How Not To Travel: Cali Baby
Obviously, my first sentence would involve me telling you how I'm not a travel expert and why you should learn from my mistake (or if you like living on the edge, copy them). Why do I even bother to include a disclaimer? I don't know; it seems like something a smart person would do. I have always considered myself a detailed oriented person, especially in a professional setting. And some aspects of my personal life as well. But one thing I do know is this; I am one of the worst when it comes to travelling.
Having said that, let's begin. How Not To Travel 101 is in session, and I will be your mentor.
1. CHOOSING YOUR DESTINATION
I know there are a few weirdos out there who decide on their destinations months or even a year in advance. While this is what you should do, I usually do not. This is how destination selection goes for me. I'm talking to Sarah, and she goes, "we should go somewhere nice (followed by a specific date or holiday), why don't you plan something." I agree of course (because I'm no punk) even though I have no idea where somewhere beautiful is. A week (actually three weeks) after that conversation, I'll start looking for somewhere nice because I know the next time it comes up, I should have a place in mind. I'm lying; I don't look up anything. I just call up my brother and ask him where he would go if he were planning a trip. In this case, he lives in California and thought we should make the journey. Viola! That's how you select your destination.
2. GETTING YOUR TICKETS
Typically, it makes sense to buy your tickets way ahead of your travel date. Here is why, they tend to be cheaper, and if you are flying, you get first picking for seats. Secondly, you won't have to worry about your trip knowing that everything is secured. This gives you time to plan out your trip, etc. But where is the fun in that? I'm sure you've guessed by now that I do this a little different. I spend the next week switching between airline apps, Google, and other ticket websites searching for that elusive deal. During this time, I'm confidently passing up on outstanding deals because I'm going to find the best. It's only a matter of days now. After realising that I've lost all the good deals, I end up getting a sought of an okay deal and spend the next few days beating myself up for missing out on all the great deals.
3. GETTING READY
Assuming you're a goody two shoes and bought your tickets in ample time, this where you get to shine. You have time to research your destination, plan out excursions and all that fancy stuff for you and everyone else. You get excellent deals to shows and plan out every minute of your trip. You know it would be a great trip because you've planned it that way. Then there's me. My brother texts me a week or so in advance asking what I think are the things we might want to do. Here's how that conversation goes:
Bro: what do you guys want to do when you are out here?
Me: whatever man. I've got no clue.
Me: uhh...let's just see how it goes
He gives up after a few tries knowing I'm going to have to come up with things to do out of the blue when we get there because that's the expectation.
4. PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
Now, this is where I excel. My philosophy is this, packing a week in advance is a sure way of forgetting things. In all my travels, I've never used all the things I packed. Considering that I usually go with just a carry-on, I think this makes me a master (don't argue just accept it). Ordinary people look at their vacation plans and pack accordingly. Beach destinations call for beachwear and stuff. Colder destinations call for warmer clothes blah blah blah. Two days out, most people are done with packing. I pack by sight. That means, if I see it, I'm packing it. I do have my staples though; a pair of dark denim, a few white t-shirts, a loafer, a dress shirt or two, tonnes of underwear, my scrub pants that I've owned for the last 14 years, and everything else I can see and grab. So 30 minutes before leaving for the airport, I start packing, and in 10 minutes I've managed to put together a luggage that looks like it was packed months ago. How do I do this? Simple, the possibility of missing my flight focuses my mind. Try it.
5. GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
If you don't want to miss your flight, the airports, airlines, and travel experts advise that you arrive 2 hours early for domestic and 4 hours early for international flights. This way, you don't have to be in a rush and risk forgetting something vital like your passport or your phone (or your children). You also have to decide if driving to the airport is better than taking Uber or Lyft. Maybe you have someone you can cajole into dropping you off. Again, this is all sound advice. Here is how our departure went:
24 hours before departure, my flight app asks me to check in, and I did. It asked if we had bags to check in and I said no.
12 hours before departure, which is at 6:50 AM (boarding starts at 6:05 AM), I'm still at work and nowhere close to being off. At this time, Uber is still the plan. I got home at 1:00 AM and followed up on work stuff till 2:00 AM then fall asleep.
2 hours before departure, I wake up, and I start looking for my suitcase. I finally pack and go outside to see how long and how much Uber will be. I find out it'll be almost $50 and decide I'm driving.
1 hour before departure, we head out to the airport that is about 30 minutes away. I park at long-term parking (obviously because it's cheaper) and we spend the next 30 minutes in the shuttle to the airport. Now remember that boarding started at 6:05 AM and our shuttle get to our terminal at 6:03 AM.
Prayer time before departure is what I call this time. A lady walks up to the line asking if there are any more passengers for the flight to LA and six of us raised our hands (I'm thinking my kind of people). We drop our bags and are asked to run to Security. Get there, and there's a sea of people in line. Am I worried? Not really. By 6:20 AM we make it pass Security and just full out sprint to our gate.
Three minutes before the door closes, we walk up to the counter and scan our boarding passes. We board the plane then I start complaining that the flight better not be delayed. Now that is how you get to the airport.