Friday, April 4, 2014

Travel Tips

I don't travel all that often but with each trip I take I discover more things to add to my “perfect list” of travel tips. It seems more and more common these days that airlines do not provide complimentary drinks or snacks. I had the lucky, or unlucky opportunity, depending on how you view it, to fly aboard three different airplanes this week, due to flight cancellations and transfers. On my first flight (SAS) I was offered complimentary tea, coffee, or water only and on the second and third flights (Air Berlin) I was offered a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage of choice and a bag of chips. So I ate (shamelessly) two bags of chips on flights number two and three, licking my fingers as I went. On the third flight I even managed to score a granola bar. Air Berlin also offered a heart-shaped chocolate as we disembarked the plane. Dinner and dessert. Well, not quite.

My point is that if you don't plan well for the possibility of cancelled flights and/or no time to stop and purchase the overpriced fare the airport shops offer, you could easily starve. Okay, I'll admit, I'm exaggerating slightly but planning ahead really helps. Even if you forgot that you planned ahead, as I did. Yes, I was sitting on plane number one, feeling very hungry when I remembered the cheese and cucumber sandwich I made, and wrapped in three paper napkins, at the hotel breakfast buffet. It was delicious. I think I wolfed it down in three bites. 

Later when I was on plane number two, several hours after transferring to a different terminal and going back through airport security, my stomach began grumbling. The salad I’d purchased in the airport earlier, while very tasty (arugula with mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes), did not really sub as dinner, even with the bag of chips. I was still pretty hungry. Suddenly I remembered that I still had two veggie sausages in my bag AND a rhubarb and custard-flavored raw fruit and nut bar. All things I'd packed for my trip ahead of time, knowing that our trade fair booth would not be providing vegetarian meals.

Let me just say, in case you are wondering, that despite thinking it's okay to gorge on veggie sausages, it definitely is not. It is way not okay. I would recommend more of a variety to your travel snacks but given that it was all I had and there were no other choices, I ate the two sausages, making that a total of 6 veggie sausages in a two day period. For more variety, I would recommend for example, a ziplock bag filled with carrot and cucumber sticks. These are especially nice on long flights when you have a tendency to become dehydrated. I also like to bring ziplocks with my favorite blend of nuts for "happy hour" snacking. 

On one of the food blogs that I like to read, I have also read a tip to make your own meal to bring with you. This is especially helpful if you have special (vegetarian) dietary needs. Consider something simple and light that will travel well. On a fairly recent trip I made a cold noodle salad with peanut sauce, carrots and red cabbage. I thought it was a genius idea until I opened the sauce container and the smell of garlic nearly knocked me out, not to mention my neighbors. It is helpful to consider those around you when planning. Next time I will skip the garlic in that recipe ;-). 

Anyway, there are many more things you can do to prepare for making traveling a bit more pleasant, aside from food. Below is a list of some of things I like to bring when I travel:

Chewing gum 

Great for a quick breath freshener and it also helps with popping ears as you change altitudes.

Empty water bottle 

To fill at the airport after you’ve gone through security- this works well in Stockholm because the drinking water is great. 


Ziplock's with a blend of pre-cut veggies or a combo of nuts, dried fruits, and even a bit of chocolate to perk you up are great if you get too hungry before the meal service. I also find that having both sweet and salty snacks is a good idea. I personally tend to have cravings for both during really long flights.

Hand sanitizer/wipes

Great when you are stuck in a middle seat and those around you are sleeping, or if you just want to freshen up without having to venture off to the restroom.


The airplane ventilation always dries me out, so reapplying moisturizer to my face half way through a long flight feels very refreshing.

Reading material 

I love watching movies on airplanes but having a good book or magazine can also pass the time well.

Back-up sandwich 

I made a cheese sandwich at my hotel because of the limited options but from home I would have made an almond butter, or other nut butter, sandwich with honey, as it holds much longer.

Earplugs or headphones 

These are great if there are crying babies or chatty neighbors in the vicinity, or more importantly, that low rumble/hum of the airplane noise. I never realized how much more relaxing it is when you increase the level of "quiet" around you as you travel.

A travel-sized toothbrush & tube of toothpaste 

It feels like a luxury to brush your teeth if you are traveling over 5 hours, or if your flight gets delayed or cancelled. And if you are traveling through the night, it is a good way to trick your body into thinking that it is bedtime, or morning.

A change of socks and underwear

This is something I sometimes forget but it can be a wonderous miracle if your bag for some reason doesn't arrive when you do. 

A relaxed attitude 

Probably the most important thing on my list, this is helpful even if all of the above items fail or are impossible. Getting upset when there are changes to your travel does no good to anyone and only serves to make the remainder of your travels that much more miserable. Go with the flow and laugh off the mishaps.

That last one is easier said than done but practice makes perfect. And moods are contagious. Your relaxed and happy attitude will affect those around you. So smile and be happy. 

What are your tips and tricks for making travel more pleasant? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

*Photo above taken by Johanna Winter.


  1. Great tips! I never thought that brushing your teeth can trick your body into thinking it's bedtime - great idea! And also packing veggies for extra hydration - I'm gonna try it next time!

    1. Thanks Katie! You'll have to let me know what you think after you try them! :-)