I have gotten lazy in my life as a long term traveler. I have started to assume that all the pieces of getting from place to another will just fall into place. We have had much luck getting from place to place considering how much planning we have actually done for the finer details. On our way out of Tokyo I realized this because we made some pretty big mistakes that caused a ton of stress and
arguments some minor unpleasant words between Chad and I. There is nothing like two cranky adults traveling with a happy toddler to make a trip feel sour. Poor Zoë, she is always the best traveler of all of us.
So on that note, here are my
Five Things to Make Your Travel Day Easier:
1. Make sure to buy a sim card/throw away phone in each country you visit, no matter how temporary your stay will be.
With the technology today you have all you need at your fingertips… IF you have service. We decided not to buy sim cards for our iPhones while in Tokyo because we were only going to be there for three days. It was a mistake. Without service, we were at the disposal of the mobile wifi that our apartment provided us with, which was very cool, but rarely worked. So no maps, no communication with each other if we were separated, and even worse… No Facebook or Instagram! Without those how could I show you all the lovely pictures I took! But really, it is worth the money to get a temporary sim card or phone where ever you travel. Google Maps alone can save you sometimes!
2. Plan your transportation
This may seem like a silly tip, but for some reason Chad and I have gotten really lazy in this aspect of travel. We fly by the seat of our pants, or ride, or walk… For example, what was our plan to get from our apartment in Tokyo to the airport? Take a train of course. But what train, there are many different trains that can take you to the airport. We didn’t look up the times, or the line to take, or the prices, or… anything. What we ended up doing was taking a $25 (US) taxi to the special reserved sky train that cost us another $100 (US). NOT SMART! We could have taken a train for about $30 total if we had planned a little better!
3. Know and CONFIRM the check out procedure of the place you are staying
At the apartment we rented in Tokyo I had thought I had told the owners that we would need a late check out. Chad and I planned our last day in Tokyo according to that check out time, only to get a note from the landlord that evening as we returned from Tokyo Disneyland that she needed us out of the room two and a half hours before we had planned. She was very kind and let us keep our luggage at another one of her apartments down the road, but the small plan that we did make for our day to leave was ruined by not confirming our check out time again as soon as we checked in.
4. Don’t leave things for the last minute
This is another one that should be a no-brainer, and is my biggest weakness. I am always running around on the last day trying to find the perfect souvenir or that thing that I can only get in that place. In Tokyo, it was trying to find a plastic duffel bag with a zipper to carry the souvenirs that I needed to buy in two hours before our flight. We ended up taking a supposedly short trip to a place called Don Quijote that was recommended to us as having everything. It did have everything… except for that damn bag. I ended up finding one on our way back to get our luggage for our flight, but we wasted precious time when we could have been preparing for our very long flight ahead.
5. Work as a team
You know the saying, There is no I in team… Well, it’s true. So work with your partner, delegate if you have to. Communication with your travel partner is the only way to make an already stressful situation easier. Our most recent situation was as an impending 10-hour flight with an almost-three-year-old. Instead of working with Chad, I started to blame him for the fact that we had to spend so much money on getting to the airport, and that we went to the wrong terminal, and that we were very late to check-in for our flight. Why was he responsible for all those things? He wasn’t. But in my crankiness, it was easier to blame him than accept that my laziness and our unpreparedness was the cause of the extreme stress that day. I have given them up as I wanted to be more flexible, but lists are going to become my friends again, and the first thing on my list every time will be to talk to Chad and figure out what each of us is responsible for in preparing for our trips.
Now it’s your turn! What do you think is imperative to be prepared for those long travel days? Do you agree or disagree with my tips? I love to know your opinions!