wanderlustwad

9 Essentials for Every Plane Ride

Hopping on a plane can be exhilarating, terrifying, boring, entertaining and everything in-between. To make the best of your experience, there are some required essentials that you shouldn't forget. Lucky for you, I've labeled them all for you. Why should you trust me? I've been on over 30 flights in the last 9 months. This has taught me way more than I would like to know about planes, and how to make the most of them. So here is your official list:

A sweater
In general, airports are cold, so you'll need it there, but being elevated thousands of feet in the air makes it a necessity for the plane. I've only ever been on one flight that was hot, while on every other one, I shivered. Yes, the airline will most likely supply you with a blanket, but is it enough? No. Bring your coziest sweater and nestle comfortably.

Lotion
It doesn't matter if you applied moisturizer after your shower that morning, on the car ride to the airport, or 3 seconds before they called for boarding, you will need lotion. Your skin will get drydrydry. My hands have actually started to hurt from being so ashy, and LAWD don't get me started on those feet! Just save yourself the embarrassment, the hassle and the ultimate struggle. Pack a nice sized lotion to keep you moisturized in that dry sky.

Socks
The sweater is for your top half, the socks are for your bottom half (sort of). Not sure if your calves ever get cold (weirdo) but mine don't. The best advice I can give you is to slather lotion on your feet and slip the socks on almost immediately, barely giving any air a chance to creep through. I'm so serious about not allowing my feet to snap, crackle, pop from all the ash that would accumulate. Also, while your butt, and your top half will have some friction with the seat, your feet are dangling all lonesome. Show them some love, bring socks.

Chapstick
To continue with the "dry" theme, don't forget about those precious lips! Dab some Vaseline on them or bring along your favorite Burt's Bees flavor and thank me later (*cue Drake*). Cracked lips are not cute on anyone, so be prepared.

Gum
It helps when your ears pop, which I have almost gotten used to. Not to mention, when your breath is as hot as the flames of hell, it helps to keep it at bay, specifically during those long flights. If not for you, just keep some present for the poor kid next to you. Save them from embarrassment and yourself from smelling their horrid breath. Imagine them sleeping with their mouth open and snoring in your direction, yuck! 

Travel Pillow
I used to think these things were so bougie, until I invested in one. On long airplane rides, or if you anticipate on taking a nap during your voyage, there is nothing better. It helps keep your head in place so you're not looking like a bobble-head in these streets. Find one that's perfect for you, there are millions to choose from. I love the ones with memory foam!

Advil
It works the best for me and reduces my headache pain. Sometimes the cheapest flights aren't the easiest ones, and since I'm always looking for the best deal, I often end up with dummy-induced headaches. Those are headaches brought on by dealing with, you guessed it, dummies. So in times of need, I require that my Advil is handy. You never know who you'll encounter, keep your Advil on deck!

Wet Wipes
I keep these handy because they are great sanitizers for those yucky bathrooms, and they're refreshing! Don't bother getting out of your seat to wash your hands before and after you're served food, just pull out a wet wipe! They also smell great and will leave you feeling clean.

Pen
This sounds like a ridiculous essential because "I can just borrow one from someone, right"? Wrong my love, individuals are ever so un-prepared. On most international flights, you will be required to fill out some type of paperwork for entry. You could wait until you land and head over to the designated tables that provide pens with everyone else. Just be prepared to wait...forever. Or, you can bring a pen, fill the sheets out on the plane, and pass the masses. #travelhack

Don't be a dupe while traveling! Remember these essentials to make your plane ride as comfortable as possible, whether you're sitting first class or towards the back of the plane. The majority of these essentials requires that you not depend on anyone for anything. Don't depend on the airline to give you a blanket because they might not, don't depend on someone's shoulder to sleep on, bring your travel-pillow, and don't depend on your saliva to keep your lips moisturized, gross. Be adult, be prepared, and get ready to begin your journey!

What are some of your essentials? Let me know in the comments below?

 

Happy Wandering

9 Official Sacrifices of a Wanderer

I always daydream about traveling the world; the places I've been and the ones I'll soon see, all fill my head. It's wonderous isn't it? The idea of constantly being somewhere new? Experiencing new cultures and widening your horizons to levels you couldn't even imagine were possible! I love that feeling. It's in my character. It's who I am. I AM A WANDERER. 

Albeit, I'm not always on the move (although it might quite possibly seem so), there is a good portion of the year where I am stuck at home, heading to my sub-par job, and engaging in my "normal life". It's horrid. All I can think of when I'm in my bedroom late at night, is leaving. Getting as far away from here as possible, and starting a new life in another place. Staring into the dark, it never occurred to me that the wanderer life may not be the Utopia I was searching for. 

