Here are some practical tips for how to stay comfortable and sane if you’re stranded in an airport.
If at all possible, travel only with ‘carry on’ baggage. This doesn’t mean doing without creature comforts – there are plenty of travel blogs from people who regularly travel for long periods who carry everything they need in a sub-40 liter pack. Think of them not as minimalists but as ‘savvy travelers’. It’s worth reading a few of these blogs before you plan your trip.
Whether or not you travel ‘carry-on’ only, make sure that the bag you have with you has the following necessities, packed in modular bags and stuff sacks from the Travelling Light range:
- Travel Liner. As well as providing a clean ‘sleep sheet’ for the hotel/hostel you were supposed to be staying in, if you have to spend a night in an airport a liner protects you from the air-conditioning set to arctic temperature levels
- Travelling Light Eyeshades and Earplugs. Also useful for getting a good “night’s” sleep on the airplane, these will save you from super-bright airport lighting, screaming toddlers, and other airport noise.
- Garment Mesh Bags and Packing Cells will keep your clothing organized and wrinkle-free – and easy to remove from your bag if you’re selected for additional security screening.
- Trek and Travel Pocket Hand Wash & Shampoo. Freshening up is key to retaining your sanity while you wait. Remember your Pocket Towel or Dry Lite Towel too (having a clean, dry towel is equally important to hang on to your sanity).
- Wilderness Wipes are large enough to provide a real substitute for a water-based shower and are unscented (unlike baby wipes). Invaluable on your travels whether you are stuck in an airport or not.
- Other toiletry and care products should be decanted into the 3oz / 1.4oz (89ml / 40ml) leakproof bottles supplied with the TPU Clear Zip Top Pouch – this pouch will last far longer than Ziploc bags, and makes going through the security check a breeze.
Keep all your travel documents inside a Travelling Light Document Pouch – when you get to the airline desk, this makes it much easier to find the necessary tickets, reservations, and itineraries.
Waiting around for the capricious weather gods, the airline computers or the striking air traffic controllers to permit your onward journey to take place is a lot more pleasant if you have the following:
- Music and podcasts of good radio programming (download a few hours of these before your trip) will also help the time pass, and headphones will help combat the airport noise mentioned earlier. Keep your phone in a Travelling Light Padded Pouch, and it will be more likely to survive the trip (the same is true for your sunglasses, by the way).
- Reading material. Good fiction will help while away the hours. If you choose an electronic reader or use a tablet computer to carry reading material with you, you should know that there are two Sea to Summit options for storage. The Travelling Light Tablet Sleeve will save your device from occasional bumps, while the TPU Waterproof Case for Tablets will protect it from water (or from the contents of a juice box which the toddler next to you has just poured into your bag).
- A few energy bars purchased before you go to the airport can save you from awful (and awfully expensive) airport food.
- Keep a bottle of Trek and Travel Hand Sanitizer with you – as well as protecting you from germs picked up by contact, it’s also a good stain remover
Your carry-on bag should also contain an Ultra-Sil Daypack or Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack: these pack down very, very small, weigh practically nothing and are invaluable for carrying extra, unplanned items you may acquire while traveling (and of course, they’re super-useful daypacks when you get to your destination).
Got a trip lined up and want to know how to expect – and survive – the unexpected? Baz can help put the ‘Savvy’ in your travel…