As I was packing for our trip to Canada last week, I starting thinking about the different kind of air travelers. There are the people who roll out of bed the morning of a flight, grab a muffin and a magazine on their way to security, and get to their gate right as the plane is boarding. Then, there are the people who pack everything they could possibly need, print off their boarding passes as early as possible and feel the most comfortable sitting at the gate at least an hour before boarding. I supposed there are probably people that fall somewhere in the middle, too.
I’ll give you one guess which one I am.
I’m actually getting much better about my over-preparedness when it comes to traveling. Before vacations, I used to literally memorize the names of hospitals in our insurance network that were close to our vacation destination, so if something happened and I had to tell an ambulance driver where to go, I could. I’m not kidding. Thankfully, I’ve traded in over-preparedness for just plain ole preparedness. Phew. Much less crazypants.
Anywho, I thought it might be fun to show you guys what I lug around with me when we’re flying. It’s actually a pretty small bag (a Timbuk2 extra small messenger) but I manage to pack a lot in there.
- Water Bottle :: When traveling, my CamelBak Groove is pretty much always right by my side. Not only is flying crazy dehydrating, but what is it about airports and yucky water? I’ve never had good water from an airport water fountain. So the filter in the Groove helps make my water tasty!
- Toiletry Bag :: I have a little bag of toiletry things that I carry along with me. This guy actually stays in my purse, so it’s an easy transition into my carry-on bag when I’m flying. More about what’s in here below.
- Kindle :: The Kindle is seriously the best thing to ever happen to airport entertainment. I used to pack a few magazines and at least one heavy book, not any more. It all fits in my tiny, tiny Kindle. Woo!
- Planner and Markers :: Chances are, I won’t need them, but I really don’t go anywhere without them.
- Gum :: I never chew gum, but it’s a must for me when I’m flying. I’ve had a lot of ear problems in the past, and chewing gum helps make it less ouchy.
- Tea :: I’m not a big fan of paying $5 for a cup of hot water and a tea bag, so I bring my own tea. Most airport restaurants will give you a cup of hot water for free and you can always get one during beverage service on the plane.
- Keys :: I recently simplified my keychain (removing old keys, removing store cards) and it is so much nicer! And it fits perfectly onto the key clip in my bag now.
- Passports :: I’m the keeper of the passports. Mostly because there is a perfect little passport pocket on the front of my bag.
- Phone, Charger and Earbuds
- Cash :: I like to bring along a little bit of cash and change just in case I need to tip a driver or buy something at the airport stores.
- Snacks :: I’m gonna go ahead and guess you aren’t surprised that the vast majority of my bag space is reserved for food. I despise buying food at the airport. It’s hard to find healthier options (although getting easier) and always insanely expensive. Beyond these snacks, I also packed a separate lunch in a collapsible cooler for eating during one of our flights. Our travel day was about 14 hours, so I made sure to pack a lot of food. More on the specific snacks below.
- Antibacterial Things :: I’m not a big germaphobe. But airports and airplanes are germy, nasty, yucky places. And when you combine that with the fact that it’s one of the worst flu seasons on record? I Purelled pretty much everything.
- Dramamine :: I’m really, really susceptible to motion sickness. I’ve never had a problem on planes, but I definitely don’t want to be at 30,000 feet and that suddenly change. Dramamine is my friend.
- Pepto Tabs :: These things rock. You’d never think a little chewable tab of Pepto would help your tummy much, but they definitely do. Flying with an upset tummy is never fun. They are also good for settling a rumbling stomach after a night of heavy drinking. Not that I know from experience or anything.
- Excedrin :: Both Craig and I are pretty headache-prone, and Excedrin is the Vitamix of headache medicines.
- Contacts :: I always bring an extra set of contacts with me everywhere I go. My glasses once broke while I was on vacation. I didn’t have any backups or contacts with me. I’d prefer to not relive that blurry day.
- Lotion :: This is particularly important when flying to a colder, drier climate.
- Lip Gloss
- Nail File :: I pretty much always break a nail while hulking around luggage.
- Trail Mix :: I could have probably gone a lot healthier with all the trail mix options in the Whole Foods bulk section. But naturally colored M&Ms are really hard to pass up.
