In just over a week, I leave once again for Germany. My husband and I have been jet-setting back and forth for the last four years. Since he stays longer, I usually arrive after him and leave before him, which means I do most of my travel to Europe alone.
Let's just say, I have some experience with travel trauma.
First we need to define what travel trauma can look like. The biggest trigger is MISSING YOUR FLIGHT. Leading up to this could be running a marathon dragging heavy luggage to get to your gate. Reasons for not getting to your gate on time could include, misreading your alarm clock in a hotel in Frankfurt and thinking you have more time than you do, taking the shuttle bus from one terminal to the next (possibly also in Frankfurt) and not getting off at the right place.
Or maybe just barely catching the train on time from the station in Bari Italy, and not seeing the sign that tells you to get off if you want the airport and staying on for several more stops until you finally ask and have to get off at the next stop, cross the tracks, buy another ticket, wait for the next train, hurry back to the airport and get to security just in time, but there's no wifi and you can't pull up your ticket!
It's possible as a result you have to take an overnight bus (on your own with a bunch of strangers) that leaves from Munich at 1:30 in the morning passing through Prague before arriving in Dresden Germany the next day.
Sometimes your flight is just canceled, the last to leave Calgary until 5:00 the next morning, and you have no choice but to sleep overnight stretched across two chairs in a lounge, using a pair of jeans as a blanket.
NOT THAT THE ABOVE HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME.
So, yeah, maybe I have a few tips, learned the hard way, to share.
- Travel light. Seriously, you don't need that much stuff. Anything you don't have you can get at your destination. Use small travel containers. Take an eReader. See How to Pack Light (link). Bonus points if you don't have to check luggage.
- Wear running shoes/sneakers/tennis shoes, whatever you call them. Undoubtedly there will be a situation where you find yourself running. Also, if there happens to be a crash, you want good shoes on your feet (just saying).
- Call your credit card company and tell them about your travel plans. Otherwise you might find yourself cut off.
- Buy travel insurance. Check with your credit card company. Many include travel insurance for the first two weeks.
- Keep a photocopy of your passport at home.
- Make sure your passport is up to date.
- PRINT your boarding passes and itinerary.
- Get to the airport early. Airlines are getting really strict and some won't let you check-in if you're even one minute late. I was once told I'd gotten to the desk with only 4 minutes left to boarding at which time it would be closed.
- Keep all your travel documents close to you and in a safe place.
- Drink bottled water. Better to be safe.
Bonus tip: include a sleep bundle in your big personal bag. A zip lock baggie with earplugs and an eye mask. A foldable blow up travel pillow and travel blanket – just in case, you know, you find yourself sleeping in an airport.
Want this list as a PDF? Click here.
Congratulations to Mary P.
The winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card in this month’s Bookbub contest!