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.