The Perfection of Preparation

I have an infatuation with traveling.  I love visiting new places…or not so new places.  Catching up with out-of-state friends and family…or going somewhere strange and foreign and making new friends.

For me, traveling began with those yearly family vacations (which included going to different cottages in northern Michigan or making the long car trip down to Florida).  Over time, my enjoyment in traveling has evolved and has turned into, well, an addiction you might say.  I am no longer content to stay in one place for an extended period of time.  From time to time, I get the “itchy feet” syndrome, and I know that it’s time to pack my suitcase and (in most cases) book a flight.

So, my favorite mode of travel is flying.  There’s nothing like feeling the transition of taxiing on the runway and taking off to be swallowed up into the vast blue yonder.  I can hear Nemo’s dad Marlin (from Finding Nemo) calling out to me, “Now go have an adventure!”.  And that’s exactly what I intend to do each time I board an airplane.

I’ve found that the best place to purchase airline tickets is through Travelocity.com.  It’s my all time favorite website (for travel). Travelocity offers the best prices, and the site is relatively easy to navigate.  It’s a rare thing to find me buying a ticket through an airline’s website.  Another tip to finding tickets at lower prices is to purchase your ticket a few weeks in advance…no sooner, no later…a seasoned traveler shared this with me.  One time, I waited a couple of days too late and ended up paying around an extra $100.  If you move slow, you’ll pay.

After the ticket is purchased, the all important task of packing is next.  There is nothing like trying to stuff a stray article of clothing into an already packed suitcase…and then having to weigh it again to make sure it hasn’t gone over the 50 pound limit.  Before I really started traveling, I never realized that packing could build muscle, resourcefulness and creativity.  Just try lifting up that awkwardly shaped 50 pound piece of luggage while stepping onto a scale, meanwhile, trying ever so (un)successfully to look down and see the numbers on the scale.  It’s a workout.   And as far as the resourcefulness and creativity…well, you learn that rolling your clothes in tight “balls” conserves a lot of space, which means more room in the suitcase!

BEWARE!  Don’t try to be like the world-wide traveler and limit your suitcase sizes and such.  This is personal experience speaking.  On one occasion, I was going for the “look-how-little-I-need-to-pack” look.  Dumb.  I came home with an extra box.  Save the time, money and hassle and just use all the suitcase space the airlines allow you.  If you’re positive you’re not coming back with more than you left with, then by all means, pack smaller.  Hey, sometimes you can get away with only a couple of carry ons…and no suitcase, period.  Save that extra 25 or so dollars.  I’ve also tried this method and it works quite well.

Oh and before you leave the house…always, always, always…check your flight schedule.  Check it the week before, the day before, morning or evening of.  I’ve missed a flight because I misread an e-mail sent out by the airline I was flying with.  They were informing me that my flight was leaving an hour or so earlier.  I was busy shopping at Ikea when I was notified of my mistake…or more that the plane had already taken off.  So much for that leisurely shopping trip.  Thankfully, I was able to reschedule the flight for later one in the evening, but I arrived at my destination around midnight instead of in the afternoon.  Fortunately for me, it was an inexpensive lesson.

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One thought on “The Perfection of Preparation

  1. Van Shumake says:

    I was spoiled while in the USMC and “traveling” was a way of life. Although most of it was to get in to harms way, but there was a bit of sightseeing for our own good as well. I have been to Greece, Italy, Spain, Bosnia, Romania, Iraq, Bahrain and Israel to name a few! I loved the time we had to explore on our own, seeing historic places, photography opportunities and so forth.
    Before I went in to the military, i never would imagine traveling but now, I enjoy it and always seek out chances to do such……people should do more of it.

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