- Papaya Chunks :: I’m not a huge dried fruit fan, but these are where it’s at.
- Coconut Date Logs :: Yummy!
- Clementines :: When I’m traveling domestically, I like to pack a lot more fruits and veggies, but flying internationally means we can’t bring produce across the border. So we made sure we noshed on these two guys before we crossed.
- Turkey Jerky :: Low calories, tons of protein, travels well and is way tasty!
- Yogurt Covered Almonds :: For no other reason than these are insanely delicious.
What kind of traveler are you? What are you favorite snacks to pack while you fly?
Vacation was awesome. And I mean awesome. A big, huge thank you to all of the lovely and talented guest posters that were able to step in while I was doing this…
And some of this…
And a whole lot of this…
A week on the beach was exactly what we needed. While we’ve taken trips in the past few years, this was the first vacation where Babyface and I both totally shut off from our responsibilities in our entire marriage. It felt so good to not be tethered to my phone or laptop. I was able to take naps on the beach. Drink mimosas for breakfast. And read. I read four books, kids. FOUR! There were even a couple of days where I read an entire book start to finish on the beach. It felt so decadent and amazing.
For the most part, while we were on the beach we did exactly that—stay on the beach. But we did put on real pants a few times and venture out into the not-so-sandy-world. We got out to watch a Blue Jays Spring Training game in Sarasota, which was fun, but neither of us are huge baseball fans. We did really enjoy the hot dogs and beer, though.
One adventure that took us all around the area was our quest to find local seafood. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to find local seafood in the Sarasota area. We were finally able to track down a few places to buy freshly caught fish and shrimp, but the choices were really limited. Even the restaurants in the area flew in the vast majority of their seafood. But what were able to find was incredible!
And of course, we did our fair share of shopping. Babyface and I both get a kick out of kitschy, cheesy souvenir shops, so we spent quite a bit of time going through those. Beyond those shops, there were also some amazing artist co-op stores in the area. We were able to snag some fantastic original pieces from local artists as souvenirs. We did not, however, buy this hat. Dreads work on me, no?
I wish I had more to share with you, but I can honestly say, 90% of our time on vacation was spent on the water. We walked along the beach. We searched for seashells. We got our fill of Vitamin D (and went through SIX bottles of sunscreen). We splashed in the waves.
We Babyface boogie boarded.
I think the mark of a great vacation is how you feel at the end. So often, I feel like I need a week’s vacation to recover from my vacation, but this time I feel relaxed and ready to get back into the swing of things. I loved being on the Gulf Coast, but I’m also happy to be home (and SO happy to see Puppyface).
I just wish we could bring the beach with us.
When you go on vacation, do you go off-the-grid? Or do you like to stay connected?
I’ll be more or less absentee for the next week while we’re enjoying the sand and sun. During that time, I’ve got some great posts scheduled for you and, thanks to the help of some friends, some awesome guest posts to share, too. I hope you have an excellent, fantastic, wonderful week. I’ll bring you back some shells.
Starting bright-and-early tomorrow morning (well, depending on how late tonight’s IU game goes) Babyface and I will be off on the open road on our way to the beach. When I’ve mentioned that we a road-tripping it to Florida to people, they’ve all had the same reaction—total disgust. Seems like most folks aren’t fans of being in a car for two days, but Babyface and I love it! We really enjoy the extended time together to talk about life, listen to music and see the country. Plus, saving a few hundred bucks on airfare isn’t so bad either.
Thanks to having half of our family in Canada and international airfare being astronomical, we’ve gotten really good at roadtripping. I’ve come a long way from the time I woke up at 5am and decided to make the 17-hour drive in one day by myself to visit Babyface when we were dating. We’ve created an awesome system complete with loose itineraries, planned stops and most importantly, good food. Gas station hot dogs need not apply. I figured before we headed south, I’d share a few of my favorite tips for staying healthy on a road trip. Happy driving!
1. Plan it out.
Before each of our road trips, I like to plan out approximate stops and times. Not only does it ensure we can switch drivers, get gas, stretch our legs, and hit the restroom at frequent intervals in locations that we know are going to have the amenities we need, but it also gives us easy, digestible chunks of driving time. We normally do 3-4 hours of driving between stops. And knowing exactly when and where you are stopping helps you to plan out meals. Even though we are hundreds of miles away, I already know which rest stop we’ll be eating lunch at tomorrow.
