Ginger Ale, Outlets, and Crying: Our Travel Rituals in Roundtable Form

Inspired by Danielle LaPorte and Carmen’s incessant need to write herself down in order to learn who she is. These are our travel rituals.

Carmen, Feminism Editor


Since my girlfriend Geneva lives on the other side of the continent and I’m constantly dreaming of California (and A-Camp), I’ve had my fair share of experience on airplanes. (I’m a United MileagePlus enthusiast, because I’m thrifty and now I get rewarded for it.) Since I live four hours from home, I’ve also ridden many a BoltBus to New York. (MegaBus is just not as good, y’all — weirder people, low-fi Internet, fewer outlets, and a lot more setbacks.) But no matter the format, the patterns are mostly the same.

First things first: I leave my room absolutely spotless when I travel. Coming back to my real life can be rough, but a clean room to come home to can make it all better. As I’m packing, I’m also cleaning — I hang up clothes that are laying over my clothing rack, I fold up the things I decided not to bring and put them away, I throw out trash and wash any piled-up coffee mugs or toast plates. When I’m leaving, I arrange my vanity and make my bed before I get on the shuttle. All of these things help me to calm my pre-travel anxieties (which are, oddly enough, super common) and also help me return home feeling happy to be there, no matter where I was before.

As for the actual traveling itself, I need to feel fabulous when I’m en route or else everything else feels like shit, so showing up for a trip in pajamas is a huge no-no for me. Instead, I show up for red-eye flights and mid-day buses alike in my favorite outfit at the time and most likely reeking of Daisy by Marc Jacobs. (Add a pair of shades, a pack of cigarettes, and two well-placed cocktail rings and I’m ready for the paparazzi.) Before every trip, I take a long, hot shower and rub glitter lotion on my shoulders. Traveling can be stressful, frustrating, and annoying (waiting in line for a dirty bathroom, your plane being delayed two hours when you’re on a strict schedule, crying children, judgmental normie old folks in your row, the dude who takes up both armrests), especially when you hate people as much as I do. Looking good helps me feel confident and centered as I’m going through these motions, as does making a diamond in the TSA screener instead of a triangle.

As a “collector” (read: hoarder) of thrift-store suitcases, I’m terrified of checking bags for fear of losing them. Instead, I travel with a soft brown leather carry-on and my floral backpack.

#Camparazzi photo of my floral backpack, countless trips strong.

#Camparazzi photo of my floral backpack, countless trips strong.

Inside the backpack, I keep Notes to Myself, usually in conjunction with The Royal Tenenbaums manuscript and/or Acorn, a Moleskine for journaling, and photos of Eli (my dog) and/or Geneva to look at on the plane and display wherever I’m staying. In the suitcase, I roll all of my clothes to maximize space and make sure I’ve packed a pair of pajama socks to make me forget I’m not wearing my fuzzy slippers at night and at least two extra pairs of underwear, just in case I encounter a panty thief. My toiletries vary: whenever I’m in a hotel, I take home the free shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and body soaps and washes on the return trip, which I then bring along for trips where I’m staying somewhere less accommodating. It saves me money the next time around, and it also allows me to remember the good / #luxelife times no matter what my travel situation is. I’ve spent a few trips now smelling of five-star hotel and feeling like I’m with Geneva in Los Angeles, so I have no regrets. Judge me all you want.

Speaking of those toiletries, though: when I’m packing, I make sure I put all the “removables” at the top of a bag. Laptops, phones, liquids — anything that ends up in one of those plastic baskets that nobody ever wants to prepare in advance despite the gargantuan line at the airport security terminal — I put somewhere easy to access and easy to refill when they’re done scanning. That way, I get to one last bit of self-righteous superiority over everyone who’s struggling to fit their laptop back into their laundry bag. (Last meaning I already showed up, as shown above, looking better than all of them.)

