On Wednesday morning, I set out on a very important vacation that means a lot to me. And if you’re wondering what that statement means, I’m still in Suffern, New York as I’m writing this. I was going to work on this post after I returned home to Rochester, New York. But I wanted to do it while this vacation was still fresh on my mind.
Even though I’ve been on more Jet Blue flights than I can count. And have been to the New York City area multiple times, sometimes 3-4 times per year. I wanted to share with you how I like to get ready for my vacations. And the tricks that I use to make them stress free. You might be thinking that I’m going to give you the usual advice that you hear everywhere else.
Don’t worry, that’s definitely not going to happen here. I’m not going to tell you to get plenty or rest. Or drink lots of water before going on your flight. You already know all these things from the hundreds of other articles you’ve read before.
I’m going to warn you before you read any further. My family and friends call me the travel Drill Sargent, because I don’t play around when I go on vacations. Everything has to be planned out completely. From the time I catch the bus to the airport, to the time I arrive at my destination. Nothing is left to chance. Maybe I have Over Compulsive Disorder, or I’ve learned my lessons the hard way from flying too much.
Read on and decide for yourself. I think I’ve kept you in suspense for way too long. So here goes my top-secret tips to stress free vacations.
Get Packed Way Ahead Of Time
Many of you seasoned vacation professionals might already know this. But for those of you who haven’t traveled enough, this is one amateur mistake that’s easy to make. I know, because it’s one that I’m guilty of myself. The first time I ever flew on a plane, I waited until the last-minute to get ready. Early in the morning of the day I was leaving, I was very busy packing. Not only did this cause stress from rushing, I also forget a few necessary items.
Now I take one whole day or two before going on my vacation, to pack. There’s too many things that can go wrong. Take this vacation for example. On Tuesday when I was packing, I discovered that everything that I wanted to bring, wouldn’t fit into my backpack. I had to bring enough clothes for 6 days worth. Pack a rain coat and umbrella for when it rains a bit, like today. And shove a Christmas gift into the mix also.
During all this chaos I almost forgot to pack some underwear and t-shirts. I had to scrap the backpack idea and borrow my moms Liz Claiborne luggage with rotating wheels. The rotating wheels are a huge benefit when trying to push the luggage down the plane isle. This is a very nice luggage that is actually blue, but looks purple in the picture I took while riding the bus. Laugh all you want about the color. The point is that if I would have waited until the last-minute, this could have been a huge disaster.
This might seem like a very obvious tip to follow. But just like the last one, many travelers don’t seem to understand it. One year I was at JFK airport in New York, NY. I arrived at the terminal around 3 hours early because I suspected that the lines would be insanely long. After getting my boarding pass, the line to get through security took over an hour and a half. Many flyers in line were missing their flights due to not planning ahead.
Wednesday, while I riding the airtrain and regular trains, many of them were running late. Theses are the types of issues that can occur. Same principle as the time my former GPS took me to this abandoned road with factories. Nobody was around to help, and luckily I was able to look up the airport location with my cell phone. If I was to wait until the very last-minute to leave for my destination, I might have missed my flight.
Write All Important Information Down On Paper
I cannot stress the importance of this tip enough. Our cell phones today can do so much. We can look up places, get directions, and even work on them. But what would happen if your phone battery went dead? Or you were to get lost like I did one time, close to JFK airport. We were coming from Manhattan and accidentally missed our stop.
For over an hour or two we were walking in rainy weather trying to find our hotel. With no address and phone number, we got lucky that night. Now I write all directions, phone numbers, and important information down. And most importantly, carry it with me when I’m not familiar with my surroundings.
Always Carry An External Power Bank
Everybody needs an external power bank when they travel. Wednesday, when I was on my way from Penn Station to Suffern, New York, my Iphone battery was low. All day I was looking up important information. Checking emails and keeping up with social media. I run my blog from my cell phone during the day, and these types of activities eat up the battery.
While riding the train I plugged the Onn Power Bank into my cell phone, and had more than enough juice to continue with my normal activities. Plus, how else would I be able to get so many amazing pictures without being able to use my cell camera? The Onn Power Bank is also great for emergencies, such as loss of power or car issues.
It’s Important To Be Social
On my way to Suffern, New York I stuck up a conversation with an interesting elderly guy. This guy lives in Florida, but works in Manhattan and the Hampton’s, constructing buildings and houses for the wealthy. He has done this kind of work for over 40 years, but is about to retire soon. We had an incredible conversation about how the economy has changed over the years, and where it’s headed.
He was very helpful with letting me know which stop was mine, and made the trip a lot less lonely. It’s amazing who you will meet while traveling, and can learn a great deal.
Bring Everything That’s Important
A few times, I left a few minor items at home to pack lighter. I figured that they were items that every store no matter where I was going, carried them. This way of thinking has backfired on me a few times. Planes get delayed and so do trains. Stores aren’t always close or open at certain hours.
Always pack everything you use on a daily basis, for when you have to wait until the next day. Imagine not being able to brush your teeth, or shower after a long sweaty day of traveling. Don’t be that person, pack extra items even if you don’t use them.
Conclusion To A Stress Free Vacation
These are just a few of the secret tips that I’ve learned from flying multiple times. I couldn’t share everything I know or get into super detail, because this post would have went on for an eternity. Just keep the following tips in mind. Plan and pack ahead of time. Keep valuable information such as phone numbers and directions handy. And above all, be aware of your surroundings as much as possible, something my Buddy Louie always tells me. Plus being social and having fun is always a huge benefit.
If I left anything out, or you have more tips to add, please tell us about them in the comments section below.
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