Tag Archives: packing tips

air travel

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so, there are many lessons learned from this trip, in terms of things to make air travel smoother and nicer when going on such a long flight. i will list them here:

  1. try to get seats near the front, they are last on, and first off,  making your time on the plane less.  bear in mind that babies are usually in the front rows, because that’s where they can hook up bassinettes.  while we may all be on this quest for our own bundles of joy, it’s not always charming to hear someone else’s bundle cry/scream for 11 hours.  a couple of rows back makes it more tolerable and you can just peek in on the cuteness.
  2. pack as small a carry on bag as possible, take only what you will need on the plane.  we noticed that people’s carry-ons are getting much bigger, and we really don’t understand why they allow this, so there isn’t often lots of room in the overhead bins and it’s best if your bag can fit under the seat in front of you, as it’s easy to get at, and easy to keep your eye on
  3. check if your plane has any plug-ins so you can charge your electronics.  some of our Korean Air flights had USB chargers, but they charged fairly slowly; it still kept our stuff usable
  4. check the movies ahead of time, because if there is nothing of interest, you should make sure you bring your ipad or tablet with movies and a good book.  you can do this on most airline websites
  5. make sure all your electronics are charged.  we had done this, but for some reason my Kindle had charged all night before we left, but hadn’t actually charged.  we didn’t bring the charger because had it charged, it would have been fine, so i was without my books the whole time.  must have been user error, because i charged it when i got home and it’s totally fine.  most airports also have charging stations with all sorts of plug-ins, so you can charge stuff during your layovers as well
  6. ear plugs and eye mask, need i say more?
  7. get up and walk on the plane, it helps your muscles and also helps you to not get traveler’s thrombosis
  8. check if you need an airplane adapter for your earphones; the airplane earphones suck.  hubby insists upon sound isolating headphones, but i took my earbuds which are not noise isolating, and i was fine.  this is all a moot point if you forget an adapter and your plane needs one (ours did not)
  9. be careful if you have a food allergy.  Korean Air still serves peanuts (they were delicious and honey coated), and also a lot of their food was seafood.  i have a crustacean allergy, and i couldn’t read the ingredients on much of the packaging.  on the last flight, porridge was an optional breakfast, so i ordered it thinking it would be oat meal, but it was really rice porridge with seafood stuff to mix in.  good thing it had a big picture of a shrimp on the package, or i would potentially be dead now.  on this note, make sure you bring your epi-pen, or multiple epi-pens, but make sure you have one on the plane with you too.
  10. pack all your medication with you in the cabin; can you imagine losing your luggage with all your medications?   plus, if you are travelling as long as we did, you will need some doses along the way.
  11. lotion and chap-stick – the plane is majorly dehydrating, so make sure you can moisturize yourself, but make sure they are all under 100 mls and fit into your little plastic bag
  12. yes, you need to be able to pack all your “liquids” that you wish to carry on, into a little plastic bag.  here is the best description i could find, it’s from the UK, but most others use american standards, and when shopping for little plastic bags, it leaves you shaking your head. i would take a few extra of these bags, in case yours breaks before your return trip.
  13. travel insurance – i cannot stress this enough.  i work in health care, and i cannot tell you how many people don’t get travel insurance and then end up screwed on the other side of the planet.  sure, health care is inexpensive in India, but if you need medical transport back to Canada, that is NOT COVERED by your provincial or government health care, so you will be stuck with a bill for a medical transport, which often includes ambulances, medical staff, medical equipment and sometimes a private plane(s).  this could be up to six figures, and they often won’t fly you until it’s paid or guaranteed.  make sure your travel insurance covers “repatriation” to your home country.  considering for our six day trip, this cost us a whopping $32 for both of us, it’s well worth it.  you can check with your credit cards to see if this is included on one of your credit cards as a benefit, but sometimes it’s only included if you paid for your trip with that particular card, so read the fine print. also, banks also have packages, or your extended coverage through work may have a discount or plan for you.
  14. comfy shoes or sandals – i wore closed toed (open backed) shoes on the way to India, and my feet were too hot, even on the plane, and definitely when we got off the plane.  feet also swell when flying, so it’s nice to have something really flexible and cool.  you can take socks if you want to add warmth at any time.  i wore birkenstock sandles on the way home, and was much happier.  i think, actually, that i will not take anything but my birks next time we go, period.
  15. they have blankets and wee pillows on the plane, so bringing your own may not be necessary or may be.  we have Lug travel pillows, which have blankets enclosed, and we are always happy we have them (the pillows on board the plane leave a lot to be desired, though the blankets are nice)
  16. make sure you have your hotel’s WHOLE ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER with you on the plane.  many of the customs or immigration forms you fill out for security require this information , plus your passport number and passport information.
  17. hand sanitizer – put some in your wee plastic bag, travelling to foreign countries can be gross, especially for the germaphobe.  i have never traveled with so many coughing, sneezing, wheezing, snotty people in my life.  maybe it’s just the season, but holy crap.  make sure you have extra for Mumbai (or whatever city you happen to be in).
  18. kleenex packets are a nice-to-have, they have kleenex in the lavatories, but it’s just nice to have your own
  19. when you sit down on the plane, you will notice they have a HUGE PACK of magazines (mostly selling in flight duty free) in the pocket with your barf bag.  they discourage this i believe, but we put all the magazines in the overhead bin above us, because then you can use that pocket for your own stuff, like water bottle, book, iPad, blanket, whatever.  we didn’t use the overhead bins for luggage, so we figured we were entitled to use a bit of room to clear space for our own comfort.  nobody said anything, but then again, nobody saw us 😛

ok, enough for now, i will add if i think of more, my brain is still not 100%… hope this helps!

