Chapter 4 What’s On Your List
In Chapter 3 we talked about Making a List, or Lists…and this chapter will cover what you may want to include on that “list”….for the items on this list can “make or break” your travels. In addition to the “list”….there are some basics to include in your carry on, and I got the following from a travel blogger, Jamie.
When you think of the best parts travel, immersing yourself in new cultures and eating authentic food probably sound more appealing than flying to your destination. But, when you have the right things with you, your flight can be the ideal time to relax and dream of all the discovery to come! To make your time in the sky even more enjoyable, we reached out to Go Ahead staff to hear which products they always pack in their carry-on bags. Here are ten of their favorites to have with you the next time you take to the skies.
One thing is for sure: Digging for your passport and other travel documents isn’t nearly as fun as digging into culture. That’s why having a functional travel wallet on hand is a must—and why we love the colorful selection made by Zoppen. With well-organized pockets for your boarding pass, money, cell phone, and more, you’re guaranteed to have everything you need at the ready. Plus, the wallet’s RFID-blocking material prevents anyone from electronically nabbing ID info and credit card numbers, so you can stroll through busy terminals at ease (and in style!).
If you’ve ever arrived at an airport’s security line just in time to remember you’ll need to toss the full water bottle in your bag, this tip’s for you. Next time you pack up your carry-on essentials, bring along an empty water bottle. You can fill it once you’re through security instead of paying high airport prices for a bottle while waiting to board your flight. Then, you’ll be able to refill it during your adventure (as long as it’s safe to drink tap water at your destination). We love the Hydro Flask bottles, which are insulated to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, making it easier to stay hydrated while quenching your thirst for adventure.
A good read
Far-off places spring to life from the pages of a good book, and bringing a travel-centric tale along during your flight is sure to get you dreaming of all the adventure to come. The Go Ahead team is full of top travel book recommendations, but one of our staff favorites is The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. In it, Weiner says there’s a link between inspiring destinations and overall happiness… and we can’t argue with that!
If you’d rather catch up on a good flick while coasting through the sky, noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. While quite reprieves may be hard to come by on busy flights, these headphones help keep any outside noise (think: crying babies) at bay while you tune into your movie or music. Want an option that won’t break the bank? Check out Sony’s over-the-ear headphones, which are comfortable enough for long trips and fold up when you’re ready to pack them away.
Enjoy passing the time on flights by watching movies on your tablet? A portable charger is the thing to bring. One of our top picks is the Jackery Bolt, a small-but-reliable external battery charger with built-in cords. It can provide a medium-sized smartphone with up to two full charges and give tablets and other electronics with USB ports more life. Simply plug the charger in overnight to give it some juice before you take off, and all you’ll need to think about is filling up your wine glass on tour instead of running out of battery in the air.
Like a good travel wallet, a roomy toiletry bag is a must for wrangling all of your in-flight essentials, and one of our favorites is the Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit. The good-looking material is sturdy, the interior is roomy, and you can simply pop your plastic gallon baggie full of 3-oz liquids inside. That way, you won’t need to go rooting around in the bottom of your tote for lotion when your parched hands need some love mid-flight.
While meeting new people is one of the best parts of travel, picking up any germs (or sharing your own) undoubtedly dampen the adventure. That’s why using antibacterial wipes is always a good idea, and Purell’s travel packs are a good go-to. You can clean your hands, tray tables, and armrests in flight for a germ-free journey, and then tuck the package in a convenient place—the wipes aren’t considered a liquid so you don’t need to worry about keeping them in your gallon baggie.
An airplane cabin’s dry, recycled air can do a number to your skin, so it’s key to have a good moisturizing cream on hand (get it?). We love L’Occitane en Provence’s creams, which hydrate without feeling greasy—and call to mind bright fragrances in the South of France. If you’re hoping to sleep as you coast through the sky, opt for the lavender scent for an extra splash of relaxation.
A refreshing wake-up may be just what you need after snoozing mid-flight, and a minty lip balm should do the trick. One of our favorites is Smith’s Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm. It hydrates while providing an invigorating kick and a light tint, all in a compact, pretty tin.