I imagined a life on the move to be a constant voyage, to be adventurous, and exciting, and an illuminative scope on my seemingly dreary world, and it was! What I wasn't prepared for were the downfalls of such a lifestyle. I had never considered that the grass might not be greener on the other side. My recent trip to Turkey (with stops in Egypt and Sudan) has made this cliché more of a reality than ever. Although my departure was for a mere month, there was much that I had yet to learn.

What sacrifices must you undertake to wander? Take these into consideration...

1. Living Comfortably
Say so-long to your personal bedroom. You'll now be sleeping in hostels and sharing a room with anywhere from 3-12 other individuals. Get ready for your new roommates to come back at obscure hours, drunk, have sex on your top half of the bunk-bed, and snore. Wonderful, isn't it?

2. Showering Comfortably
Don't take it for granted that when you enter your bathroom at home, you already have all of your shampoos, conditioners, soaps, loofahs, and razors ready. As a wanderer, you must carry everything with you each and every time you want to wash yourself. When you're done, you'll need to lug those same items out. Though not necessary in every hostel situation, if you want to make sure you're the only one using your essentials, its the safest route.  

3. Locking Up
One thing I constantly took for granted is being able to leave my stuff laying around the room. Whether a book-bag or a random pair of shoes, when you're staying somewhere with other people, its always safest to lock up everything, all the time. It might not sound so horrible until you think about how sucky packing is. Now imagine needing to pack everything up every-time you leave your house...welcome to the first level of hell.

4. Family
You already know this one. You're gonna miss them, unless they're on the trip with you. And even then, they'll manage to get on your nerves. Don't take them for granted though, you never know what you have till it's gone. Especially thousands of miles away.

5. Friends
Just like family, except they don't get on your nerves as much. You'll try to stay in touch using apps like WhatsApp and Viber, but it's never the same. Stories become too long to text, overseas connections aren't the best, and you're left in a slew of "I'll tell you when you come back" and "Wait, what was that? I can't hear you...what?...HUH?". The distance will weigh heavy on you.

6. ICE
It's exactly what it sounds like. Ice is a luxury in case you didn't know. Most places don't have ice, and drinks are served at room temperature. My mind was blown too. That aahh-mazing WaWa ice that you love to crunch on? Forget about it. You'll be lucky to get any sort of ice, let alone have a preference. 

7. Wi-Fi
It is available, though scarcely. When you do find it, the signal isn't that great. When you find a great one, hold on for dear LIFE. There's nothing like being able to surf google freely. Censorship is a thing. Oh yea, forget about any Netflix and Hulu dreams. Non-existent. WTF.

8. Central Air
When you walk into your house when it's summer, you feel the cool breeze. When you walk in from the frigid air, you feel the lovely heat as soon as you enter. Central air is seriously sent from the Gods. It's only common in the United States. I haven't been anywhere else where its a "thing". Walk into a room and turn on the air conditioner for that room. Step into the hallway and Satan's air smacks you in the face. Also, bathrooms don't generally have any sort of ventilated air, except a possible window. That smell. We seriously live in a heaven of sorts. 

9. Hot Water
Waking up in the morning and stepping into a hot shower feels like a hug from grandma, warm and cozy. Your wanderer showers will feel like electrical jolts running through your body, cold and crisp. Not the imagery you would've wanted? Get over it. People all over the world regularly take cold shower, and to have a heater warm your water for you is an extravagant addition, one many can't afford. "Jump in, jump out, turn yourself about" will now symbolize your shower routine. 


Most of the sacrifices you'll make will be the ones you don't even think about. There are many things in the United States that other countries don't have, and you don't realize these things until you leave. Say goodbye to the free public library, and free water at restaurants. Free bathrooms with water fountains right outside are only but a dream. Paved roads and citizens who follow traffic signals are a thing of the past. Constant refills? Prepare to pay.

What all of this has taught me is that you can't get something, without giving up something else.  I never thought that I would ever miss my normal life! But I did. I genuinely missed all the things I take for granted on a daily basis. I'm a wanderer, so you'd think that the last place I would want to be is in the same place I've grown up for over half my life.

I didn't know what I had, until it was no longer available. Traveling doesn't only allow you to appreciate outside cultures and experiences, but makes you see how lucky you are on a regular basis, in your normal life. When you wander far, you notice how close your daily blessings are.

 

 

Happy Wandering...

10 Ways To Discover A New City

Being in a new city can be daunting. Visiting, just moved or passing through somewhere new?

Here are some tips I've collected throughout my travels to help me get the most out of each place I wander into, no matter how short or long the stay.

1. Walk
Though not all cities are walkable, there are many that are, and if you happen to be in one then that is exactly what you should be doing. Walk down the streets, around the corners, walk everywhere. Besides it being a great form of exercise, which you will undoubtedly need after all the amazing food you'll want to try, it's a great way to discover a new city. The only way to find those unforgettable hole-in-the-wall's is by walking.

2. Public Transportation
As noted, not all places are easy to walk, if this is the case, then utilize the public transportation system. Even in times when you can walk around, realize that you can only walk but so far. Taxi's are for chumps! Do you want to be a chump? Didn't think so. Now get on that train, tram, bus, subway, metro, whatever. To really uncover the gems of a new place, you must live as the people there live, and unless they have "racks on racks" as my friends would say, they're most likely using one of these forms of transportation. 

3. Talk to Locals
They live in the place for goodness sakes, so who would know the place better? In most places they are more than happy to lend a helping hand. Unless you're in France...sorry Frenchies, your reputation precedes you. (Although in my short 12 hours there, I found one very kind man who was the greatest.) Locals have almost always pointed me in the right direction. Make sure you ask them to tell you where they would go, not where they think you would want to go. You don't want to go to the tourist spots, get a genuine feel of this new place!

4. Get Lost
Today in Turkey, I got extremely lost. Had no idea where I was, and I had the best day ever! Getting lost is beautiful. Sure scary, but oh so wonderful. You come across things you normally wouldn't and are pleasantly surprised by all that you do. Get lost, make the wrong turn, figure it out. Your adventure is awaiting in your confusion. Suppress your need to ask for directions and try to go with the flow. You will appreciate it in the long run. 

5. TripAdvisor/Lonely Planet
No one goes to China and doesn't want to see the Great Wall of China. You don't go to France and not see the Eiffel Tower. It's a part of the experience. For these reasons, I would use TripAdvisor/Lonely Planet. See what is worth your time, and what isn't exactly your cup of tea. Sometimes you don't know what the great things to do are, and this will give you the most touristy of touristy things to see and do. Not a bad idea because at the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, you still kinda are a tourist. Sorry love! Experience the Hagia Sophia and the Taj Mahal with the other tourists before going upon your own route.

6. Tourist Traps
You will undoubtedly get caught in one. It's going to happen. Don't run from it, just take it in. Learn from it and then never get caught again. You will pay too much for a cab before knowing how the metro works, you will pay $10 for a jacket and think it's a steal, until you discover you could have gotten it for $5. It's ok, roll with the punches my friend, just make sure you are learning from them.

7. Get Out
Don't stay locked up in your hostel/hotel attached to your computer/phone and ravaging for WiFi. Yes you might miss home, and you're you, so home definitely misses you, but don't waste your time trying to not miss out. In your FOMO anxiety, you will miss out on what's right in front of you. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. will all be exactly where you left them when you return. Someone will post about their pregnancy, another about an engagement, a marriage, a breakup, a hook-up. Do you really care? Go somewhere! Do something! Don't let FOMO hold you back! This city needs discovering! 

8. Learn the Language
Locals are so much more receptive when they see you trying. They will laugh at your attempts, but internally they will be so pleased that you're trying. Learning the language doesn't necessarily mean you have to take a course. Learn the basics: please, thank you, hello, goodbye, bathroom (that one is important). What better way to immerse yourself in the culture than to slowly figure out what the heck everyone is saying.

9. Find a Friend
They are everywhere! In your hostel, on the streets, at the cafe you like to frequent, there are people waiting to be your friend. Who wouldn't want to be? It's you for crying out loud. Friends can help you get out, can teach you new things and show you all the places they've already discovered. Bond over your love of the city, your hate of the city, whatever! You don't know it all, so find someone who can teach you some things, and who you can enlighten. Discover the city together.

10. Enjoy!
The best way to discover a new city is to enjoy it. No matter the turns and tumbles life hands you, have a great time. The whole reason you're in this new place is to enjoy, so don't deny yourself this wonder. Walk around and enjoy, get on a tram and enjoy, find friends and enjoy, meet locals and enjoy. You get to be somewhere new, even if for a little while, so smile fellow wanderer. The city is welcoming you, so welcome it back!

 

Hope these tips will help you to get out and discover your newest adventure!

What other tips do you have for learning about a new place? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Wandering...