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home again, home again…

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we are finally home after what seemed like the most air travel we have ever done (wait, i think it was the longest air travel we have ever done!). for me, it was also the worst air travel, because i was basically unable to sleep on any of the flights, which is unusual for me.  maybe i was stressed or had too much on my mind, but i just couldn’t sleep, so it just dragged on and on.  we got home yesterday, and i promptly took a lovely shower and had a six hour nap, so while not perfectly recovered, i am feeling somewhat better.

we are still digesting the trip; it was such a strange trip, so much to think about and because it happened so fast, there was no time to think while it was happening.  the whole time, i had no idea what day it was either in Mumbai or in Vancouver here.  i kept having too google “what time is it in Mumbai?”

there are so many lessons learned from this trip and so many things to talk about, i think i will break them up into littler posts, so people can focus on what they find important or interesting.  so, there will be a bunch of small posts to follow this one.

Touch down

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So we have safely arrived in Mumbai, after a veeeeery long trip. We has a seven jour layover in Seattle, then an 11.5 hour flight to Seoul, then a very short layover there, then 8.5 hours to Mumbai.

Even though it’s not full summer quite yet, the humidity blasts you as soon as you are in the ramp from the plane. With it, a foreign smell you can’t quite figure out; bodies, food, mildew, lack of clean, I dunno, it was mostly the airport, but there are still smells everywhere. I have a terrible sense of smell, so I am probably not getting most of it.

You need to get a prepaid taxi so you don’t get ripped off, and you can get them with a/c or not. When we said we didn’t need the a/c, he laughed/snickered. As soon as we stepped out, we understood why. The air hits you physically; it’s damp, thick, and cloying. HOWEVER, once our taxi was moving and the windows were open, we were fine.

The taxi was some seriously old Russian jalopy with no seat belts or shocks or side mirrors or anything, and our taxi driver had no clue where we were going. He did know the neighbourhood, if you can call it that. After asking several people along the way, we found the hotel. As with lots if big hotels in countries with risk to tourists, we had security guards scan our suitcases and bods and the underside of the taxi for bombs. We are all safe and sound now, and super tired.
One more thing…. Holy crap, I have never seen so many street dogs. They are EVERYWHERE. We have yet to encounter a beggar, not even one so far, but it is very late….

So far I love it, and I am not sure why, but that’s how I feel at this instant.

G’night!

getting ready.

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we spent much of the weekend preparing for the trip.  we picked up our rupees, which we had ordered last Monday from the bank, because banks give a better exchange rate.  we wish we had requested smaller bills, because they gave us only 500 and 1,000 rupee bills, which isn’t really what you want to flash around when paying for taxis, etc.  i think we will see if the hotel will swap us for some smaller bills once we check in.  we also (on my MIL’s suggestion) made a wee little chart for each of us, so we could easily see the conversion (it just lists how much 1, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 rupees are in CAD at a glance); we will carry these around so we can figure out if something is a good price.  the other thing we always do when travelling, is split the money in half and each carry half, in case one of our pockets get picked (this was a major worry in Italy), then at least we have half left.

the funny thing about the trip, is that we are packing almost more for the travelling time than for the Mumbai time.  i don’t mean more in space or weight, but we need more things for the travelling, because we will be on the plane or in transit more than we will actually be in Mumbai i think.  so we need some things to entertain ourselves and some comforts.  in actuality, we are only taking one suitcase between the two of us, and then each a carry on bag of necessities.  this worries me a little bit, because normally when we travel we take two suitcases, and split our stuff into each, so in case one of our suitcases gets lost, we still each have half of our clothing.  we thought of this on a cruise, when we saw these funny sets of basic clothing for sale in the gift shop, for people who’s luggage had gotten lost and not found before the cruise embarked.  for about $100/US you got a pair of socks, pants, a shirt, and a pair of underwear and a pair of shoes.  they were all black and white, so you would look like a waiter, but still, at least you weren’t nekkid.  my nightmare is losing our luggage; so far, so good… knocking on wood now!

we have the cats all set up to live without us for the week, with their “uncle” to come take care of them a couple of times per day, so that’s good.  tomorrow after work i will do things like order the taxi (we leave pretty much in the middle of the night tomorrow, so it’s good to have it booked), do online check-in (i tried already, but it’s too early), and do the final packing.

this may (or may not) be the last post before we leave…