Living in a part of the world where the newly coined weather descriptor, the polar vortex, has always resided, a winter getaway can mean the difference between a mild case of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and a full blown psychotic breakdown. If you are lucky enough to break free to a warmer climate and avoid commitment to your nearest mental hospital, here are a few packing pointers.
Your checked bag. Layout everything you want to bring. Now, put half of it back. Don’t you notice that you never use half of what you pack? Keep only items you would actually use or wear on an average day at home at the same temperature. If you wouldn’t wear something at home, you likely won’t reach for it while on vacation. Bring universal pieces that can easily be paired together in several combinations with other packed items. Don’t bring new shoes. Make sure you have comfortable footwear appropriate for your destination and vacation type, as well as versatile enough to pair with your wardrobe pieces. Roll your clothing items for packing. You will be amazed by how much space you save. Put liquid items in large ziplock bags to avoid wet spills all over your dry clothes from pressure leaks. Leave some room in your bag for items purchased at your destination.
For the airplane. Let’s be truthful here. Unless you can afford a seat in first class, air travel is the most degrading form of public transit. It is dirty (hello, re-re-recirculated air, filled with airborne viral goodies, not to mention unpleasant smells). It is uncomfortable (to maximize profit in general population aka economy seating, let’s see how many seats we can cram into the smallest space possible). It is a dictatorship (you must remain seated at all times, you mustn’t switch seats, you cannot bring many of the items you would like as they are not approved by the TSA, your seat mates are normally unfriendly or alternatively too friendly, and so on). Forget the travel neck pillow. All the cushioning in the world won’t take away the unpleasantries of air travel. Prevention and distraction is your best weapon. I bring my iPad, filled with my favorite magazines, books, movies, podcasts, playlists and games. Paired with a good quality pair of over ear headphones, you can tune everything out and make the time go by faster. I bring prescription tranquilizers (Ativan and Valium) to take the edge off or knock me out cold on long flights. Bring your usual OTC medications, such as Advil, Tylenol and Tums. Breath mints and gum are handy to have as well. At the terminal, rub the inside of your nostrils with some antibiotic ointment to ward off viruses. Toss back an Airborne tablet or other immunity booster before boarding. Hand and face wipes are a must on board, as well as lip and hand moisturizer. Just make sure they meet the liquid quantity standards. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If that happens to be alcohol, well, whatever gets you through the flight.