I’m more zen when I’m being indulgent, so I break out of my #foreverbroke mindset whenever I’m traveling, too. I buy too many drinks at an airport bar or pick up the most recent issue of Glamour if that’s what makes me feel good. I also dish out money for cabs or shuttles to simplify getting to terminals and back home again without giving myself any guilt; that way, I arrive with my ticket in hand and no back pain, and I know I’ll be there on time. (I’ve tried the Dulles Bus. That shit took too long.)

I’m also more zen when I’m not hungry, so I make sure I’ve packed at least one snack when I’m on the go. (My go-to picks: party mix, cheddar crackers of any kind, white cheddar popcorn.) If it’s morning when I’m coming or going, I go to Dunkin Donuts for a medium iced coffee, everything bagel with cream cheese, and side of hashbrowns. It works every time.

Unlike 99% of human beings, I hate sleeping en route. Over time, I’ve realized I hate working on trips even more. Travel time is me time, especially the actual journeys, so I try to avoid packing a laptop for pleasure trips or worrying about projects on the plane. Instead, I disconnect and give myself full license to contemplate my existence while staring out the window listening to Fleetwood Mac. It’s revolutionary, really.

Fikri, Contributing Editor

Various creatures I have unsuccessfully attempted to bring with me across the oceans: (clockwise from top left) Singapore cat, London cat, small brother, not-small girlfriend

Various creatures I have unsuccessfully attempted to bring with me across the oceans: (clockwise from top left) Singapore cat, London cat, small brother, not-small girlfriend

The trips I take vary from hour-long train rides to Brighton from the station at my doorstep to long-haul flights between Singapore and London, but almost without fail, these are what texts to my girlfriend (who is usually asleep) sound like hours before I’m due to leave:

“hello I haven’t packed”
“I just started [new TV series]”
“I should sleep OR PACK MAYBE, IDK”
“OMG WTF [thing that happened in new TV series] ok fine I stop now”
“ugh why am I even going”
“hate packing”
(10min later)
“oh I’m done”

I actually have packing down to an art, but it’s not something you really learn to love, is it? I keep everything I need to go in a drawer: travel-sized toiletries in an airport-safe plastic bag (can’t recommend GoToob bottles enough), a travel towel, slippers (I usually stay in hostels), a universal travel adapter, and a bag to fit chargers in. All of these go into the Deuter Cross Bike rucksack I used to carry everywhere, but that’s been stolen recently so I’m now eyeing the Deuter Superbike EXP — though tbh for the past few weeks I’ve been travelling with an ordinary, super basic backpack a friend gave me and it’s not half bad save for the sore shoulders and lack of waterproofing. If I’m travelling for a bit longer, I use ziploc/vacuum seal bags to squeeze more stuff in.

I’m really easygoing when travelling, which, ironically, tends to make people I’m with anxious. I’ve found that you don’t really need to arrive at the airport more than an hour or so before your flight leaves (I’ve tested this even with two kids in my charge — my mum still hasn’t really forgiven me for this one), especially if you’re not checking a bag. It’s even better with trains and buses.

At the destination: get a paper map! For me this is the fastest and best way to navigate unfamiliar territory. (Google Maps tells you the best way to get from A to B, but doesn’t give you a good sense of what’s where.) Map postcards are also the only souvenirs I get for myself, aside from the occasional obligatory touristy photo. I’m not a fan of travel photography — capturing what many others have done before me, and probably better — so if I do bring a camera along at all I leave the zoom lenses behind in favour of more compact prime ones. I used to carry a Nikon D5100 with a 35mm f1.8 lens but now I have an Olympus OM-D EM-10 with a 25mm f1.8 lens, which, in silver, is an A+ accessory for anyone who ones to look like a caricature of a tourist. Or, y’know, just a tourist. Taking photos. As tourists do.

Reading Melissa Gira Grant's Sexing the Whore on top of a mountain overlooking Loch Torridon in the Northwest Scottish Highlands, as tourists do.

