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Travel Hacks

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I’m super fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from basically anywhere there’s an internet connection. I always hoped in college  I would end up with a job requiring me (or at least give me the freedom) to travel. At the time, I thought something like performing on a cruise ship or doing national or international tours would be the ultimate. Over time, that’s changed (well, I mean, not completely, if I was asked to perform in the national tour of Phantom, I’d totes drop everything), but I’ve definitely got one thing right now that I’ve wanted: the ability to travel freely.

This has been especially nice when I’ve wanted to visit home or go to weddings, since I don’t get to do the former too often and I am getting invited to more and more of the latter. It’s nice to not have to limit my stay to just a few days! I’m also seeing a babe in LA, so getting to maintain a long-distance relationship is much easier than if I had a 9-5 in an office. On top of all that, I can plan more trips to places I’m dying to go–Hawaii and New Zealand are the places on mind right now. And on a smaller scale, it allows me to explore my own city freely. San Francisco is filled to the brim with coffee shops and wi-fi hotspots.

I found this awesome article “101 Travel Tips” via Gala Darling and felt inspired to share a few of the travel hacks I’ve picked up. Here goes! (Oh, and forgive my use of “hacks.” I realize it’s overused, but it makes me feel trendy)

* A week before I depart, I start a packing list. Over the next few days I think of things to add that, had I waited until the night before leaving, I would probably have left behind. If I put making a list or packing until the last minute I always forget something important–underwear can be so easily forgotten and so deeply missed.

* Consider how you’re getting to the airport/bus station/train station and evaluate how valuable your time is in those last few hours at home. Even though public transportation to SFO is available, I usually opt for Super Shuttle or (my new favorite) Sidecar. I can plan to leave an hour or more before I need to actually be at the airport and take BART, or I can take a quick little 15 minute ride there in comfort. It’s only a few bucks more anyway, and the extra hour I usually get at home goes to good use. I know, I should totally be promoting public transit here, but I’m a busy lady.

* Emergen-C. Drink it. Every day. Even if you feel fine, just do it. Sickness during any kind of travel, big or small, sucks the big one.

* I feel like everyone should know this rule, but practically every time I’m in the airport someone seems totally baffled by the fact that they can’t drag their enormous 7-11 Slurpee past security. People: liquids gotta be tinier than 3 ounces, and they have to fit in a 1-quart bag. Now ya know.

* Avoid packing things you rarely or never use when you’re at home. I’m always compelled to bring some lipstick that I haven’t used that much or a shirt I only wore one time like 6 months ago. Traveling is a poor time to decide to pull things from the back of your closet. You only have so much space anyway, you want to haul things with you that’ll get plenty of use.

* Earplugs and/or an eye mask might just be the extras you need to doze off on a long trip when you’re feeling restless, or if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping in a new place.

* Plan for comfort. I’m always cold, and I mean, the air conditioning on flights is ridiculous, amirite? I know I’m going to be cold, so I avoid sandals, I always use my jacket as a blanket, and I wear layers just in case I’m warm.

* A great way to pack lotions or liquids that I need a small amount of for a weekend trip: contact cases. It saves space like cray.

* Contraception! Pack some condoms, obviously, and if you’re a lady and can afford to have an extra one laying around, it’s always good to have a morning-after pill handy. It’s just a worst-case-scenario type of thing. How much would it suck to be in the middle of the Appalachian Trail needing some Baby-B-Gone and not able to get it? Exactly.

* I bring one accessory–a scarf, bracelet, pair of sunnies, a hat, watch, etc.–that I can put on and instantly feel amazing. You’re not traveling around with your entire wardrobe, so it’s easy to have a case of the I-have-nothing-to-wear’s. Seriously, don’t worry, you look amazing. But a go-to item always helps.

* Travel jams are the shit. Obvi have a good playlist lined up, but I like to treat myself to a new song (or if I’m feeling like a total baller, even an entire album) before a trip. Not only will your trip feel shorter, but every time you play that music you’ll think of your amazing time on the road. (Side note: I’m totally digging The Wire by HAIM lately).

* Last, remember kindness. I get that traveling is stressful, and it totally stinks to be stranded at the airport or to have missed the tour cut-off or whatever it is. Still, yelling and screaming won’t make anyone feel better (it’ll feel good in the moment, but afterwards you’ll feel like shit). Acting like a total asswipe won’t tempt anyone into helping you out. Just politely and firmly deal with frustrating situations on the way to your destination. It’ll all be okay.

Anyone else have some great travel insight to share?

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