With over 50 years of travel experience under my (seat)belt, I’ve compiled a list of memories and tips to help your travel plans go as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re traveling from Dubai to New Zealand or from London to Alaska, these are some tips I picked up along the way can make any trip a little easier.
1. Baby Steps
When traveling with your baby, don’t put him or her in the outfit you want your family or friends to see as you step off the airplane. There’s a high probability that outfit won’t make it past the security checkpoint. Have several changes of clothes—you’ll need them.
Benadryl is your best friend. Pack it in your carry-on before you even pack your extra change of clothes. Benadryl will save you from the person ahead or behind you who’s wearing far too much perfume or cologne, from the allergens in the new country you’re visiting but can’t enjoy because you’re sneezing so much, and can quiet the baby in your arms that won’t stop crying. Believe me, you’ll need Benadryl.
When traveling with a teenager who would rather be anywhere but with his or her parents, make a game of it. One of my favorite memories of traveling with my son through Italy was making a game out of finding the best gelato in the country. We had the best time searching for little hole-in-the-wall locations that served some of the most amazing gelato we’d ever tasted. (And yes, we did find the absolute best gelato in Florence at a little place called Grom. I still dream about it.)
4. Hats On
Always pack a hat. It can cover your hair when you realize that it was absurd to think you would actually use your hairspray and mousse. And you can only rock the windblown look for so many days in a row. When moving my son into his dorm room the first year of college, I picked up a hat from the bookstore on a whim. Since that move-in day, the same hat has given me an opportunity to connect with strangers who share a connection to the college. “My grandchild went there. My niece goes there. What a great school, did you go there?” It makes meeting people so much easier. So find a hat and wear it with pride!
Always bring a pair of flip-flops. Whether it’s the questionable shower floor in your hotel, a blister from the cute pair of shoes you wore the first day of the trip, or a sudden broken toe from trying to get around someone in the airport (it can happen, trust me), those flip-flops will be your lifesaver. Find a comfortable pair and pack them together with the Benadryl!
6. Make Time and Get Out There
My best tip is to make time to travel. Yes, there may be some really good reasons to stay home, save the money, go next year; but there are a million more reasons to go right now. You will never regret the sights you’ll see, the people you’ll meet, and the memories you’ll make. Go on that adventure, book that trip, find those hole-in-the-wall gelato places, and don’t forget to get lost once in a while.
I hail from southern California, but feel I belong in the Pacific Northwest. My favorite time of the day is early morning while out running or walking with my dog. Favorite vegetable is cucumber and favorite fruit is mango! My perfect day is a lot of reading along with a lot of tea. I love both dogs and cats equally and can never volunteer at a shelter for fear of bringing every single one of them home with me (my house is just too small for my heart).