Reading Melissa Gira Grant’s Sexing the Whore on top of a mountain overlooking Loch Torridon in the Northwest Scottish Highlands, as tourists do.

What’s most important to me when I’m away is taking things at my own pace, whether that means sleeping in then spending the day reading in cafés and parks or pushing myself to cycle for hours on absurdly hilly country roads. I think it’s totally fine to give a giant shopping centre or rainforest tree-top walk or even the Eiffel Tower a miss if you know that’s not gonna be your thing. (Though if there’s even the slightest chance that it might be, now’s the time to find out! Tree-top walks are awesome.) “Must-sees” are a social/commercial construct, and together we can resist the homogenising hegemony of Buzzfeed’s “25 _____ You Must Visit Before You Die” lists.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Oh, but there is this one thing: tomato juice. With ice, obviously. Every time. Never on land, always in the sky. It’s practically food!

    Same here! I just ordered it the first time I flew and then every flight ever since. I don’t think I have even tried tomato juice on land. I don’t know, it helps against that weird airplane feeling or something…

    • I think my Mom must have suggested that I order it the first time I flew as a kid? It’s a total mystery to me but I have a vague feeling that she did

  2. My air travel ritual these days seems to be to stress out over what I’m going to do on the plane for fourteen hours, then getting on the plane, taking an Ativan, and passing out for fourteen hours.

  3. Packing is always an issue for me. No matter how many times I check my bag, I’m not satisfied that I have remembered everything. I probably check that my passport hasn’t magically dissolved into thin air a few dozen times per journey.

    I fly a lot (working abroad + transatlantic relationship) but really don’t like air travel because I hate going through airports and no matter how much time I allow, I always feel rushed and panicky and generally anxious. If at all possible, I take the train. My most recent train journey was a 13-hour overnight from northern Spain to Lisbon. My friends mostly reacted with “OMG so long why not flying” but it was completely fine – a few hours of reading time and pretty scenery, then train napping! Way less awkward and uncomfortable than flying.

    • A thing I regret, to this day, is not doing the 24-hours-roundtrip-of-Italy train tour I thought about while studying abroad.

  4. Yay, I love to hear how other people deal with this super-stressful thing! My partner is a kiwi and we have spent the last three Canadian winters/New Zealand summers in New Zealand. Not exactly as dreamy as it sounds since we are always almost broke, and I am a super anxious traveler and have chronic pain that makes everything that’s already stressful worse.

    I basically make the planning part a bit of an obsession, as in we have like four months before we leave and I have a packing list (actually, it is an packing app that I totally love for the mostly false sense of control it gives me).

    Probably the most important travel accessory for me, which I don’t think anyone mentioned, is a travel pillow of some sort! I cried on the way to the airport last time because I forgot my travel pillow (can be used soooo many ways – back support, neck support, a way to lean against the evil permanent armrest, or, my fave – sleep on the fold-out tray on top of sweater and pillow. Anything to avoid being awake for 36 hours). But I managed to buy one at the air port for twice the price and it has spaceships on it.

  5. TRANSIT TRANCE. This is exactly my life. I fell asleep on a 15-minute bus once. In planes, I’m usually out before takeoff. And I’m the worst passenger seat buddy for road trips because I will sleep the whole time and the driver will have nobody to talk to and won’t play loud music and therefore has a hard time staying awake.

    • I AM THE WORST PASSENGER IN THE WORLD FOR THIS AND OTHER REASONS. Other reasons mostly being that I am always convinced that my side has miraculously grown a brake pedal and everyone can see me try to put my foot on it.

    • I get transit trance for short bus/train/citycat trips, like through the city or something, but hardly ever on long-haul. Weird!

