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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are you travel ready?

In less than one month I’ll be flying into New York for the RWA Convention in this beautiful (monster) Boeing-747.

Like everyone else I’m excited to be going but I should admit to a touch of nervousness. It’s my second long distance trip from Australia and the second time I’m undertaking it alone. I was watching the news tonight and saw a report that a Qantas flight on the new non-stop route from Dallas to Sydney actually ran low on fuel and had to layover in Noumea. "Stronger than expected" headwinds apparently were the cause of the trouble but I had a brief, ghastly vision of my plane dropping into the Pacific Ocean.

But then I took a very deep breath. Fuel, food and running the airplane is completely outside my control. I have enough to worry about trying to pack light enough for the change of season – winter to summer – and pondering my liquids limitations in my luggage. LOL

So, onward to preparation for the actual flight. What can I do to make a long trip easier?

I’ve done some research and I think my list would apply to any making the road trip to NY too.

1. Me first! Me first!
On a long distance flight or trip it is pointless to rush unnecessarily IMHO. If someone is that keen to get on the plane ahead of me, or pass me on the road, its better to just let them pass. I’d rather get there relaxed than tense. Unless that door is about to close on me. LOL

2. Take deep breaths and relax your shoulders
I always tense up during take off so on a fourteen hour flight (or longer if we have to visit Noumea too) so that’s probably a good idea.

3. Listening to calm music
Thanks to iTunes I have lots of playlists to choose from. I might even make a new compilation to keep my stress levels low and I can use it too if the conversation beside me gets on my nerves. It couldn’t hurt.

4. Use the time wisely
Got a story with a gaping plot hole? Waiting around is a great time to think your way through a difficult patch in your writing and if you’ve no one with you, especially small fry, you can really make great headway with as little as a napkin.

5. Tackling passenger tensions
If the person sitting next to me does something inappropriate what should I do? First off ask myself if it’s really that bad. Am I over reacting and can I ignore it? On a fully booked plane I’d have little choice for a change of seats, but if you’re driving maybe you should ditch the competitiveness in favor of arriving in one piece.

6. Fluids, movement and rest
On a long haul flight or driving long distances it’s very easy to not look after yourself properly. Since I’m stuck in the same plane for fourteen hours straight I need to walk the plane and drink lots of liquids to avoid dehydration. I also need to sleep and with luck this year I’ll have seat partners who might actually do that. Fingers crossed. If you’re on the road, take care and stop often to prevent fatigue. You want to get to the convention safely.

7. Don’t panic if you’ve forgotten something

Judging by Jerrica’s excellent post yesterday on iPhone/iPad Apps, there are great and inventive solutions to replacing forgotten possessions. The NYC Way App is on my iPad already and set up with my hotel name. So cool. I will undoubtedly forget something and have to venture out, hopefully without getting lost. But there’s always uncertainty of exploring a new city so tips and suggestions are fantastic de-stressors for me.

Have you got travel secrets you’re willing to share? I’ll take anything you’ve got!


  1. Goodness, Heather! I can't imagine being on such a long flight, but you have some great tips here. I hope sleep will occupy most of your trip. I would also suggest that you load up your iPad with lots of fun activities: books, games (that don't requite you to be online), a word processing app so you can maybe get some writing done. I have trouble maintaining focus, so having a variety of things that I can do is key.

    Oh, and maybe some sleeping pills to make you more comfortable. I love the somnitabs I get at my local drug store. I take them on the plane to help me sleep and also when I get to my destination (if it has a significant time difference) to help me get on a normal sleep schedule for the time that I'm there. It really helps!

    Good luck! And I know I can't wait to see you!! :)

  2. Great suggestions, Heather. I've never flown to Australia, but I find sleeping on the plane helpful when I go to Europe. On the other hand, I might not want to do that if I were flying alone. Maybe you'll find another RWA-er to team up with on your flight?

  3. I have to agree with Jerrica, take some sleeping pills lol. You poor thing. Even though I am not going this year I wanted to be sure to stop by and wish you luck on your long journey. I hope all goes well, Heather and that you make it safely home. You ladies have loads of fun and I expect lots of pics.

  4. Jerrica, the ipad will be fully loaded with books and podcasts too and I have my smurf farm to maintain too. With luck I won't run out of juice before reaching NY. LOL

    You know, I've never taken sleeping tablets. But they are probably a good idea this time. I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!!