took a trip around the globe. 3 Countries, 6 cities and 10 plane rides in 4 weeks. Hawai’i, Australia and South Africa. It was a life changing experience and boy did I need it! It feels so good to have some fresh perspective.

Before I left I googled some tips on traveling that I’d like to share with you. These are the ones that helped me keep a positive attitude and have a more comfortable journey.

  1. Get cash

In the U.S. I rarely use cash, and since I have my credit card (which is insured by my bank) I just planned on using it the whole time, and I often did. But there were times, especially in South Africa, when I wished I had cash on me. Plus, the colorful bills make great souvenirs. But DON’T get it at the Cash Trading Post in the airport, they will rob you in the exchange.

  1. Compression socks

Those 10-15 hour flights can be tough, but they don’t have to be brutal. Compression socks are $15/pair at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they really work! They aren’t easy to put on, but they were worth it to keep the circulation going in my legs allowing me to feel sympathetic to (and not empathetic with) the Australian girl on the plane next to me who, upon arrival, complained about her gigantic, swollen calves and ankles. It wasn’t pretty.

  1. Loose fitting clothes & shoes

Sitting in a seat for hours on end is uncomfortable enough. Add the pinching annoyance of jean fabric and you’ll be in for it. You’ll have plenty of time to begin noticing the little things like scratchy material, puckered/ indented skin around your waste line, and compression sock pressure. NO ONE cares what you look like when traveling so do what the teenagers do; throw on your yoga pants and a baggy t-shirt and save the Trend-setting plan for your arrival (after a nice shower to wash away the travelin’ blues.) As far as shoes go, I wore my ultra-comfortable Jsport, waterproof sandles over my compression socks. You may feel like a Guber, but when it’s time to hit the potty closet you won’t have to struggle getting those shoe laces tied before the line gets longer. (When one person gets up, they ALL get up). And God forbid you forget to put those shoes on before leaving your seat to make the long trek thru the que only to realize, once inside, that you’re in your socks. It’s no fun tip-toeing around the puddles of *water? I hope*  whilst doing the Peepee dance on an airplane.

  1. Tiny spray bottle

This tip inspired this blog. God bless the blogger who suggested bringing a tiny spritzer bottle for the flight. Plane rides overseas are tiring and they are DRY! At the end of my Emirates flight home (Dubai to San Francisco; 15 hours) the flight attendant brought a hot towel, which is nice, but I coulda used one every hour. Instead, I found a little spray bottle in the Travel Sized Toiletry pack I had purchased before my trip. I filled it with water and added a couple of DoTerra On Guard essential oil drops, which are meant to protect from illness. I can’t say if the oil protected me from anything, but BOY was it refreshing! Every now an then I’d spray my face (and Perry’s). Absolutely essential!!!!

  1. Essential oil

I know people who carry an arsenal of Essential Oils with them everywhere they go. So on this trip I brought 6 oils meant to assist with various emotions and bodily functions. Honestly, the only one I actually used was On Guard. Not because I’m sold on it’s protection properties, instead it came in handy most when I was standing in line at the airport. Travelers can be stinky and when traveling overseas you may find yourself in close proximity to people who have alternate hygienic practices (like not using deodorant). Dab a little oil on your nose and you can transport yourself from a foot locker into an exotic, sweet smelling world. You (and your travel companion) will be most grateful.

  1. Buy your neck pillow at the airport

Airports are notorious for hiking up their prices (I mean, $12 for a coffee and breakfast sandwich at Starbucks?? Come on!!) They know that once you’re thru that arduous security line, there’s nowhere to go before being herded onto a plane. I had made up my mind never to count on making purchases in the terminal, excepting for food and an expensive bottle of water for the flight. So I went to every travel section of every store in town before I left and bought a $15 beanbag neck pillow with colorful zigzagging stripes and a little snap in the front to hold it in place while I slept. I wasn’t thru my first security line before the snap broke, rendering it’s transportation nearly impossible save for wearing it around my neck (which, I found to my delight, is a standard practice amongst fellow travelers.) Perry noticed my annoyance and sweetly purchased a new neck pillow for me from an airport kiosk. My new pillow was memory foam (which was my intent from the beginning), had a sturdy snap in front AND was designed to be rolled up tight and stored in a small travel bag that I could attach to my carry on. Not only was it safely sanitary as I traveled, it was much more supportive than the beanbag. And by the time I’m on my next flight, I won’t even remember the $40 price tag. (And I will thank Perry profusely so he won’t remember either 🙂

