Travel isn’t rocket science. People do it every day. Traveling well, on the other hand is a rare and mostly secret art form, perfected only by the few.
Don’t we all know someone who manages this magic trick?
They waft through airports and on an off aircraft looking groomed, happy and relaxed. They also seem to be carrying exactly the right amount of hand luggage, somehow containing everything they might need but nothing extra. There are no signs of feathers being ruffled, clothes being creased, or nerves being gnawed. The men seem approachable and the women in charge of their universe.
It is perfectly infuriating! How DO they do it?
One might be tempted to think it is all down to experience… but sadly it isn’t so. Somehow, years of jet-setting do not translate into a talent for seamless air travel. It really is matter of know-how.
Luckily, when you run the world’s best travel outfitter you have access to a larger than usual selection of these otherworldly creatures who make journeys across many time zones and through the nuisance and mischief of all the developing worlds’ look like a breeze.
These are their Secrets to Travelling Well
Be Travel Designer Savvy
Unless it’s your job to know everything about everywhere… get yourself a Travel Designer specializing in the area you want to visit. There is no better advice, no matter where you happen to travel, but when you are off on a Safari to Africa, South America and Asia local contacts and knowledge may save the day.
But Insist on Lazy Travel Designers
If your Travel Designer is not making good use of local people and guides, and ensuring you have ample opportunity to enrich your experience through contact with those who live in the country you are visiting, you must think again and find someone else to design your trip.
The Right Bag
We recently fell in love with the G-Ro bag. Unfortunately, it can’t go on ALL our Safaris, as some camps can only be reached by small aircraft and they still require bags with all soft sides, but when we travel regionally or to Kruger Park this is our go-to bag.
In the Bag
Common answers to the ‘what-to-pack in onboard luggage’ question:
Noise cancelling headphones.
A GREAT sleep mask (forget about the complementary aircraft option).
The perfect jewelery/ valuables pouch.
A lens kit for phone.
Really light. Even lighter than you think light.
Alternate nostril breathing (or nadi shodhana if you like being technical)
This very quick and super easy meditation (without the meditation!) harmonizes the hemispheres of the brain and can be done anywhere in 16 seconds.
1 – 4 SECONDS
Simply close the left nostril and inhale through the right one for FOUR seconds.
5 – 8 SECONDS
Then close the right nostril and exhale through the left one for FOUR seconds.
9 – 12 SECONDS
Inhale through the left for FOUR seconds.
13 – 16 SECONDS
Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right one for FOUR seconds.
C’est la vie
People who are great at travelling see every problem as an adventure. There are no delays… only opportunities.
They are Worms
Early ones! This fact must be faced: on holiday early is better. Less crowds, better pictures and the criminals and travel conmen tend to sleep in too.
A Giggle a Day
They are big on giggles. And belly laughs. And all the other in-between versions of laughter. Make it a rule never to take yourself seriously. Then double that rule whenever you are on holiday.
A Little Cash in a Clever Cranny
Cash is King & Queen – especially in developing countries and it will always pay to keep a little cash stash somewhere unexpected, just a little insurance in case something unexpected happens.
Don’t be afraid of slowing everything down.
You don’t have to see everything. It is fine to take a day and simply watch life go by.
This is a difficult question with many answers.
The safest option may be the cloud – but Wi-Fi is unfortunately not very dependable on Safari. If you would still like to take your chances with the web, or are traveling to locations with good internet service you may want to consider:
– Google Drive (up to 15 GB)
– Microsoft OneDrive (up to 5 GB)
– Dropbox (up to 2 GB)
– Apple iCloud (up to 5 GB)
– Amazon’s Cloud Drive (unlimited storage for Amazon Prime members)
– Amazon (for non-Prime members)
– CrashPlan (I use this service to back up three TB of photos at present)
A more realistic option on Safari is to back everything up on memory cards.
Learn three phrases
Knowing how to say “Hello” “Thank you” and “Goodbye” in the local language can achieve miracles.
Borrow someone else’s eyes
The ability to suspend your own ideas for a little while and truly see the world through someone else’s eyes… even if only for an afternoon is the best way to get to know a country.
Men and Women of the Cloth
Gentlemen may prefer calling it a shemagh, keffiyeh, or shesh while ladies would probably refer to it as a sarong, a chitenge or a kikoi. You will come across these cloths throughout the developing world and there is good reason for their ubiquity!
Dust protection, Sun protection, Towel, Warmth, Sack, Sarong, Sweatband, Temporary sling, Pillow, Weapon, Concealment, Rope, Water filter, Pot holder, Keeping cool, Carrying children (and belongings), Signal flag, Blanket and an Eye mask.
They can also make you look rather dashing.
Allow your Designer or Lodge a Little Wiggle Room
Give them a some freedom (especially when you have a good relationship and they know you well) and permission to surprise you.
Write to Right
They say when you write with an old-fashioned pen and paper you don’t only w.r.i.t.e but you also r.i.g.h.t. – Holidays might be the only opportunity you have to put ink to paper in our tech crazy existence. Buy yourself a great pen and a Moleskine journal and see what happens.
Invest in TSA PreCheck and Global Entry—check for similar programs outside the US
What does it cost? Currently a whopping US$ 185 for both for five years
What do you get? Shorter, faster security lines + your shoes stay on and you keep your laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.
Get the Mobile Passport App (only available to USA and Canadian passport holders)
A free app to submit your passport and declaration information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) via your mobile device instead of completing the traditional paper form. The app does not require pre-approval and is free to use.
Airlines are getting in on the trickery.
The latest wellness concepts available on board your next flight:
United Airlines & Swiss Air
Headspace meditation WITH fear of flying and sleeping upright videos
Well Being channel with meditation and stretching
Travel well with Yoga
Casper designed pillows, blankets and other products, If you fly Premium economy you also receive a lumbar pillow and a soft cotton blanket and international first and business class passengers can enjoy mattress pads, pillows, blankets and pajamas.
Fly Good Feel Good foods including herbal teas (rooibos, sage and lavender) and an energizing blend of mate, mint and ginger,
Children may enjoy a traditional Turkish drink made with milk, carob powder and date syrup.
Images via Tom Holmes, Štefan Štefančík, bruce mars, Atlas Green, Jakob Owens, Joshua Ness, Caleb Jones, Rux Centea, Jared Sluyter