2. Bring your own food.
I’m not above grabbing a bag of Twizzlers from a gas station, but the majority of your road trip food should be brought from home if you want to stay healthy. Pack a cooler with your favorite healthy snacks and keep it close to the front seat. Make sure to pack good boredom snacking choices, too. You know when you are 6+ hours into a road trip and the novelty has worn off, you’ve gone through ever song on your iPod and you are sick of staring at billboards? Lots of folks turn to snacking on Cheetos or cookies, but for boredom eating, pack low-calorie options like celery sticks, baby carrots and sliced bell peppers. I can munch on those all day and barely even make a blip on my calorie radar.
I also like to pack some fun treats that I usually don’t eat. We have a pack of Newman’s Oreos that I’m excited to dive into! There is something romantic about the idea of junk food on a road trip. Embrace it! Just do it with awareness and responsibility.
Lots of people remember to bring snacks, but often people skip the main meals and head to fast food. On-the-road meals are as easy as tossing a loaf of whole grain bread and your favorite meats or cheese in the cooler. Sandwiches are easy to assemble on a picnic table or even in the trunk of a car. Bonus: if the place you are going has a fridge, the sandwich fixings will definitely get used during your stay.
3. Keep drinking.
It might seem like a good idea to avoid water so you can avoid frequent pit stops, but that line of thinking can land you feeling terrible just a few hours into the trip. To keep away early dehydration symptoms (thirst, headaches, and fatigue), sip water constantly through your trip. I like to ration out a single water bottle and sip on it during each segment of our trip. Taking small sips seems to help keep the bathroom trips limited.
If you are one of those people who must drink soft drinks or coffee on the road, sipping water is doubly important! Caffeine works as a diuretic and actually causes you to hit up the restroom even more frequently than if you would have stuck to water.
4. Get out and move.
So often, when people have to stop on a road trip, the just do what needs to be done and immediately hop back into the car. It can be tempting to get back on the road again, but I find that taking 5 or 10 minutes to stretch, walk around or just stand up really helps energize my body and mind.
Do you like to road trip?
When Babyface first proposed the idea of surprising his family for Christmas, I said it was okay by me just as long as we set some healthy ground rules. When we came here last year, both of us used it as an excuse to drown ourselves in baked goods, booze, and lounging on the couch. Some of that is great in moderation, but by the time we flew home we were both feeling rotten and fighting off a cold. So this year, I suggested that we make eating clean and exercising a priority. We’ve done great! We went grocery shopping the first full day here and have been eating good snacks and well-rounded meals. And instead of logging hours on the treadmill, we decided we’d get our activity in and experience the great white north at the same time. Enter cross country skiing.
I have never really done any kind of snow sports (well, other than sledding) so this was definitely an interesting experience for me. I fell no less than a dozen times, but giggled each time. I finally got the hang of it after about half an hour, but I’m sure I still looked like an awkward fool. Especially when I was giggling uncontrollably while speeding down hills. They were my favorite part!
Babyface was, of course, a total rockstar. It was fun the see him in his element. I sometimes forget that we live in a place that is pretty different from his home culture. There were three-year olds blowing past me on the trails; these type of winter sports are just part of what a Northwestern Ontario family does. Kinda like how my family grew up swimming and playing basketball. He was obviously having so much fun and I felt a little bad that my slow-moving American self held him up. Side note: my husband in ski gear and being a patient and kind instructor? Total swoon. I am such a lucky, lucky girl.
I can definitely tell how cross country skiing could be a major good cardio and strength workout if you could, you know, stay up on the skiis for an extended period of time. Even with my short bursts, I could feel it in my arms and thighs. I am definitely sore. And I don’t think all of it was from falling on my bum.
The exercise was great, but the best part about being out on the trails was getting to see this part of the country unspoiled. It was so beautiful out there. Pretty much anywhere you looked you could snap a picture and it could be someone’s Christmas card. You could not pick a better setting for Christmas.