    • Since I was a kid, I have alwaus been fast asleep within 15 minutes of leaving for a trip
      … I am the worst road trip companion too, completely useless to the driver lol

  6. In the last two years I’ve been traveling more and so I have a lot of similar rituals.I clean my entire apartment and buy things you should have in your fridge that aren’t craft beer and chips so the dog sitter feels welcome and also on the off chance I die in transit and my family has to visit my apartment.I traditionally shop for new shirts before I leave town so packing is often done a week in advance, but sometimes I dance around my suitcase making decisions at 2am the day I leave, because I am just too nervous and excited. I make at least 3 playlists,2 upbeat for airport lounging, and 1 slow jam just in case there is turbulence. Sade is good for turbulence. I also usually try to buy a copy of Garden & Gun,Rolling Stone and The Economist before I take off so I have plenty of things to keep me alert. After becoming an inflight babysitter on my last trip to ACamp I have also added a Lisa Frank coloring book and glitter pens to my carry on. Just in case I am consulted on the theme of a chatty 8 year old’s next birthday party. I usually take morning flights so the novelty of being able to have a beer with my breakfast @ 6am is marvelous. For about a year I took the Megabus to Chicago like 10 times. My notebook and fancy pen and my flask made that more pleasant.

    • I love this idea! I often find myself befriending children and letting them draw in my journal with a ballpoint pen or play with my keys. It would be so much better to have a box of crayons with me!

  7. My packing ritual tends to involve trying on every article of clothing I own to make sure that my favorite t-shirt is still indeed my favorite t-shirt because YOU NEVER KNOW. Also I will never not be cold on airplanes, so I layer like a bamf, regardless of how hot my destination is. And I pack my own food, because binging on overpriced airport snack food to kill time only ends in regret.

  8. Dang, Riese! Aside from the tomato juice and crosswords, but especially because of packing paralysis, despising plane smells, obsessively tracking the flight progress, being physically incapable of re-wearing plane clothes (WHO ARE THE MONSTERS WHO RECOMMEND WEARING A SUIT ON A PLANE SO THAT IT WON’T WRINKLE IN A SUITCASE, AND WHY DON’T THEY KNOW THEY’RE REVOLTING?), and frequent, crippling decision fatigue, we are totally travel twins. High five!

    • Who the fuck recommends wearing a suit in flight? Unless you were in Business Class or First Class or something. It would be hella uncomfortable!

    • highest of fives!! i feel comforted by your admission of packing anxiety, i swear i feel like everybody else packs like a buddha

  9. I hope I sit behind you on every flight ever, Riese! I share your belief in reclining karma and never recline myself because humanity and courtesy. (Though I find myself struggling to remember the humanity of any passenger in front of me who reclines deep/early. And my knees may make that frustration and anger known on the back of their seat.)

    I also have an extreme aversion to gum, so that can make breathing airplane air really gross sometimes. But, I do understand that folks need it for their ears, so I try not to be obnoxious about that one.

  10. Whenever I’m traveling I spend the entire week before making and revising lists to make sure I forget nothing. I also spend the entire week prior checking and rechecking my flight itinerary because i’m terrified of something going wrong or forgetting what time my flight leaves and missing my flight.

    The entire night before is spent making sure my apartment is spotless (i’m afraid if I’m burglarized while i’m gone the burglars will judge me if i leave it messy) and painstakingly packing, rolling my clothes into tiny rolls and fitting everything together like a puzzle. when I first started travelling, I used to grossly over-pack, now I pack like two pairs of pants and like 4 tank tops and one hoodie (which i’ll be wearing anyway duh) and usually every undergarment that i own (the one thing i actually pack too much of). All my meticulous efforts to pack everything perfectly and neatly are undermined as literally every single time I travel, the tsa people go through my bag and ruin everything anyway.

