Tech Life Watch as I perform this maneuver while moving

Traveling with Me is a Nightmare

Check-in on my phone. Confirm airport, departure time, and gate. Count the number of days I’ll be gone. One outfit for each day. Always extra socks and extra underwear because the unexpected is amplified while traveling. If the trip requires more outfits than my overhead Tumi luggage will hold, remind myself there is dry cleaning in the faraway place and checking a bag is a travel crime.

Consider the weather in the faraway place and sweater appropriately. For business, bring as much Ted Baker button-up shirts as possible. Add the pre-packed international friendly accessory bag that always makes it through security… every single time.

Tom Bihn backpack. Presenting a deck? Grab the pre-packed presentation kit. International? Bring the pre-packed international kit. Confirm necessary essential power cords and ginormous backup battery because 30% of travel is power management. 50% traveling internationally. If faraway place weather is frigid, wool hat, gloves, and scarf all go in the Tom Bihn back-pack because I have thin California blood and cold is clever.

Tumi luggage and Tom Bihn back-pack are both placed near the front door as a visual cue I am ready to go. 15 minutes before departure, visually check everything. Phone – left back jean pocket. Every time. Wallet – right back jean pocket. Every time. Passport always goes in the inside left coat pocket. Helpfully remind myself that – worst case – all I need is the wallet, phone, and passport.

Home departure time is scheduled to allow me to arrive at the airport two hours before the departure: domestic or international. Leave five minutes before departure time after once again visually checking phone, wallet, and passport.

Arrive at the airport. AirPods in. Strive to achieve the goal of moving from car to plane without standing in a single line. Fail at this frequently. Security. TSA Pre. Always. Wallet, phone, AirPods, and passport all temporarily go in the right side Tom Bihn back-pack pocket. Watch as I perform this maneuver while moving. Always be kind to all security humans. Wait for permission to approach them and ask permission to walk-through metal detectors. Please and thank you. Items returned to their proper pockets.

No conversations with anyone else. No chit-chat. No eye contact. I am on a mission that I’ve been on before, and I am expecting something to go wrong. This requires all of my attention and a soundtrack.

Travel to the gate noting potential eating and drinking establishments. At the gate now. I’m early. I assess: Given my arrival time, is the gate in the state I expect? Specifically: 20% of the seats at the gate are filled, someone is staffing the desk, and the plane is parked at the gate. If the latter is not true, investigate on the internet regarding where the plane is coming from and when it will be there. Prepare for bad news.

If all is well, check digital boarding pass. Subtract five minutes from the boarding time. That is when I will return to the gate. Back-track to a desirable eating establishment. Sit at the bar and order a gin and tonic. Airports always ask if you want a double and I always do.

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11 Responses

  1. Dan F 6 years ago

    You say nightmare. I say wonderful. This is the way travel should be done.

    Insanely curious what is on your “soundtrack” when you’re powering through the airport. I’m imagining the Mission Impossible theme 🙂

  2. Lotsa Miles 6 years ago

    Yeah, I’d probably like traveling with this guy…. Only issue would be my bad travel karma (“London, don’t you know the UK is closed today…?”) which would probably piss him off.

  3. If that’s a nightmare I share your dreamscape. Other than the fact that I couldn’t name who makes most of my gear, and I don’t travel often enough to bother paying for TSA Pre, you just described my routine

  4. Amy R 6 years ago

    Other than not checking things off my travel checklist as I pack them (I use the android app Out of Milk for that), you pretty much described my perpetual traveling experience. I don’t travel with presentation go bags, but I do have the various international ziplock bags that get swapped out depending on the country I’m traveling to (power adapters, local subway/train card, local cash, printed contact info of a person I know in the country, etc). I also add my kindle, because my time in the airport/on the plane is either spent listening to my ipod, reading a book, or watching movies.

  5. Woody S 6 years ago

    You might just be my long lost twin. The similarities in travel technique and attitude are astounding. From one Master of the Travel Universe to another I say well done and welcome to The Collective. Details of the secret handshake will arrive encrypted in your inbox shortly.

  6. Enjoyed every bit of your article. Travel alike but almost always take my luggage. Lost or delayed it a few times.
    Don´t you download a movie? Spotify your favorite list?

  7. James Neal 6 years ago

    While sipping the double gin & tonic: remember what a privilege it is to have such a well-worn travel routine.

    Empathize with the fellow travelers and airport staff alike who may inadvertently interrupt your routine, as theirs may not exist, or may not be as well-worn.

    Tip generously.

  8. JFlores 6 years ago

    Let me tell you that first and foremost I love this blog and I’ve never commented before. Just that when you are using brands like that to refer to some objects you sound incredibly pedantic. Would you say the brand if it would be some kind of obscure brand? A cheap one maybe? Is it to get some kind of status because of its usage? So many questions…

  9. Stanley Law 6 years ago

    Pretty similar, except I always print my TSA-Pre boarding passes.

    TSA doesn’t believe me when I say I’m TSA-Pre and want to walk through the scanners w/ my shoes and jacket on. I’ve had to dig my phone out of my bag after it went into the scanner on a couple of occasions.

    Generally what I’ll do is dump all my pocketed belongings into my camera messenger bag except for my Passport or Global Entry card that I use as my “REAL ID” and my paper boarding pass.

    But I have to say, TUMI really is the bee’s knees in terms of luggage. They’ll practically always fix it, and do so for free. It definitely saves a lot in terms of headaches if you have enough time to send it off or drop it off locally.

  10. 1. Always maintain a separate travel pack so as not to forget anything/need a checklist/when packing in a hurry.
    2. Put everything on charge until about to get out of the door.
    3. Download Google Maps of area if possible.
    4. Verify “just-in-case” medication travel stock.
    5. I prefer to check my luggage in to simplify going through security, so double-check that checked-in luggage has been tagged with priority before it goes in
    6. Use local airline lounges when possible and get to know the staff. If you need to take a nap, they’ll come and wake you up.
    7. If travelling internationally, learn how to say “please”, “thank you” in native labuage before going there.

  11. Joe T. 5 years ago

    Like Amy R., your travel routine is nearly identical to mine, with the addition that I have several checklists (suitcase packing, computer bag packing, gym packing) that I use. I also have a certain set of items that I *always* travel with and *never* use otherwise (a particular power strip, a brace of Ethernet cables, a particular set of Bluetooth headphones), so they never come out of the suitcase when I get home. In the highly unlikely event I need them when not traveling, well, I’ll know exactly where they are.