Sunrise in JFK

I love to travel and although I don’t fly that much, this year alone I have flown more than 10 times for a total of over 32,000 miles.

I don’t necessary dress for the airports, when I travel, though. I find it silly to optimize for security checks and skip wearing belts or laced shoes if needed. But I do have my destination and purpose of the trip in mind. Usually I try to have as little clothes on me as possible for the flight, even if it’s a long haul one. Often that means flip-flops (great for passing security and less swollen feet) and shorts, if I am going somewhere relatively warm.

Lately I do like wearing a long sleeve travel shirt with front buttoned pockets, so that I can put my phone and passport/tickets in there as I am navigating security and checkins. It also means I don’t get too cold on the longer flights,  feel more comfortable on the planes and look way more stylish than if I were wearing a muscle t.

If it’s a direct flight and I am not in a hurry, I am checking in my luggage. I usually fly using frequent flier miles or airline credit cards, so I get one or two free bags to check in. I pack my Osprey Porter 65 to the gills and drop it at the check in. I can easily lug it around for hours at the airport, but prefer not to. I also don’t want to risk it being forced to do gate-side check in due to full plane.

I carry my North Face Surge II with me always. In my backpack, I’ll have my Macbook Pro 15”, iPad 4 Mini, Kindle Paperwhite, Sony RX100 Mark II camera, Bose QC15 earphones, spare crappy iPhone earbuds in case Bose gives out, my trusty 15000 mAh portable battery, charging cables, paper notebook, pens and pencils, all my documents and paper copies and a sarong. Basically all my electronics with the exception of the GoPro Hero 3 camera is in the backpack. I may also put a magazine and a paperback book in there for the flight, but that rarely happens lately.

Emergency meds and toiletries are important. I always put toothbrush and paste, deodorant, cough drops, Imodium, Airborne, headache/pain meds, and Dramamine in my carry on pack. All these had come in handy at some time in the past and I try not to be caught without them, ever. I take one Airborne effervescent pill before a long flight and one before or after the first time I sleep on the plane. I feel it gives my immune system a boost and helps to prevent jet lag and getting sick on the arrival.

No animals were hurt during the shooting of this picture (Northern Thailand)

No animals were hurt during the shooting of this picture (Northern Thailand)

I rarely if ever carry wet wipes and never use antibacterial hand sanitizers, and I laugh hard at people who do. Those are the first ones to get food poisoning or stomach bugs at their destination. I feel like you have to train your immune system by keeping your environment as natural as possible and avoid this anti-bacterial crap as much as possible. I guess I am very confident in my microbiome strength and ability to fight off any invaders. I just wash my hands (usually) before meals and I am always fine.

The new addition to my carry-on has been an ultra-light jumping rope. If it’s a long flight and I have a layover, I will whip it out and skip rope for 5-10 minutes to get blood flowing and heart rate up. It might look crazy to others, but it helps me relax, flush out any stress and toxins, and enjoy travel more, as well be more energized when I arrive. Of course it’s the best to follow this exercise with a shower at a lounge in airport, if there is an opportunity for that.

I hate having to fight for the overhead luggage space on airplanes (another reason to check in bags); and usually I don’t have to, since I either check my bag and/or fly using miles and airline-branded credit cards, meaning I get priority boarding with plenty of time and room to stash my bags. I get really annoyed at people who saved $20 and now have to cram their huge bags into the overhead bin. I ignore them by having my noise-cancelling earphones on and staring out of the window in my window-seat. I always try to get a window seat.

window view

Yangon (Myanmar) International Airport below

I love flying, so I never really get bored on airplanes. I am perfectly happy just staring out of the window for hours, if the weather allows for it. The limiting factor for how long I can stare out the window is my neck being all crooked to peek out the window. When I get too stiff from all the sitting, I simply get up, do 3-4 round trip loops around the aircraft, do a quick warm up and go back to my seat. I have no problem bothering the isle person to move and let me in and out. Not my fault they got the isle seat — now deal with it.

Flying was much less pleasant before I got Bose QC15 noise cancelling earphones. I could really tell how my whole body was getting tired of the ambient noise of airplane’s turbines and the air flowing. With Bose, it’s all gone and I can relax either in silence or with low background music. You owe it to yourself to get noise cancelling earph