For the trip itself, let’s start with the obvious…your camera or camera phone, and the charger. Your IPad, if you use it for photos, and its charger. If you use your IPad for Kindle, then be sure you have the books you want to read downloaded while you have an internet service available. Sun glasses are always needed, and you might think about a case to keep them from breaking. If you like to take notes of things you see, or memorable things that happen on the trip, take along a writing tablet or note pad, and a couple of pens that work. Maybe for you it is your daily Diary. Binoculars always come in handy, but get a good one. REI is where I got mine…very pleased and only $100. A small umbrella is always good to take, for even though you may be in an area where it is not suppose to rain, be prepared in case weather turns bad. Just keep it small. Sunscreen may be needed, so stick in a tube, but it has to be the right size. For the flight, air sickness or Jet Lag pills may work, and the same for sea sickness. Slippers for the long flights are often well used, as well as a neck brace and eye covers and ear plugs. Always good if you plan on sleeping on the flight. And, if you take medications, be sure you have them with you on the flight, not in your checked luggage.
We covered the correct clothes, coats, and hats previously….but also think about personal security. If you have a fanny pack or a pouch, be sure it is RFID, which protects valuables for potential theft of private information. If you carry a purse, be sure it is RFID and has a way to strap it to your body. Men’s wallets should be kept in the front pocket of pants, not in the back pocket. If you use a back pack, they are great but can be accessed from the back, and you might want to look at one that you can carry in front of you, as well as on your back. If you are in a big crowded area, keep the pack in front of you with your arms around it. Speaking of personal security.…let’s think about the credit card and cash that you carry. First, be sure and notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside the US, and they will probably ask what countries, and the dates, so have this handy. And, be sure and mention that you may be using both a credit and debit card. Regarding US dollars, in cash, for the most part will not be accepted in stores. Use a credit or debit card. However, dollars can be used for hotel tips, etc. but again, not widely accepted. Local cash, which you can get at ATM’s, which are very accessible, is the way to go. I do not recommend keeping much cash on you (maybe $100 converted to local currency) as you can use your debit card for almost all purchases. This process is much more common outside the US than in the US. We will talk more about getting local currency once you arrive at the in-country airport.
Now that you have done your pre trip planning, your pre-trip packing, and have your list of items to take, you are ready to depart and head to the airport. Chapter 5 will deal with “The Airport”….from getting there to taking off….stay tuned.
Chapter 3 Make A List
Make a List. I started making a list when I started traveling in 1960, while on a UCLA project to India. We did not have a lot of choice, as our Faculty Leader said, ” you can take 1 suitcase, and it has to be small”. Well, for a 20 year old college student that grew up with a Mom that said “wear clean clothes every day”, this was not going to be an easy task. But, I made it…and I made it because of My List.
Then for 10 years, while I was with World Vision and traveled someplace every week, the list was critical, and to this day, I make a list for every trip. In fact, now I make a couple of lists. One is for the trip, and one is to prepare for the trip, and let’s start with this one. From stopping the paper, (and yes, some people still get a newspaper), to stopping the mail, to planning out how the dogs and cats will be cared for, make that list for your departure. I even put on there adjust the heating and cooling system, depending on the time of year, and I list turn off the water if it is winter and may freeze. And so it goes. One word of caution though, that just came to me by a reader on Active Rain, only tell people that you know that you are leaving…don’t put it out there for the world to see on Facebook, etc….we are in a different world these days, and it is best that not everyone know that you are going to be traveling for 3 weeks, or whatever. But, do tell the neighbors that you know that you are leaving…could they keep an eye on the house, etc. They are always willing and you may want to return the favor…part of being a good neighbor. Put “check with the neighbors” on your list.
Plan for the trip. I like to think through the days, and what will I be doing each day. If you are walking a lot, will 1 pair of shoes work, or will you need two. What about the weather? Will you need a coat or jacket, and what attire do you want if you go to a concert, or to a fancy restaurant in Rome? Then, I will actually make a list of day to day clothes. This may sound ridiculous, but this way I can determine how many shirts, pants, etc I will need before I will have to do the laundry. This also helps to point out that you really will not need 8 changes for an 8 day trip…or that you may need that many changes. Then my list will start to list the activities that I am anticipating, such as climbing up a mountain, swimming in the hotel pool, or going on a photo safari. Do I have the batteries needed, as well as the tripod if I am using one, etc. Will I need my binoculars if i am looking at birds, or at a sporting event. Am I going to keep a diary, or will I use my IPad, and if so, do I have the charger(s). If I want to do some serious reading, do I have a book or is it on Kindle, and if so, have I downloaded the books I want to read. If you want to go to the hotel gym, what do I wear? What about a hair dryer, or clippers if you have a trimmed beard or need an haircut? Well, this is the process, and smart travelers go through this at least a week in advance of departure, which gives you time to pick something up at Walmart or the local drug store.
In the next section, I am going to list some items to put on your List, in preparation for the flight, and then arrival at the airport or port….so stay tuned…Chapter 4 What’s On Your List?