    I hate airports, but i’m okay once I am on the airplane. I used to try to pack books for the flight but I’ve come to accept that it is literally impossible for me to stay awake on an airplane.

    also, I ~love~ that crying at the wawa song (mal blum is perfect). but (ironically?) I cannot listen to it without bursting into tears so…

  11. I agree 100% regarding (not) reclining. I really wish that it would simply stop being an option. Just have the airline pick a permanent slight angle, and be done with it!
    I’m also a huge fan of the ginger ale, as well as ginger hard candies. I always arrive feeling better without a Dramamine haze!
    I used to pack the same clothes that I would normally wear- I thought the clothing that’s sold specifically for travel makes people look out-of-place and touristy when they wear it. This was before I got sent to a remote location for work. I didn’t realize we wouldn’t have access to washers and dryers for almost a month. We wound up having to wash our clothes in the sinks and dry them on makeshift clotheslines in the bathrooms… I was seriously jealous of the people with the quick-drying, wrinkle free stuff after that. So I’ve wound up actually having a bunch of stuff that I pack for traveling that I know I can hand-wash and dry overnight, which has really lessened the amount of stuff I pack- now I use carry-ons every time!

    • “Just have the airline pick a permanent slight angle, and be done with it!”

      This idea has never even occurred to me because I always felt like there was something specifically aerodynamic and complicated w/r/t engineering where the seat can be a certain way only after takeoff and it’s an option because making all the seats just recline automatically after takeoff would seem weird and be harder to engineer

      I always feel really relieved to meet another non-recliner, if there are enough of us out there maybe we can one day change the world

    I understand planes and airports better than I understand people.

    Perhaps oddly enough, for someone who spends almost half her life on some flight or another (and the occasional bus/train/etc), I don’t really have any rituals. Or anything that I would identify as a ritual anyway – perhaps there’s some things I do out of habit that come naturally to me but not to others.

    Firstly there’s visas. Thank God for Malaysian passports and how they make visas a little less necessary. I was on a Bangladesh passport till my 26th birthday and GAAAAAHHHH I HATE VISAS. All this inane paperwork that they never really check properly anyway.

    I almost always keep my packing to the absolute last minute, because I hate packing, it feels depressing. I tend to be pretty good at keeping my packing minimal.

    Spare set of clothes on your carryon. Anything vaguely liquid or gel-like in Ziploc bags. All tech on carryon, including chargers – they’re now making it mandatory for phones to be charged before hitting security. Shoes off, jacket off, laptop in its own try, put all loose items in the tray (or just save some time and put it in the carryon), bring passport and boarding pass through scanner/patdown/Xray thing.

    And – as I learnt the hard way – DO NOT BRING COOKIE BUTTER ON YOUR CARRYON.

    Bring something comfortable to wear inflight if you’re doing a long-distance or redeye flight. No one really cares about how you look. I bring a kaftan or sweatpants and change into that. Those eyemasks you sometimes get inflight? LIFESAVER.

    Bring a jumper/cardigan on flight because planes get super cold for some reason.

    See if you can afford a one-time airport lounge pass if you’re going to be at the airport for a long time (e.g. a long layover). The free shower & food is totally worth it. I’m still pissy at Virgin for making the passes inaccessible though, boo.

    I was actually about to start a YouTube series all about visas and travel tips, but then MH17 happened and I’m still really heartbroken about it. (In fact the timing of this post made me side-eye hard.)

    • The lounge passes are the best eBay purchases ever. Free drinks, big comfy chairs, plenty of USB and power outlets, newspapers, etc. I think I paid $15 for one on eBay and it was the best travel day I’ve had.

      • EBAY WHAT


  13. I remember when I was still studying in the Philippines and had to come back here with my mom when the school year was over. It was the SOS (same old shit) every. single. time. I think the crew started to get to know us.

    Now that I travel back there to see my wife I can see how OCD I can be about things. Did you guys know that I purchase my ticket like 4 months in advance? I DO. Then about a month before I leave, I start to get a little pile of clothes on the floor. These are the clothes I need to take with me for a month or so. Then I write myself reminders on the sticky notes of what to pack in my carry on the day of.

    I try to use the same bag I’ve always used, my SBL satchel, it holds my passport and cash and stuff like my diary that I write in while I’m on the plane. I’m totally jealous of how Ali sleeps within 15 minutes because I’ll tell you, being in the air for 12 hours next to someone you don’t know? All you’ll wanna do is sleep. So lately, I’ve resorted to taking Benadryl. As for clothes, I TRY TO LOOK DECENT. Because I know it’ll just bother me that my shirt is in wrinkles at the back if I wear something nicer.

