I’m traveling to Scottsdale tonight and packing for the trip reminded me of my list of essentials for any type of travel.
1. iPod – This one is so obvious, it’s almost embarrassing to include it on a essentials list. But if you are one of the five people in America who does not have one yet ---- buy one immediately. They are worth every penny. And once you buy one, you don’t even have to spend more money to fill it with something to listen to because (1) iTunes is a free download (2) you can add music to it from CDs you already own and (3) there are enough free podcasts (including High Flying Bird’s very own – available now for download on iTunes) out there to keep you entertained for hours. iPods can also be used to block out unwanted conversations with fellow travelers or screaming children.
2. hand sanitizer or wipes – Hello, my name is Hannah and I’m a germaphobe. Even if you don’t have my germ issues, you never know when you are going to eat some Cheetos or a candy bar (okay now I’m hungry) and need to clean the DEAFCON 1-strength synthetic cheese powder (mmmm, I’m definitely hungry now) or chocolate off your hands with no water available.
3. paperback book – If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to read, just leave now. Your kind isn’t welcome on High Flying Bird.
4. rain slicker – A rain jacket with a hood can be a lifesaver. It’s easier to pack than an umbrella and can be used as an extra layer of warmth in a dry but cool situation. A thin rain slicker helped me survive an unexpected drop in temperatures at a Rolling Stones stadium concert once. (My boyfriend Charlie Watts would have been devastated if I’d left early.) Another rain slicker saved my life during a trip to Jamaica one year during Christmas and New Years a/k/a “the rainy season”. If you are one of those women who thinks she is too cool to wear a hood, you don’t need to be traveling and should just stay home in a climate controlled environment.
5. snacks – I always have some snacks in my bag. Candy, granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, peanuts, etc. You never know when you are going to be traveling with people on a totally different feeding schedule than you or when you won’t have time to stop in the airport between delayed flights and pick up something to eat or when the obnoxious airline will run out of the meals available for purchase on the plane by the time they get to your seat in the back of coach (not that I’m naming names US AIR).
6. True Lemon – I like to have fresh lemon in my water and in my Diet Coke. I’ve found a good alternative when traveling is True Lemon. It is crystallized lemon that is available in individual packets (www.truelemon.com). I wasn’t as impressed with the True Lime, but you might feel differently.
7. gum – Gum is always good for general breath freshening and to help with pressure problems in your ears on flights. In the immortal words of The Geek in “Sixteen Candles”, “Fresh breath is a priority in my life.”
8. cell phone charger – Don’t ever leave your cell phone charger in your checked luggage. Always carry it on with you. You never know when you will get stuck in some airport for hours or even overnight and need to have a charged cell phone so you can call your friends and family to bemoan the fact that you are stuck in the airport.
9. pashmina-type wrap – I love these things. They are large enough to be a blanket if you are cold and small enough to act as a scarf. And they fold up into nothing and aren’t full of germs like those nasty airplane blankets (see 2. above). If you are ever in Vegas, they have a kiosk in The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace that has every color in the rainbow, and they are only $10 each. I believe they also sell fairly cheap versions in some airport gift shops.
I hope my essentials list will help you in your future travels. In the words of the offensive redneck who taught my handgun carry permit class, “When the shit hits the street, you got to be prepared!!”
-- Haiku Hannah