My first flight: I was three weeks old. We went to see my grandparents in Colorado. From there on, flights were a regular part of my life.
When I was one, my parents divorced. Mom always lived in Tennessee. Dad always lived in Florida. Every break from school, my brother, Austin, and I were on a plane. On occasion, we flew with our mom to pursue our passion of snow skiing, too. Austin and I were close; we did everything together! The two of us flew thousands of miles together; we both still fly and travel a lot, though he lives in Colorado now. We will always have the travel bug. In the last two years, we (my husband and I) have met up with Austin in Alaska and Las Vegas. Austin and I both have plans to go to Japan for the first time in 2020, though we're actually going on separate trips there.
My best travel advice for airports:
- Invest in good luggage. I used to buy luggage at money-saving T.J. Maxx. Luggage there averages about $100, and would last only a few trips through the airport before a wheel or handle fell off, or the zipper busted. On the lucky trips, it would not be raining on the tarmac. On the unlucky, my luggage sat in the rain while I watched out the window helplessly. A few years ago, I finally mustered the courage to spend nearly $300 on Patagonia Black Hole luggage. I no longer have to worry about baggage handlers playing basketball with my bag; even if they do, I have faith my bag will be just fine. If it isn't, each part is replaceable on it anyway. It's holding up like a champ after five international trips and a few domestic.
- Be smart about your carry-on. As a woman, we often want to max out our carry-ons with a purse filled to the brim, a camera bag, and a tote bag of snacks and a travel pillow. Learn from my mistakes: your shoulders will hate you. Be practical, use a back pack with good support and minimize as much as possible. Instead of a jacket and a travel pillow, try using your jacket as a travel pillow. You'll be thankful for minimizing and one supportive bag when you're running through Hartsfield-Jackson to catch your next plane before the boarding door is closed.
- Leave early. 'nuff said.
- Be excited about the entire journey, have fun in the process! Memories can be made anywhere. Take a deck of cards to play with your framily during the layover.
My mom? Well, she has the travel bug too. It must run in our genes. She has a job traveling the U.S. and Canada and estimates she flies at least 40 out of 52 weeks of the year. I asked Mom her best advice for travel. She advises, "Carry your own earphones and a bottle of water. Wear comfortable walking shoes & comfortable pants, or a dress. For women, dresses are often more comfortable for long flights. If you have delays, get on the phone with airline immediately (it's faster than going to the service desk)."
To limit the amount of plastic in landfills, take an empty reusable water bottle, such as a Camelbak Chute or Eddy, with you. Once you have gone through airport security, fill it up at a water fountain.
Save up, plan it out, make memories. We've only got one life to live - live adventurously.