    And I bring a small empty bottle of water and ask at meal times to fill it so I don’t bother the flight attendants during the flight. I have to totally agree with the way the plane smells. But I try to be like my mom and use the bathroom the second I board so it hasn’t been used yet by 100 other people =p AND we choose seats that are near the end (yes I know, turbulence but I think my body knows how to deal with it now) mainly because of the bathroom. Think about it, during meals you get served first. So by the time you’re done everyone has barely started to eat and you’re free to use the restroom. Then you don’t have to be the awkward person in the aisle trying to squish your body by the food cart when they’re collecting dirty trays!

  14. I have so many things I have to do on planes. Plane smell is disgusting (no one else seems to notice it though?) so I try to breathe only through my mouth. I press my feet against the floor because sometimes the plane feels weightless and I get worried. I also drink a ginger ale because ginger is meant to be good for travel sickness, but I always end up staring out the window trying not to throw up anyway. All my journeys involve me either sleeping or feeling nauseous, so snoring is the more pleasant option for all involved haha

  15. Wow I’m so impressed with everyone’s smart/helpful/healthy travel rituals.

    My ritual (if you can call it that) consists of getting so defeated by the thought of packing that I have a drink, which then leads to another, and then another. Drunk packing is much more entertaining, but I pretty much never go anywhere without forgetting something really essential like underwear or a toothbrush. It also means that I always need to make a stop for coffee or iced tea the next morning before I actually head out to wherever I’m going.

    Maybe if I traveled on planes/buses/trains more often I would be a better traveler! But the thought of driving on the interstate for 3 hours doesn’t really inspire me.

  16. last weekend I drove 19 hours to Nebraska for a wedding. I spent the night before making an 8+ hour road trip playlist, made my friends listen to half of it, and then abandoned it in favor of musicals. Then I realized I forgot my pajamas and razor when I go there, so maybe I should spend more time packing…

  17. I learnt to write obsessive lists after the time I went away for 3 months and forgot to pack socks. That said, on my last trip I forgot to pack my hairbrush, despite the fact it was on my list. Not a great start to the trip given I have waist-length hair. Oh well, at least it was stuff I could easily replace.

    Oh, and last time I travelled I already had a DVT from recent surgery, so I spent the whole time scared senseless that it would move and I would die. But on the up side, it took away from my usual fears of the plane going down.

  18. Am I the only person who finds turbulence comforting? Feels like I’m being rocked in a swing.

    • I’m with you! But more because I’m terrified of heights BUT ALSO an adrenaline junkie, so I appreciate those brief moments of weightlessness + increased heartrate.

    • no but sometimes i feel like the only one who thinks driving down curvy mountain roads without breaking to turn is a thrilling feeling to have as a human being

  19. I fly a LOT, since I’m going to school away from home and have grandparents with Super Elite airline status. Most of my travel rituals involve planning what I’m going to pack weeks in advance, then not actually packing til the night before a 3 AM flight. I also manage to somehow overpack, yet forget important things like chargers and pyjamas. Despite all that, I have my packing down to a system and can get through Security in under 2 minutes if there’s nobody in front of me.

    I also download a bunch of “teaser” game apps (you know, those ones that give you approximately 3 levels of play before making you buy the “full” version), which I rarely use but are nice to have for delays and stuff. On the plane, I read the inflight magazine during take-off and landing – I always make sure to “save” some for landing and/or the flight home. There have been a couple of times where the airline hasn’t changed the magazine over on the first of the month, so I’ve ended up with the same issue on two separate trips and it’s SO DISAPPOINTING, GUISE.

    Oh, and people who put their seats back are the WORST. I’m not above shoving their seat if I need to bend over or get out of mine.

