Travel tips for people who want to #travel more

By | February 22, 2020

In a previous post I was advocating for everyone to travel more and to open their perspective by experiencing more places and cultures.

View from Dodoma terminal, the smallest terminal I have ever seen.

That post proved to be extremely popular with lots of shares and views. I was pleasantly surprised so I decided to share also some of my travel tips.

All the tips and tricks were discovered the hard way during my trips around the world or “stolen” from fellow travelers with more experience.

The new Istanbul airport

First, let’s talk about what to pack for a business trip:

5 business shirts. Why 5? Because that is the number of working days in a week. You want to have with you a shirt for each day of the week and if your work requires a longer stay in one place, 5 shirts gives you a buffer of several days to get the shirts cleaned. A sound advice is to use the cleaning services of the hotel after 3 shirts are dirty. This gives you 2 days buffer for the shirts to be cleaned.

2 pairs of suit pants. Why 2? Because if your jacket gets dirty you can have a shirt only day in the office. You cannot have a pantless day in the office.

2 ties, buttons and tie pins.

Black socks a minimum of 6 pairs.

Business shoes and another shoe pair that can be used as casual travel shoes but also as backup business shoes.

Sunrise over Africa

What to pack for the airplane time:

Long stretch socks. My favorite type are the sky socks. They go up to the knees, are quite thick and will help a lot with your comfort and peripheral circulation on long flights.

Neck support pillow. All the airports are full of them so is easy to find one. I prefer the neck pillow with micro-beads that models itself after your neck. I hate the ones made from foam, they are too rigid.

Noise cancelling head phones. I really love my Sony WH-1000XM2. They offer you the comfort of not hearing the constant buzz from the plane engines. I can even sleep with them on, they beat the ear plugs. They also have an airplane adapter so you do not have to use the shitty headphones the airline is providing.

Extra fold-able back-pack. I have one of those really small fold-able back-packs made from a waterproof material. They are perfect to carry your “other season” garments. When you travel from -10 Celsius to +30 Celsius you know what I mean.

A good laptop back-pack that has an extra compartment for some extra underwear and t-shirts. When you travel for 24h+ and pass through 2 or 3 airports boarding 3 or 4 flights, you may want to change at some point.

Boring flight time entertainment back-up. Never assume that your flight has an entertainment system or that you can see something interesting there. I always have some audio-books on my phone, music and my Kindle. If you are into movies, Netflix and HBOGo offline features are your best friend. I always fill my two smartphones to the brim with offline downloaded movies or series.

Some extra tips for air-travel:

Go early to the airport. There are lots of benefits in doing so. You can get a better seat, your are not stressed by a long queue in security check and you can have a relaxed coffee in the lounge before the flight, if you have lounge access.

Ask for upgrade to Business at check in counter. Several times I got a free or under $300 upgrade for an 7+ hour flight. It is a huge difference when the flight is a night flight and you want to sleep. If upgrade is not possible at least ask for an exit door seat or an aisle seat.

Do not trust 100% that the airport transportation you booked in advance will actually show up at the hotel. Always have a backup solution.  

The sterilizer hand gel or spray is your best friend. Planes are one of the dirtiest places ever 🙂 Trust me, you need sanitizer.

Who can forget this guy 🙂

For long haul flights, 1h or 1h and 30min is a normal delay, so have plenty of time between connecting flights. When you have some new “travel scare” season like SARS or CORONA virus, expect health check filters that will slow things down really bad. Outside Europe take a minimum of 2 hours between connecting flights. In my last travel it took a minimum of 1h for transit between flights in the best case and almost 1h and 30min for the worst case.

If you’re flight leaves with one hour delay, it will arrive with one hour delay. Flights never recover the departure time delay. It is easier and cheaper for airlines to reroute travelers who lost connections than to spend the extra fuel needed to recover some delay.

Have protein bars with you. You never now when their value is their weight in gold.

Do not eat things that look bad (in the airport or on the plane) and always expect stomach problems. Have pills with you that can fix your digestive tract in case of emergency.

If you need to take a local taxi to/from the airport, always ask about the cost before you take the ride. In Africa, usually divide by 10 the first cost that the taxi driver is asking from you. You will laugh it off together with the taxi driver and he will realize you are not just some random walking ATM 🙂 and then pay the correct price. The correct price is always bigger that the one for a local but at least is not 10x the cost.

Stay safe and enjoy your travel. Do not forget that people are basically the same everywhere and most of them are good people with good intentions. If you treat them nicely, they will do the same.

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