First off, I’m not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and by no means is this meant to diminish the issues faced by those that are. That being said, I tend to be pretty anxious and one thing that gets me hitting Anxiety Level 100 is preparing for a long-haul flight.I don’t do international flights on the regular so a trip somewhere out of the country often leaves me giddy with nervous excitement (and also having nightmares about rushing to the airport and arriving there without my passport). That being said, while I sit here stressing about things that will probably never happen, I thought I’d rather be productive and put a list together that might help you.
Way before my trip, I create a folder on Google Drive or Dropbox (or a similar cloud storage) and start collecting documents. This folder usually contains:
- A spreadsheet of my itinerary of flight times and details, accommodation and planned activities. I make sure to record the contact details (especially the addresses) of accommodation I intend staying – in case I need to catch a taxi there.
- A record of my flight information, sent from the airline.
- Accommodation booking and payment details. Any email exchange with accommodation.
- Medical aid records stating that I’m covered internationally.
- Copies of my passport
Close to the time, I use my phone to screenshot all of these documents (in case I don’t have internet connectivity). In addition, I print them out and place it in a plastic sleeve. I will share the electronic folder with family who in the worst-case scenario, may need to get hold of me – especially after this experience.
Once I have all the admin sorted out, I can start dressing, stressing and packing. I hate lugging heavy bags so if I’m going on holiday, I leave the laptop and try to use a backpack instead. But firstly, let’s talk clothing.
i) ‘Travel outfit”:
Kudos to the ladies out there rocking their finest on the plane. That’s. Just. Not. Me. This is what I rock:
- A long, light scarf (can be used as a blanket if cold or folded to help make the seat more comfortable)
- A comfortable pants with pockets. It’s not always comfy to sleep in skinny jeans…
- A cardigan/hoody because it’s hard to predict whether it’s going to be cold/warm on the plane
- Trainers/takkies and a decent pair of socks. Try not to walk to the bathroom barefoot or with socks, those puddles aren’t water!!
ii) Sling Bag
I usually take a small sling bag for the things I can’t live without (or need to keep close):
- Lip-ice (yes, I will die without it)
- Contact lenses
iii) Backpack / carry-on:
I then also take a backpack and put in some of the other essentials:
- The pre-prepped all-important plastic sleeve
- Glasses / sunglasses / contact lenses solution
- Essential cosmetic toiletries – face wash, face cream
- Toothbrush and toothpaste (sometimes I’ll buy a new toothbrush specifically for the trip)
- A change of clothing – socks, undies, sweater
- Pen – to fill out those confusing visa forms and crossword puzzles
- A blow-up pillow (I prefer these as you can deflate it when you no longer need it)
- Tissues (my nose doesn’t agree with aircons)
- A pack of halls sweets for if the air is really dry and it helps when taking off / landing
- Sweets/snacks – because you might want to avoid buying expensive food during the layover
- Entertainment: headphones, other electronics, book/magazine
- Power bank
- Medication: Any daily prescriptions, headache tablets and a pack of natural stress-relieving meds (because you’re an anxious traveller!)
Did I miss anything? You need to tell me, like, NOW!
Love this piece Rif! Very useful and funny…
Thanks so much Dilshad! – Rif
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