Welcome to the second day of RT Prep Week!
Today, we’re discussing travel. I fly about eight times a year. Not frequently enough to get upgrades, but enough to have learned how I travel–and how I can travel more effectively.
RT is a big trip — it’s a week if you go the entire time. (I’ll be arriving Wednesday morning and leaving again on Sunday.) So it’s helpful to be prepared not just for the travel, but for the hotel stay.
1. Scope your City: If you’re the extra-prepared type (I am), check Google Maps and survey the area around your hotel. Got a morning coffee routine? Find the closets Starbucks. Always need aspirin or Band-Aids? Locate the nearest pharmacy. Knowing where to get the things you might need — even if you never need them — can ease travel anxiety.
2. Build an Itinerary: If you want to make sure you’re making the most of RT and NOLA while you’re there, consider creating a travel itinerary. I create a simple Word document for each trip that contains: (1) Key information (hotel confirmation number; airplane arrival and departure times); (2) Places to visit and things to see during downtime; and (3) Restaurant reservations. I am obsessed with OpenTable.
3. Travel Wear: Travel can mean long waits and long lines, and that irritating Hurry-Up-And-Wait mentality. Layered clothing is very helpful, especially since temperature can vary between car rides, restaurants, airports, airplanes, and hotel lobbies. Wear shoes that are comfy in a hurry — you’ll need comfort if you’re hustling down a hallway to grab a connecting flight — and can be easily removed at TSA checkpoints. A large but thin travel blanket packs small, but can help a lot on a chilly plane or car ride.
4. Pack in Pods: I almost always travel with two bags: a hardsided rolling suitcase that I check, and a tote bag that I bring on board. My tote contains: (1) my laptop; (2) purse items (keys, wallet, phone); (3) books and magazines for the plane; (4) snacks (See #6 below); (5) personal items (tissues, lip balm, lotion, gum); (6) a notebook; and (7) pencil case.
My suitcase contains clothes, shoes, a very organized toiletry case (I just bought this one and LOVE it), and a tote of swag. The toiletry case contains travel-sized products, so it’s always packed and ready to go.
In addition to the above, consider not just what you’re taking, but what you’ll be bringing home, and leave extra space as necessary. (See #7 below).
5. Travel Entertainment: I always aim to write on a plane, but never do. Planes, for me, are rare, uninterrupted reading time. I always bring two books and two or three magazines (whatever I have on hand) in my tote. I also keep two or three episodes of a favorite TV show on my phone in case I need screen time. Headphones are stored in in my pencil case.
6. Stock Your Hotel: I have a very bad tendency to get dehydrated when I travel. There’s no fridge or ice machine, so I don’t drink nearly as much water as I usually do. I now stock up before I get to the hotel — water, fruit, healthy or pre-portioned snacks — to make sure that I have food and drink necessities on hand. That decreases the odds I’ll do something silly — like pay $6.00 for a bottle of hotel water. This year, I’ll be bringing granola bars and Chicago-based Skinny Pop to keep in my hotel room. I’ll also grab several bottles of water at the airport or en route to the hotel before I arrive.
7. Consider the Swag: You may arrive at RT with a dozen books for your favorite authors to sign, but you’ll likely leave with dozens more. From visits to the Goodie Room, to contest prizes, to Book Fair purchases, you’ll probably haul home more than you brought.
How to get those goodies home? The conference will have a mailing station at which you can pay to ship your books directly to your house. You can can also cram books into your suitcase or checked bag, but that presumes you had extra space in the checked bag in the first place. (See #2 above). I pack a small tote (a thin Baggu), which can be filled with books as you go and carried on the plane or stuffed into the trunk of a car.
8. Visit the Experts: Finally, there are several bloggers and web sites that offer assistance in traveling, including Hitha On The Go and 3FLOZ, which sells travel-sized products specifically for travel. Also check out packing tips from Real Simple.
I hope this is helpful!
Join me tomorrow as I share our AMAZEBALLS RT Booklovers swag giveaway/contest. 🙂
If you have more travel tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments.