I’ve been traveling a lot lately: WordCamp Gran Canaria, Customer Conference in London, and a one-week team meetup in less than three weeks. If traveling is your thing, that sounds cool. And while I love exploring new places, I don’t enjoy getting there. The travel itself is not my favourite part. During the past years, I’ve created a personal strategy to get to my destination with the least amount of stress. If you are a nervous traveler or know someone who is: this is for you.
Your minimalist attitude: travel with hand luggage
The queues in front of those check-in desks get longer and longer. Waiting for your luggage at the destination is similar to playing roulette. Unless you travel with children under 2 and need the stroller, do yourself the favor of traveling with hand luggage only. Once the children know how to walk, get them a Trunki and teach them to travel lightly, too.
7 days before your trip (optional)
If your trip spans many climate zones or requires special clothing (like a wedding dress), consider mailing things out in advance. Confirm the exact address of your hotel (or your friends’ house) and send that dress, your favorite pillow and anything else that does not fit in your hand luggage ahead of time.
3 days before your trip
- Check the weather at your destination. Search for “weather [name of place]” in your favorite search engine and use this information to decide what to take with you.
- Put aside the clothes you want to take on the trip. You’ll probably realize now that you still need to do some washing.
- For international travel, contact your bank to make your card works at your destination.
- For international travel, find out how much you’d pay for data and calls at your destination if you use roaming. If it’s too expensive, be prepared to buy a SIM card at the airport of arrival.
- Add the exact time you want to leave your home on the day of travel. Calculate the time you will need to go to the airport. Add 1-2 more hours, just in case.
1 day before your trip
- Print your boarding passes and write down the address of where you’ll be staying. Share your travel plans with your partner/best friend/parents/coworkers.
- If you can, buy priority boarding. It allows you to enter the plane first. You’ll have less stress in getting settled in, and they won’t gate-check your suitcase.
- Place your printed boarding pass along with your passport and some money next to or on top of your hand luggage.
- Put everything you plan to take with you on your bed. The clothes, those charging cables, your computer, your running shoes. If it does not fit into your carry-on bag, reassess your choices and adjust.
- Take a picture of everything you are going to take with you. It’s the easiest way to remember for sure if you packed [add random item].
- Make a list of all the things you need to do the morning of your trip. This includes stuff like “secure the balcony awning” and “pack toothbrush”.
- Confirm the exact time you’ll take the bus/train/taxi to the airport. If a friend is taking you, confirm the time with them. Calculate an extra hour, just in case.
- Use Google Maps to get an idea of how to get from the airport to your final destination. Purchase the bus/train/transport ticket, if possible.
- Check the area where you’ll be staying with Google maps. Knowing that there’s a pharmacy and a supermarket nearby can significantly reduce anxiety over a forgotten tooth paste.
The day of your trip
- Arrive at the airport one or two hours in advance and use that time to read a book or answer some emails using the airport wifi.
- Take advantage of your priority boarding to enter the plane first.
- Upon arrival, let everyone rush out while checking your mobile phone. When the stampede has passed, take your hand luggage and follow the airport’s exit signs.
Enjoy your trip!
And if you are curious, this is what’s in my suitcase.