I want to be her; the traveller who is composed and elegant and who looks at home on an airplane. Given that I’ve spent the day on planes with sand still all over my socks and hiking shoes, and that I fell asleep on a corner of the airport floor in Maui this afternoon, it is safe to say that I am decidedly not her, yet.
But I have become slightly better at it, travelling, over the past years. I am good at making the most of every nook and cranny of my carry on and going somewhat seamlessly through security (although, this time around, I have been favouring my black overalls as a travel outfit which, as a TSA agent kindly put it, might possibly be the worst outfit to travel in; bully for her, though, because they don’t fit into my carry on and I will therefore be wearing them on every single one of my flights), and while I will never be cool, I am perhaps less of a frazzled mess than I used to be. A few tips, then, that mostly I would give myself.
Arrive early. And by early I mean, earlier than you think is reasonable. I don’t mind hanging out for three hours at the airport if it gives me peace of mind; it’s always when you plan to arrive just on time that there’s an issue with the subway or that your bag gets singled out for extra inspection and that the person doing the extra inspecting is s l o w. // Pack as light as you can afford to. Nothing make me feel less in control than having to walk through an airport with a carry on and a backpack and an extra paper bag with snacks or entertainment and juggle my headphones and an extra sweater all at the same time. I have a carry on and a backpack and everything fits in there and my limbs are free enough to attempt to look collected or, at least, not drop things. // Budget some spending money for the airport (or train station or bus stops). This goes against so many money-saving tips I’ve read, and rightfully so because airport (and train and bus) food is so goddamned expensive, but nothing makes me feel more excited when I travel than the prospect of buying myself a treat at some point whilst I’m in transit. I give myself ten dollars to spend on snacks or magazines and I am happier for it. // Be chill. And kind. Travelling is stressful for everyone and you’ll be better off going with the flow rather than fighting against the current. Whatever may happen has a solution. Everyone is doing their best. Be a helper, not a yeller. You may not be elegant or composed but you can be graceful (that said, I’ve never found myself in a dire or threatening travel situation). // Have some face wipes and a moisturizer nearby. People always say airplanes dry the heck out of your skin, which must be some sort of subtle thing that I haven’t actually noticed, but travelling with any mode of transportation often makes me feel gritty. Being able to wash and moisturize my face as soon as I get off whatever it is I’m travelling on (a dragon?) makes me feel calmer, readier and like maybe I’ll do just fine.