We had other plans for winter sports (snowboarding and snowshoeing) but the lack of snow in the area put a hitch in our schedule. It finally snowed the day before Christmas Eve and I’m thankful we were able to get out and “go for a ski” (as they say up here) before all the Christmas parties and dinners. The temperature has been pretty mild, so we’ve also been able to get out and hike up some of the nearby mountains and play out in the snow. Who needs a treadmill when you have an amazing guide for a husband and miles and miles of unspoiled winter wonderland?
I leave you with this ridiculous video of me trying to ski up a teeny tiny hill. Awkward American is awkward. I’ve been (lovingly) poking fun at my Canadian siblings-in-law all week for being Canadian. My belated Christmas gift to them is this video. Which should provide enough ammunition for mocking me to last at least until next Christmas.
Have you ever been cross country skiing?
I know I’m a day late with WIAW, but that’s because I have a fun surprise!
Greetings from North of the border! Yup, we’re in Canada for Christmas. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
It’s been so hard to keep our trip under wraps, but we had good reason—we were surprising Babyface’s family! We’ve been saying for months that we can’t afford it, couldn’t get time off and there was no way we were coming up for Christmas. LIES. My amazing sister-in-law Kim was the only one in on the surprise (we had to have someone pick us up from the airport), but everyone else was totally dumbfounded when we showed up in cold, cold Ontario last night. We haven’t seen anyone from Craig’s family since last Christmas, so everyone was really stoked we made the trek up.
Yesterday was an amazingly long travel day thanks to weather delays. We left our apartment at 8am and didn’t get into my brother- and sister-in-law’s house until almost midnight. I thought you guys might be interested to see how we eat for long travel days like this. Between connections, security restrictions and customs declarations (international travel, eh?), it’s a delicate dance. Because I’m
cheap fiscally responsible and a control freak aware of the lack of choices when it comes to airport food, we almost always pack our own meals. Because yesterday was such a long travel day, we had a lot of food to pack. So, here are my eats for yesterday…
Started off with breakfast at home. Oatmeal made with milk, water, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon and vanilla. And topped with some honey, more banana, chocolate hazelnut butter and a squeeze of honey. A clementine and some milk on the side.
On the drive to the airport (we flew out of Chicago, so the drive was over four hours) I downed another banana. I frontloaded the fruits and veggies since I knew we couldn’t take any across the border. Also enjoyed a nonfat caramel brulee lattee from the ‘Bucks. Highly recommended.
Once we got past security and to our gate at Midway, we dug into our packed lunch. Greek pasta salad is a great airport food. Full of good for you stuff, satisfying, easy to get past security. Highly recommend! We usually use glass reusable containers, but I bought some disposable plastic ones just for this trip. Also had an apple with chocolate nut butter and some cheddar bunnies. Which offer barely any nutritional value but are one of our traveling “traditions”. We never have them when we aren’t traveling. A fun junk food-y treat.
Then the delays started happening. After a few hours, I dug into some dried papaya spears and some fresh magazines from the newsstand.
Even with all the weather delays, the airline we flew was awesome. I highly recommend Porter Airlines if you are flying anywhere in Eastern Canada or Northeastern U.S. The people are nice, the fares are cheap and they give you free beer, wine and delicious snacks in flight. Had a beer and some veggie chips courtesy of Porter once we were in the air.
Since we were running late coming from Chicago, we were afraid we were going to miss our connection in Toronto, but “luckily” all the planes coming out of Toronto were running late. We ended up finding two comfy chairs in the Porter lounge for a few hours (swanky, right?) where they give you free newspapers, lattes, water, soft drinks, and snacks. Again, highly recommend Porter. We popped a squat and ate some of our own snacks, but loaded up on their free water.
Once we got off the ground, we dug into our dinners. Bagels with hummus and cheese. Usually I make these kind of sandwiches with tons of fresh veggies, but that can’t come into the country, so plain it was.
And then we came to my brother-in-law’s house and surprised Craig’s two brothers (which was awesome) and then made it to his parents’ this morning. We have lots of fun stuff planned this week. I’ll be keeping BTHR updating all this week with recaps of my 2011 goals, plus a few posts sprinkled in with our Canuckian antics.
What’s your worst travel story?
P.S. Imagine that! I posted my tips for eating well in the air over at Anytime Health today. Go check it out!