Traveling Tips From an Amateur Traveler

So recently I visited home, which is, ya know, across the Country. So unfortunately because of this distance, I had to spend a decent amount of time learning about traveling by myself. Now, yes. I have flown alone before. But no, I have never been completely in charge of my travels all by myself. But thankfully for all of you, I from this experience, I have learned a lot and put together some tips to help better your next traveling experience.




The Tips


Do not over pack. I am the worst over packer you’ll ever meet. I basically bring every single clothing item I like, any beauty product that I tell myself I “might” use, and a pair of shoes for any situation thrown at me. I don’t understand why I have this issue, but it’s a real problem. You don’t even understand the struggle I was faced when it came to packing for my big move to LA. I had to fit everything into three suitcases and I don’t even know how I did it. One of those suitcases, by the way, was just makeup. So listen. Pack light. Only bring what you know you’ll use. Don’t pack all of those ‘what if’ items, because the ‘what if’ you’re thinking of probably won’t happen. And if it does, I’m sorry. But at least your suitcase was lighter. So actually, you’re welcome.



Do not take drugs from strangers at the airport unless the stranger giving them to you has children. While waiting for my plane at LAX, I happened to find myself sitting next to a very sweet older woman who chatted me up, asking me where I was from and where I was going, you know. Airport small talk. I told her all about my move to LA and how I was from Massachusetts and just told her all about my life, feeling totally comfortable sharing this information. Now I will admit, there was a man who had tried asking me these same questions just 30 minutes before I even met this woman, and instead of being totally open with him, I kept my sentences as short and vague as possible. It wasn’t because he was a guy, it’s because he sat incredibly to close to me, didn’t mention any family whatsoever, and probably could’ve killed me and put me in his carryon. So. Anyways, this woman seemed totally safe. She just innocently went on about her children and their pets. And at one point during our conversation I told her how I really just wanted to sleep for the entirety of the flight. She then said “OH! Do you want to take something for it? I have some pills!” And of course, being the rational thinking grown up I am, I told her “Yes Please!” Of course, thinking it would be Zzzquil or something. It wasn’t. She handed me a little blue pill from a CONCEALED container that she swore was just a simple over the counter drug. Seemed safe enough. Then when I went to open it and take it, she quickly yelled “NO!” So I stopped and looked at her confused. She continued, “You shouldn’t take it until you are ON the plane. You will pass right out.” Okay. So she’s obviously trying to kill me. But I listened. However, I had already thrown out the container it was originally in, so I had to get crafty and think of a new safe place to keep it in until I boarded the plane. So, I put it in my tic-tac container. (That still had quite a few tic-tacs.) This was all fine and dandy, until I got onto the plane, sat in my seat, and tried to take out the pill. Of course, I couldn’t get it out on the first try….or the second…or third. I actually had to dump out all of the tic-tacs onto my hand and rummage through to find that little blue pill she had given me. Finally when I saw it, I grabbed it, shoved it in my mouth and swallowed it down with some water… I then looked up only to see the two elderly ladies sitting next to me, just staring. So, that’s my life. But seriously, all of you. Don’t be me. Don’t take pills from any strangers. But in case you were wondering, yes I slept like a baby for the entire flight.



Get to the airport early. This is very important; because believe it or not, it takes a little bit of time to check in, go through security, run to your gate, ect. And well, on the flight back I decided to get to the airport only an hour early. I am an idiot. My flight was at 1:45 and boarded at 1:15. I got there around 12:30. This would’ve been all fine and dandy if the Southwest check in line wasn’t backed up all the way to Delta, which was about three airline check ins over. It was the longest line I had ever seen at my airport and after seeing it I immediately regretted my decision of getting there only an hour before. So. There I stood. Just sitting in line as time passed. I began to get concerned when I checked my phone to see it was 1 pm…and my plane was going to be boarding in 15 minutes. Usually this wouldn’t get to me too much, but this is Southwest, guys. You pick your own seat and it goes by what boarding group your in. And I was in boarding group A, so I didn’t want to miss my chance to get an upfront seat with a view. Finally checked in and saw that it was 1:11. Ran to security. Didn’t make it through that line until 1:18 and then sprinted to my gate only to find out my gate changed, so once again ran over to my new gate. Once I I finally got there, I was completely out of breath, sweating,  and just ready to sit in the air-conditioned plane. But just as I walked up to the gate, I received the news that it was now thirty minutes delayed. With no prior warning. All of that running and panicking for nothing. At least I got some exercise in the day, right?



Always use the restroom before you get on the plane. I don’t care if you “don’t have to go”. You probably will within the first hour of your flight. Trust me. I make this mistake over and over again. And it gets to be a pain because I happen to love the window seat. So I’m that jerk that has to make the two people next to me get up so I can get out, then repeat the process when I’m back. And I feel bad every time. So don’t do this.



Dress warmly for your plane ride. For some reason, I never really follow this tip. I convince myself every flight that this will be the time I’ll be content wearing shorts and scandals on a plane. This never happens. But at least I am smart enough to bring a throw blanket just in case I were to get cold, which, obviously I always do because I am constantly make poor judgment calls on my travel attire. Thank god for this blanket, though. I use this blanket for the entire flight. Every time. I just sit, cuddled up with my small blanket, wishing I had worn sweatpants and Uggs. And I hate Uggs. I don’t even OWN Uggs.




Well I hope these tips help you with your next voyage, wherever it may be.

Happy 4th of July!


DIARY, selfhelpRenee Ariel