Another guest blog post! Please read on for some invaluable (international) travel information! Thanks M. 🙂
Our favorite Bee asked me to guest blog ages ago—I’m talking months—and while I enthusiastically agreed I’ve been a bit stumped as to what I could offer of interest, to you, dear readers?
My husband recently suggested that I share some pearls of learned wisdom from my ever-evolving travel system (read: how to make frequent travel less physically and mentally painful). I travel frequently to South/east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa for work (about 50% of my time) and have developed some coping strategies that others might find useful.
In the pre-travel phase—aka—packing, I swear by packing cubes to organize clothes and keep them relatively wrinkle free. I initially received these as a gift and thought they were better suited to a more type-A personality but after only one use I became an ardent fan and die hard evangelist. Really, that’s the best gift, isn’t it, something you never knew you needed and now can’t live without?
I also don’t leave home without “emergency food” – sustenance that can tide you over when you’re caught mid-flight or in situations with food hygiene concerns. Depending on my destination it can range from my favorite chewy granola bars (India) to the genius GoPicnics (Nigeria) to the heavy-duty military style Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) (Papua New Guinea). Being hungry is the worst, especially when you have limited options/control over addressing this first order need. Also, don’t forget to bring enough to share with your new friends who will most certainly enjoy making fun of you for bring a suitcase full of food with you to their country J
In flight, be sure to have your homemade in-flight comfort pack at the ready. Included in this pack are deluxe noise cancelling headphones so you can actually comfortably hear the next 6 films you are about to watch, an eye mask (optimistically included in case sleep is an option), a really soft fleece travel blanket, refreshing wipes, travel moisturizer, and menthol inhaler to keep your sinuses working. Also, key are compression socks, which may or may not prevent deep vein thrombosis but definitely help avoid unsightly cankles.
I travel with an unlocked GSM iphone and have had relative ease picking up micro sim cards in-country and marveling how inexpensive cellular data really could be. In this digital age, there is a huge arsenal of applications to make life-on-the-go infinitely easier. I rely heavily on TripIt a free service that compiles all travel reservations very seamlessly when you forward them from email—try it, you will love it, guaranteed. Many people are Skype users which is invaluable for video chats and keeping in touch with friends and family everywhere. Along those lines, a google voice account is a free tool that includes online voicemail and voicemail and texts to your email inbox. This allows one to keep up with their cell phone activity from anywhere in the world without having to actually use their physical phone—genius! These are just several of dozens and dozens useful travel apps—how did we get by without this technology!?
Thats it for now travelers, bon voyage, and please share your travel tips!