Effective January 1st…I am the Redding agent for Viking Cruises, and am very pleased with this opportunity. We just completed our 3rd Viking Cruise…and I am now “a believer” in Viking. They are great. No wonder they are consistently rated #1 among the Cruise lines.
Viking Cruises, both in their Ocean and River Cruises, offers cruises where you truly explore your destination-through its food, culture, countryside, and customs. You learn about the lands through which you travel via informative talks that bring history to life through cultural adventures, in-depth pre-trip materials, and on-demand programing-all designed to help you experience the most from your travels.
So, just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you brochures, information, details on the Cruises, both Ocean and River…and we will go from there. Viking is a winner.
Another MUST…if you are interested in British history…and especially WW II….and what led up to it. How we missed the Churchill War Rooms museum and exhibit is a good question, for this is a great exhibit and history lesson in what happened leading up to the war…and then what Winston Churchill did to lead Britain to victory.
This is a good 2 hours if you take your time…located right off of Whitehall in the heart of the government offices and right around the corner from #10 Downing Street…which was the office for Winston Churchill as Prime Minister….and literally across the street from the War Rooms.
The War Rooms is the entire area where the war was conducted by the Prime Minister. This was the Command Center, the Ops Center, and the Communication Center for the leadership in the Government. It is very well re-created in the exact rooms used back during the War….and shows the various players involved and how they were involved.
The Museum is very well done….and I found it most interesting after going through the Rooms themselves….as it kind of puts all in perspective. The way the tour is set up, the Museum is in the middle, but thanks to Carrie having been there previously….she suggested the Museum at the end, and I agree.
Just a great part of the London history…so put it on your list..
Following the War Rooms, we went to the Royal Albert Hall for the Classic Christmas with London Concert Orchestra and London Concert Chorus…and then the famous Boys Choir. Another great show…more Classic than on Wednesday with not as much “flair”…but superb classic performance. As good as it gets if you like excellent orchestra and choir, with the massive organ…..just a GREAT EVENING of great music..
Having lived here many years ago…then having visited several times over the past few years….and knowing the way the world is growing…..an issue in London that could come up is …”getting around”. And, when you are in a “season”, such as now being the Christmas season…crowds and traffic increases significantly, as London is becoming one of the most popular tourist and travel destinations in the world…folks are coming here from all over the world.
First, all traffic drives on the left side of the street, versus the right side, which is most common in most of the modern world. Secondly, the streets are quite narrow at times….so not a lot of room to change lanes, etc…..even the main streets are not that wide, so you have to be very alert to traffic on all sides. Thirdly, the volume of cars, taxis, and buses can be overwhelming at times…and all coming and going in various directions can be very intimidating. It compares with NYC, Rome, and Bangkok in volume, but very well organized, and the lines and signals are followed by all….might be called organized chaos.
Add the public transport to this mix, and it is amazing that all goes together so well. The underground, or metro, or tube…is world famous and absolutely massive in size….again, nothing really like it in the world. Well posted, once you get the idea and “swing of it”…very easy to navigate, but be prepared for crowds. The system works so well, so thousands use it daily….and it goes about 20 hours a day. The double decker buses are great, and go all over the place at all times. The bus stops may have 5 or 6 buses stopping at these stops, but the bus numbers are well posted…and the numbers are what you watch for. For example, but #10 runs up and down Knightsbridge…which takes you right to the Royal Albert Hall…#6 goes to Trafalgar, etc. The taxi system is very popular and very busy….and historically are the basic means to get around. Not cheap, and at times, not much faster to get from one point to another due to traffic, but very comfortable and safe, and they are well regulated, so no need to worry about being “ripped off”. The drivers are usually very friendly and will help as much as needed….they appreciate the tourists. The interesting thing is that many, many locals, including business folks and local shoppers, use the taxi system….so they know it works well.
So, in summary…getting around is pretty easy to figure out…and pretty easy to go from one place to the other. The key is to get the many maps, from the general maps to the bus maps to the metro – tube maps…and most of this is on various apps now. But, and this is a big “but”…be prepared for crowds, which can really slow down the entire system. When the hotel concierge says 30 minutes, give yourself 45 minutes, or even an hour, and so it goes. And, be prepared for crowds at the seasons….and if you want to see the “changing of the guard” in the summer, for example, be prepared for massive crowds lining up at the fences an hour, or more, early. And,, when one is in these tourist areas, look for the higher places to view the event…looking over the crowds, even though maybe a bit further away.
Just some thoughts on “getting around”. Can be done without much difficulty…but prepare, and be prepared.
Enjoy the travel in London….it will be a unique experience…..