The Time Traveler

The Time Traveler

The Time Traveler

Spring has sprung, so it won’t be long until the roads and airports are a bit more congested, engulfed with excited families headed on summer vacation.  Whether it’s by planes, trains, automobiles, or even boats, time traveling can be stressful.  However you choose to travel to your destination, the process of getting to and from your chosen location can be somewhat hectic, particularly throughout summer, as summer and holidays generally tend to be the most popular traveled times of the year.

More and more people travel far and wide than ever before, which can contribute to the chance you may encounter delayed flights, traffic jams, or other forms of unexpected kinks in the plan.  Piled on top of the already existing inner stressors of traveling safely and timely, perhaps with the worry of some unexpected additional costs, there may be fussy children, fed-up older family members, and impatient fellow travelers.  While maintaining a positive attitude and go-with-the-flow intentions certainly is a commendable goal, the ability to accomplish this most certainly will be tested at some point.

Over the years, I have experienced some travel issues, whining children, or disappointed having to change my entire plan at the last minute.  I have learned a few things, and, most importantly, to accept those things out of our immediate control and to make the most of it for my family, even if deep down, I may be quietly fuming.  Here are a few ideas that can make this more bearable under those circumstances.

First, traveling by vehicle.  Make it a karaoke party.  Create a playlist; let everyone choose their favorite tune, then bellow it out like you own the show while encouraging your travel mates to want to be your backup singers.  Take in the scenery.  Try to learn some interesting facts about the towns you pass through.  Take snacks and drinks, and be sure to stretch.  Pack light so everyone can be comfortable in the car, allowing a little extra space for a favorite pillow or blanket.  Stop and stretch those legs.  Listen to an audio story everyone would enjoy.  I’ve always found it helpful to leave during the night, so smaller children could sleep a majority of the drive, and adults could simply relax in peace and quiet.  Traveling with aging parents, even if it’s a 10-hour drive, breaks the trip up.  Stay at a unique bed and breakfast midway to relieve physical and mental pressures.

Flying?  Sure, it will allow you to travel much farther in your timeframe, but I assure you, that’s not always the case.  Check your itinerary in advance for any last-minute airline delays or changes.  If you find yourself delayed in an airport, then make the best of your day.  See if there is a place to watch the incoming and outgoing planes.  Take the family to a restaurant.  Do a little shopping.  Look at magazines and books in the stores.  If the delay is a few hours, go enjoy the city you are delayed in.  Use the time to let your resort/hotel know you will have a late arrival.  Perhaps this is a good time to look at everything your travel companions want to do on vacation; make those arrangements or reservations in advance.  Find out if your airline offers any vouchers for future travel, meals, or hotels for your delay.  And always carry a deck of cards.

That covers the airport, but how about on the plane?  If you need to choose a seat, I suggest the emergency exit.  The is more room.  An aisle can allow you to freely move about the cabin without having to disturb those in your aisle, and with a window seat, you can sink into your own little corner.  Do you not want to talk the entire flight?  Easy, we all travel with headrest pillows.  Comfortably rest your head while closing your eyes.  No one knows if you are asleep or awake; they will leave you alone.  My daughters and I always take a blanket to cover up with so we can be comfortable if the air is too cold.  Take gum for climbing the altitude and coming down for landing to keep your ears clear.  Have snacks, a crossword puzzle, a headset, and a movie, or simply relax.  It’s only a few hours.

Moving on to a boat.  This could mean finding a secret spot away from that small cabin to just have a few moments in the day to yourself.  Keep in mind even if you are not susceptible to motion sickness, just go ahead and pack that Dramamine because even a steel stomach can turn to rubber in really rough waters.  Take extra sunscreen and aloe because you are in the direct sun over the water.  You may get a more intense sunburn than you imagined.  This can happen because there usually is an ocean breeze and it’s easy to fool yourself into believing the sun isn’t as strong but wait until sundown; with one glance in the mirror, you find the reflection of a lobster that just flopped in that boat straight from the open sea.

By bus or by train, hmm – I don’t have much travel experience with either of those, but a train trip that has the sleeping cabin is on my bucket list.  The sleeper accommodations appear quite tiny, but I am eyeing it more for a short weekend trip just for the experience.  One thing I think is true is you better really, really like whoever you are traveling with because I think you just may be able to hear them breathe in those tighter quarters.

Bus trips, red-eyes, I am not a huge fan, but have done those to New York City before.  Very uncomfortable for my taste.  The best tip, though, is all about stopping at rest areas.  Take an overnight bag to freshen up with some lotion and brush your hair.  This wakes you and generally will help you feel better all over.  You can implement most of the suggestions for a car or plane ride as well.  Knowing your fellow trip mates can make all the difference in the world.

Generally, allow yourself extra time.  Do some research on the location and place you plan to stay.  When planning, assume you will always need some extra spending money, so budget that in advance. Don’t let this trap you into becoming a disgruntled traveler because you work hard to have those special times away.  Make the best out of whatever happens to come your way.  It doesn’t matter the mode; what matters is the mood.  May you create wonderful memories and be a happy time traveler.