  1. Bean bag back support

I knew my spine would start screaming at me very soon into my long trip if I didn’t get proactive about supporting it from flight #1. Perry’s Australian colleagues Leanne and Brent had visited us in January for the NAMM show before heading off to Mexico (I tell you, no one knows travel like Australians!) Before heading on, Leanne gifted me her flamboyantly pink, pill shaped bean bag pillow (the ultra light weight kind) which had begun shedding little Styrofoam balls somewhere over the Pacific. I strapped that baby to my back pack (more on carry-on luggage later) and took it with me. Perry and I got a kick out of the way the foot long, mustached-cactus pattern pillow bounced happily behind me everywhere we went. It’s design made it ultra pliable so that I could manipulate it anyway I wanted on the flight. I wedged it between my hip bones and the plane seat, wiggled around a little until it was just right, and off we went. As the flight grew longer, I got more creative, smashing it down between me and the arm rest, and later added more support to my neck pillow as I leaned against the window. That little pillow was an amazing asset, saving me much muscle pain and agitation.

  1. Electrolite up!

Get hydrated the day (or week) before your flight. Coconut water works great!

  1. Sanitizer wipes

This was a great tip. Because I was able to wipe down the airplane seat, armrests, tv screen, remote control and seat belt, my travels were much more relaxing. Problem was I bought Lysol wipes, the kind for cleaning your house, and BOY are they potent! Next time I would find some less fragrant wipes that won’t make my carry-on & seat smell like disinfectant. I’m sure the travelers around me will be grateful too.

  1. Buy a book/magazine at the airport

It’ll give you something to do while you’re waiting for your flight. There are plenty of magazine stands with tons of options. I had brought my laptop thinking I’d get some work done on my flight, but in the end I didn’t feel like working at all and just entertained myself with the inflight movie selection. At the Sydney airport on my way to South Africa is when I started itching to read. I was grateful I hadn’t carried a book all the way from California, Hawai’i and Australia. I’m one of those people who is afraid of being bored so I usually over prepare. A light weight magazine is a good option too and, if you’re like me, sitting to read a magazine is a rare, frivolous treat. (I opted for the Yoga magazine which I found to be very insightful, not to mention encouraging with stretches that helped with my travel fatigue and boredom)

  1. Ask for the Emergency Exit

Booking online doesn’t always allow you the option of choosing your seat. If that happens, get to the airport EARLY, offer a smile to the attendant at the check-in desk, and you’ll likely soon be enjoying all the leg room you could ask for!

  1. Drink on the plane

Yes, alcohol. It wasn’t until my flight home from New Orleans last November that I realized the beauty of drinking on the flight. It sure makes the time go by differently 🙂

  1. Rolling luggage!!!!!

Oh. Man. Everywhere I looked I saw fellow travelers gliding by effortlessly with their rolling luggage while my shoulders ached struggling to carry my  overfilled backpack, watching Perry labor under the weight of BOTH of our check-in duffel bags (he’s such a gentleman!) Never again! Before my last flight home I went to the mall in Johannesburg and purchased $250 worth of luggage, which consisted of a maroon, fabric carry-on bag and a matching check in bag. I looked ridiculous in the store as I tested every rolling bag, searching for just the right gliding feature, as if I were leading a prized poodle around but, I tell you what, I must’ve been the happiest traveler in the airport! Get the bag with 4 wheels, not two. And when the sale staff tries to talk you into the “Tamper resistant” zipper, remember  that A) a cheaper bag is less of a target to begin with and B) for $8 you can always have your bag wrapped in strong cellophane at the airport before checking it to avoid any airport opportunists from exploring your sacred underthings.

  1. Follow the Chee’s advise; Get a Fusion Ukulele Case

Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel made a great video clip of all the things they could pack in their Fusion ukulele case when traveling on a plane, along with extolling the virtues of the comfortable, wide back pack straps. Keeping my expenses down for this trip, I carried my sturdy hard case around the world which did protect my Ko’Aloha Opio, but not my skeletal frame. It was awkward and heavy and caused an imbalance as I switched it from shoulder to shoulder thru every airport and residence I stayed at. As it was, no one batted an eye at me when I carried the case onto the plane and Sarah has assured me that she’s never had trouble either, even tho the Fusion bag is a bit bigger. Next time I take a trip I will be investing in a nice Fusion ukulele bag. (www.cheemaisel.com)

  1. Chap stick

This is gunna sound funny, but you’ll be glad you have it. Chap stick is important for your lips, obviously, but also for your nose. Just like taking a trip to the desert, it’s easy to dry out and get nose bleeds on a plane, and it’s not comfortable having dry nostrils. Chap stick will do the trick in lieu of Vaseline. Apply some to your finger and, as discreetly as possible, rub it inside your nostrils. Trust me. You won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below if you have any tips and tricks on traveling comfortably.