  20. Ali just blew my mind and made traveling feel so important. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE ALSO STOOD IN THIS SPOT, SAT IN THIS SEAT, USED THIS TOILET? It will never be the same.

    Also I feel like Riese and I could be special travel buddies, commiserating over our shared “rituals” (mental issues), which may actually just increase both of our anxieties. It would surely be a good time.

    • I used to travel all the time with a friend who thought the plane was going to crash or get hijacked every.single.time and went completely insane on flights (i love you natalie) and i found my anxieties at least felt mild compared to hers, so that was relaxing for me

      • Is it not common to think that about every flight you’re on? Is that not what other people mean when they say they hate flying or are afraid of flying? That’s definitely what I mean.

        • she literally breaks into a cold shaky terrifying sweat and grips both of my hands with intense ferocity while manaically yelling that i tell her stories about happy times for the duration of takeoff and then she spends the flight in the back chatting with the flight attendants and asking them to tell her stories to distract her from our inevitable demise and then we repeat the hand-gripping storytime for landing

          i stopped flying for like a year because i was afraid of terrorists but maybe that’s another post

        • I think about my flight blowing up a lot, and I enjoy flying (well, partially, but I’m not scared about it). I think it’s more a morbid sense of “well I keep flying all the time, when will it be my turn to die in a plane crash”. Bad grasp of stats, but still.

  21. I don’t travel as much as I’d like to, but Xanax is a very crucial travel ritual for me.

  22. The last time I traveled I forgot what day I was suppose to be at the airport? Yeah. That totally happened. So, I’m at the laundromat, it’s 8pm and my friend calls me to ask me if I was on my way to LAX. I was like, “dude, it’s tomorrow. why do you think I’m doing my laundry now?” She was like, “nooo! get your ass down here, we’re leaving tonight!” So, I grabbed my humid clothes out of the dryer, drove back home and stuffed everything into my luggage. I barely made it on time and I spent a lot of mornings ironing out my clothes which sucked because who wants to be doing that on vacation?

    You know, if it were possible – I’d just throw everything into a black plastic bag, hobo style. I don’t even care.

  23. I always, always make sure to bring earplugs and a sleeping mask for any overnight flights/buses/trains, mostly because I can’t sleep if there’s too much light/sound.

    I also always bring a nice big scarf with me, which can be used to stay warm on the freezing cold plane, as a pillow, or as something to hold on your lap (which I find very comforting for whatever reason).

    Also, I have maybe found a good trick to beat jetlag: get horribly sleep-deprived in your home timezone then take an overnight flight during which you don’t sleep. By the time you arrive at your destination, you will be able to fall asleep pretty much whenever/wherever, no matter what time it is at home. (This was, of course, discovered entirely by accident when I booked a flight to Scotland the day after I finished school/moving out of residence.)

  24. For some mysterious reason, oatmeal raisin cookies are the only snack I ever choose when flying. I do not eat them at any other time. Only mid-air when whatever clearly-more-put-together-than-me person next to me pulls out their power shake and energy bar, and I realize that eating is the only thing I can do to distract myself from the misery that is flying, because reading is somehow not a thing I can focus on mid-air and I’m terrified to use my iPod after they say turn off your electronics even though the middle age business man in front of me has been on his laptop for the past hour, this is when I pull out my inexplicable oatmeal raisin cookie and feel like a child when I accidentally spill crumbs all over the seat.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find these in those airport news/mini-bookstores anymore. Like, ever. I can find every kind of energy bar under the sun and all the jumbo-sized candy you can imagine but never oatmeal raisin cookies anymore. The inability to perform my only truly ingrained travel ritual causes far too much anxiety than the situation warrants, but I think I’m going to start keeping a supply of oatmeal raisin cookies solely for plane flights.

  25. The most reliable thing about my travel habits is that I will pack significantly more books than I could ever read during the trip (rule of thumb: # books = # length of trip in days + 2). Once as a child I ran out of reading material and it traumatized me.

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