It’s nearly travel time again. In three weeks I’m going scuba diving to Cabo Verde which means I should start preparing for the trip… yeah not yet. I don’t procrastinate, only I still have an ocean of time between now and the 10th of September. It wasn’t always this way. Couple of years back I had different pre-travel habits than now. However, some pre-travel habits have remained unchanged since 1999.
Bet you know that movie where a group of teenagers is going to Paris on a school trip. They board the plane, one of the kids has a panic attack, a fight starts, he and some other people leave the plane. The plane takes off without them and after 5 minutes it crashes. I used to watch that movie before every flight. Seriously, before each holiday watching Final Destination was a must. Think the habit started when I was buying Koskenkorva vodka at Helsinki airport. The lady at the cashiers asked – what is your final destination… hmmm sounded a bit creepy. Then two weeks later when I was on a ferry from Boracay island in the Philippines to Mindoro, guess what was on TV during the sail… yup Final Destination. That was a sign I can tell you 😛 After getting bored with the movie I was watching Air Crash Investigation, a National Geographic series about plane crashes. You might ask, why the hell were you watching programmes about plane crashes, that’s jinxing! Well, I never said that I’m normal. I even watched episodes about flight accidents at specific airports. Before flying to Sao Paulo or Sharm El Sheikh needed to watch the episodes about accidents at those. I know, a bit crazy. I don’t do that anymore. Now before going somewhere I watch a movie or a TV series where the city I’m going to is portrayed. For example, before going to Singapore I watched Crazy Rich Asians. Before going to Malaysia I watched Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones or Out of Africa before going to Kenya. Think that is healthier. Only, what movie can I watch that portrays Cabo Verde… hmmmmm?
At the beginning before travel became my passion I had everything ready three days before a trip. I had everything packed, money was exchanged, tickets and hotel bookings were printed, plus I was at the airport at least three hours before the flight. Not anymore. Now I pack the evening before the trip, money is not exchanged as I can take out cash out of the ATM, all bookings are on my phone and I’m at the airport like one and half hour before the flight. I also don’t make a big fuss about shopping before traveling as I used to. Years ago all shopping had to be done at least two weeks before a trip – sunscreen, new shoes, new bathing suit, new shorts or t-shirts. Again, not anymore. If I need to buy something I get it the day before the trip. Also I don’t buy new clothes for a trip… Well, how many white t-shirts can you have, right? Not worth it anymore. Dive gear doesn’t count, you can never have enough dive gear 😛 However there is one thing that didn’t change. I still can’t fall asleep the evening before a trip if the flight is before 10.00 in the morning. I’m seriously afraid that I’ll miss the flight. Not sure where it comes from but I simply can’t sleep. In the morning I look like a zombie but hey at least falling asleep on board the plane isn’t difficult 😉 Geez today I even had a dream that I was late for diving in Cabo Verde as I didn’t turn back the clock… If you think about it, that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe because I’m obsessed about being punctual… dunno.
I wish I could find the golden middle between having everything ready three days before and the last minute rush. Especially the arrival at the airport time, as sometimes the stress level is quite high.
For example, two weeks ago when I was coming back from Germany. The Luxembourg airport was the closest so was flying in and out from LUX. As I checked in online, I thought it would be fine to be at the airport one hour and fifteen minutes before the flight.
I had luggage to check in and was convinced that there would be bag drop off counters. There weren’t. Instead I faced an anaconda-like queue as at LUX airport there is no dedicated counter per flight, only a couple of open counters for all Star Alliance flights It means that the waiting time was longer than expected. Eventually I checked in my luggage last minute as the airport staff was prioritising passengers for the flights that were scheduled to take off soon. Well… heart rate got a bit higher but oh well, happens.
Take it, as you might need it
Remember the moment when I was ten years old and with the whole class from primary school we were going for three weeks to the Polish sea coast. It was called Green School and was a standard in the region I grew up in. During those three weeks we had normal classes and the aim was to learn something about a different region in Poland. My Mum pack my bag… aha… which mean I had 30 pairs of short sleeve vests, 30 pairs of long sleeve vests, 50 pairs of panties, 40 pairs of socks and f**** lots of clothes for every weather. The bag was so heavy I could lift it and one of the teachers needed to help me. Ofcoz I didn’t use half of that stuff. Luckily my Mum doesn’t pack my bags anymore and I don’t have to listen to the ultimate sentence – take it just in case you might need it. I keep my bag nice and tidily packed only with necessary things. A pair of pants for each day, some t-shirts, two pairs of shorts and my favourite Birkenstocks, tooth paste, tooth brush, some cosmetics and dive gear – that’s all. However, there are things which I always have with me during travel.
1. Earplugs. Absolutely necessary during the flight. I’m very allergic to screaming children and sadly you can’t avoid those on board of an aircraft. Earplugs help in reducing the noise coming from the lovely little screaming angels.
2. A sheet mask and hand creme. A must on long haul flights. The skin gets dry in the aircraft. To provide sufficient moisture I always put on a sheet mask when the lights get dimmed in the cabin. After landing the skin on my face doesn’t look like paper. Same with the hands, always put a proper amount of hand crème 😉
3. Travel cushion. Another must not only on flights but also car or train rides. Helps to avoid nasty neck pain.
4. Sleep masks. Always useful to have if you plan to sleep on an airplane and the person next, in front or behind you, comes up with the idea to turn on the reading light.
5. Something warm. It can be a hoodie or a light jacket. Some airports turn on the aircon to arctic and without something warm it’s easy to catch a cold. Nowadays a cold can be mistaken for covid so better to avoid having a random cough or sore throat.
Regardless if you prepare a month in advance or 24 hours before the trip there is one thing you can forget to take with you for the trip. It’s an open mind and willingness to relax and have fun 🙂