Emergency rations

I’m getting ready for another journey. Pre-pandemic I traveled a lot, and this year I’ve come close to ramping back up to my old ways. This weekend I’m off to Germany for a week. This will be my third trip to Europe this year and my fifth time out of the country, both of which are personal records. I also did several long road trips this year and one journey by plane from California to Virginia and back.

Because I do travel a lot, I’ve developed some habits that make me feel comfortable and, I think, serve me well. Here are some:

  • On long air journeys, I bring a king sized Snickers. That way, if it’s late when I arrive and I haven’t had dinner, I don’t yet have to worry about finding my way around, making sure I have the local currency, etc. The candy will be substantial enough to tide me over until morning. For some reason, Snickers serves this role better than other candies.
  • I pack light. Sometimes. If I’m going to be dragging myself around on buses and/or trains, which is often the case in Europe, I don’t want the hassle of a lot of luggage. During my two previous European trips this year, I took only a backpack and a carryon sized suitcase, which was fine for 2 weeks. I did sink laundry along the way. It’s a little harder when the weather is cold, as it will be in Germany next week. And if I’m going by car, I tend to overpack because why not?
  • I always bring extra reading material. My Kindle of course, but also a paperback or two. Just in case! I also pack several pairs of cheap reading glasses: one for my purse, one to use in my hotel room, and one extra.
  • I bring a print copy of addresses (of hotels, etc), my travel itinerary, and other things I need to know. Also just in case.
  • I arrive super early at airports. I kind of have a thing about this. But I’d rather get there early and relax (I like to write in airports!) than stress, especially since I’m 100 miles from all of mine, and traffic can be iffy.
  • If I have time, I spring for a paid tour with a local guide. Preferably a walking tour. I learn so much, and the sights become so much more meaningful. And I love getting to know the locals. I’ve met such lovely people!
  • If I’m traveling somewhere English isn’t the first language, I try to learn at least a couple of polite words, like hello and thank you. People seem to appreciate the effort even if that’s all I can manage.
  • Good walking shoes. Also Band-Aids and Glide in case blisters happen anyway.
  • I try to take time to sit in a local cafe and just people-watch.
  • I try to eat the local delicacies (although I don’t eat mammals, so sometimes this is a little tricky). I also visit local grocery stores if I can, because it’s really fun!
  • I always back up my computer before I go. A couple of years ago, my laptop bricked mid-road trip, while I was in Nebraska. But I didn’t panic because I knew everything was backed up. I made do with my phone for the remainder of the trip and bought a new laptop as soon as I got home. I was able to upload everything from the old one really easily.

What are some of your treasured travel habits?

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