Traveling allows me to see the world through my eyes

Coping with Long Hauls and Waits

As a person passionate about travel it only makes sense that i need help when faced with the prospect of having to stay put for long periods of time.  This page will provide helpful tips and shared stories of how to travel well when on long hauls and/or when waiting for long periods of time.  Here are my tips for dealing with Long Hauls and Long Waits:

FLIGHTS: As much as I love to travel to far off destinations like Europe (for now), I struggle and dread those long 10+ hours flights.  Of course, I can never qualify nor afford Business Class seats so I don’t have the luxury of reclining and wide comfy seats to make my experience more pleasant.  Nope, I am always in Economy class where I always feel like a sardine. No reclining seats, barely enough leg room and high competition for overhead space directly above me.  Here’s some helpful tips:

1.  SEAT SELECTION:  Plan early and make sure that you get the seat that you would feel most comfortable in.  Use Seat Guru to help find the seat that is not next to the Lavatories or at the back with no recline.  For flights longer than 1-2 hours I prefer to have an Aisle seat because first it allows me to get up anytime I want to without having to disturb my seat mate, I feel less claustrophobic and I have a bit of aisle room to stretch my legs out periodically.  I don’t mind getting bumped by walker bys or by the snack carts, but for some people it would not be their preference.  Some people prefer the window seat for the view and also for leaning up against the window when they sleep. 

2.  FOOD AND WATER:  First, allow yourself enough time to stop by the snack shop (once you pass through security) to purchase a bottle of water.  It’s important to stay hydrated and I prefer to have my bottle of water at my seat rather than bugging the flight attendants every-time I needed water. Secondly, have a little supply of snacks (ie., cookies, candy, trail mix, etc.) in case you don’t like the food they serve, which for me is almost 99% of the time.  When packing your carry-on, sort your snacks (along with your must have at my seat) or other items in a little pouch or baggie so you can take it out before you store your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment.  I once had my throat lozenges in my carry-on which was located two rows ahead of me and it was really difficult to take it down.  Once someone helped to get it for me, it took a long while for me to locate the baggie because the lights were off.  

3.  ENTERTAINMENT:  As you do with your snacks and water, when preparing your carry-on, organize your entertainment items in a designated pouch/baggie for easy removal so you can store it at your seat.  I have a very small Nano and headphones as well as an iTouch for movies, TV shows, music and e-books.

4. SECURITY:  I always travel with a Security Neck pouch to hold my passport, ATM debit cards, credit cards and emergency/large sums of cash.  This goes with me everywhere I go (like to the laboratory/stretching breaks).  These are things that cannot be replaced and I want them with me at all times.  Not that I don’t trust my seat mates, but well I really don’t.  Not 100% at least which is the trust meter I require for these items.  When I travel, I always have a second personal item like a handbag with me.  Some Airlines may have strict guidelines and only allow one carry-on item.  I try to leave space to hold at handbag in it.  Once I pass through security, I pull out my handbag and that is what I put under my seat.  Usually the contents will include:  Snacks, Entertainment item, Medication (Emergency Inhaler, Tylenol, Dramamine, Claritin), Water Bottle, Airport Security Wallet, small change purse with some cash, wet wipes, 

HOW TO DEAL WITH LONG WAITS:

Whether you are traveling on a group tour or independently, be prepared to experience some long periods of down time waiting to catch your flights, trains, bus or even hotel/apartment check in times.  Here are a few tips:

  • Whenever possible, use the time to take short naps, read up on your next destination, update your travel journal (and if you don’t keep one, I highly suggest that you do), people watch, listen to music, or just relax.  If you are scheduled to arrive at your destination before your hotel/apartment check – in time, ask the hotel or apartment contact person if they will allow you to check in early.  If not, try to research near by cafes/restaurants for you to wait in.  Some train/bus/airports may have some kind of luggage storage facilities if possible so you won’t have to be saddled with your luggage while you start exploring the city/town you are in.

– When riding trains or buses going from one destination to another, I took the chance to take pictures of my experience.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to take some pictures of the countryside along the way.  Whenever I could I would take pictures of the signs at the train stations we stopped at.  The photos helped me to remember some of the logistics of my trip and that helped me when writing my trip reports.  Point is there are many things that you can do to use this time well.

TIPS WHEN TRAVELING WITH A TOUR GROUP

– On those long bus rides between countries, the Tour Director (aka “TD”) might play some music on the bus, which was okay. But if you prefer to listen to a certain type of music you should bring your own.  If you are traveling independently by bus, train or plane, listening to your selection of music will relax you and keep you entertained.  Personally, I like it as it brings a little bit of “home” with you on the road!

– As soon as you hit your rest stops, immediately go to the restroom. Many other tour groups also use these stops, so you want to get in line as soon as possible. Tip: Your TD will ask the group to limit their use of the on board facilities to emergency situations only. 

– I preferred to use the rest/lunch stops primarily to stretch my legs and take pictures or hunt for possible souvenirs rather than sitting and having a meal.  I packed several bags of trail mix, which I used to snack on during these stops.  

– On the tour bus be prepared to rotate seating. It’s a fair system. On the two tours that I did take, our group didn’t rotate seats because most people just preferred sitting in their same seats.  However, you should be prepared in case your tour requires it.

Travel Tips: Long Hauls and Long Waits

 

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Running, cycling and hiking gives me that rush! Music energizes and soothes my soul! Photography preserves my memories and tells my stories! Art provides beauty and fuels my imagination! History gives me knowledge, a deeper understanding for the present and hope for the future! Family & Friends warms my heart! And Travel . . . well Travel keeps me HAPPY!

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - - by Mark Twain

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