5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

As an avid world traveler who has done this both professionally and personally, my carry-on is always semi-packed. Here are my tips and advice on the 5 items I consider must-haves and should always be in my carry on.

1. A lingerie organizer bag (details on another blog post). The one I use has two sides, one for clean underwear and the other for dirty. You never want to get them confused!

2. An electronic organizer bag (blog post coming). With people being so connected it is so inconvenient to lose connectivity and most hotels do not provide enough power outlets for the technology we use in our daily lives.

3. A toothbrush which in my opinion is even more needed than the electronic organizer. Many people pack this in their suitcase but with the chances of your luggage being lost, I like to always have this at hand.

4. A medicine bag with items like Tums, ibuprofen, cold medicine, etc. I tend to also have eye masks, face masks, prescription medications, band-aids, Neosporin, alcohol pads, and such (more on another post).

5. Finally I always have a small makeup bag with the basics like mascara, lip moisturizer, lipstick, makeup remover cloths, toner, and face moisturizer. These are always found at beauty supply stores and pharmacies in travel sizes.

You make have other priorities for your carry-on. If so, what are they? I’d love to find out.

Assumptions, travel bias, and micro-aggression.

Assumptions, travel bias, and micro-aggression.

I spent twenty-three years in the airline industry as a flight attendant. Many of those first years I was often the only person of color on the crew. Therefore, my experiences in being looked at differently have been more than eye-opening.

My career started in the late ’80s and people of color travelers were not as prevalent as they now are. As a flight attendant, I had the privilege of standby travel, which meant I flew somewhat free, but that meant I got any seat not taken by a paying passenger (more on another blog post). Often it was the dreaded middle seat, the least desired seat near the restroom, or even on a flight attendant jumpseat, which is often right next to the restroom. I traveled plenty but not often comfortably.

As I began to travel more for pleasure than work, I often chose to fly in premium cabins. I had often heard the refrain “you get there at the same time so why does it matter?” My choice had a lot to do with the fact that in a premium cabin I could expect the type of service I paid for, or in some cases demand it. I say demand because often while traveling as a person of color, there appear to be assumptions that people of color don’t deserve service, much less premium service.

There were many times when the announcement was made for premium cabin boarding, and I would be almost pushed out of the way or looked over by others who did not expect me to be in a premium cabin. Gate agents would often look at me and reiterate the boarding announcement as if I was hard of hearing. Flight attendants would demand to see my boarding card if I paused in the premium cabin to put my bags away. The many acts of travel bias and microaggression often left me with a less than pleasant travel experience.

Have you had similar experiences? If not a person of color, have you ever noticed it? I’d love to hear about your experiences and your thoughts.

Choosing the right travel partner brings treasured memories.

Choosing the right travel partner brings treasured memories.

As I end this most recent trip without my travel partner of the past thirteen years, I reflect on my feelings about this travel experience. One of the most important aspects of having a wonderful travel experience is the consideration of your travel partners.

There are many different types of travelers. This includes budget travelers who want to make the most from their trip with the least expense. Another type is carefree travelers who often give no care or consideration to the footprint they leave behind, whether it be a trashed hotel room or negative impressions.

Needless to say, I fit none of those categories. After years of professional and personal travel, I try to leave behind a very minute footprint and I have no problem budgeting and paying for the type of accommodations and experiences I expect. That being said a hotel room with no bathrobe or slippers is subpar for me as my feet touching the floor gives an instant gag reflex (more on another blog post).

When considering travel companions, choose wisely! An incompatible travel partner can leave less than treasured memories. Those minute frustrations that arise can play havoc with the inner travel experience you will have. Often you will hold back on voicing your opinions to not create friction while traveling. Subconsciously, however, this takes away from the enjoyment of the travel experience. I would suggest you think long and hard about choosing the right travel partner.

Have you ever planned a wonderful trip then regretted it before it ended? Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Unexpected travel experiences!

Unexpected travel experiences!

Every once in a while, travel brings some unexpected challenges. Recently my family had an unexpected travel experience. The current COVID policy with taxi services is that no passenger sits next to the driver. Therefore with 3 or more passengers an Uber XL or similar is needed. Unfortunately, this comes with third-row seating and unless you are familiar with the car you get, it is up to the driver to let the third-row passenger out of the car.

My brother, wife, and two nieces recently traveled to New York and took an Uber XL from the airport. As they arrived at the hotel, my brother, wife and one niece got out of the Uber waiting on the driver to let my other niece out of the third-row seat. As this was happening a random man jumped in the car and proceeded to carjack the Uber with my niece still inside. My quick-thinking other niece jumps back into the Uber and now both have been carjacked.

Everyone calls 911 and my brother tracking the Uber drive, jumps into a cop car with the Uber driver and the chase begins. However, the carjacker realizes he is being tracked and dumps the Uber driver’s phone. Meanwhile, my nieces are in the Uber screaming to get out, and as standard in NYC, no one pays attention. They demand to be released and the driver complies but somehow they decided they would not get out unless they had their luggage. The carjacking resumes and my nieces must have been screaming so much that the carjacker one again and stops and puts them out with their luggage. My nieces are then picked up by a pursuing cop who takes them to the precinct while the chase continues for the carjacker.

I don’t know how that chase ended but it was an unexpected trip and experience for my nieces and my family. I’ve never had anything remotely similar happen in my travel experiences. It was a reminder that in all travel we need to be vigilant and self-aware.

Have you had any unexpected travel experiences? I’d love to hear about it.

Thankful for the memories

Thankful for the memories

2020 has definitely been a year of great emotions with many highs and lows. My last blog post discussed the angst of Covid travel during Thanksgiving. This post I’d like to dedicate to the joy of going back home.

My life has significantly changed since I left home so many years ago to make my mark on the world. I have traveled extensively both for work and for pleasure. Pulling up to my mom’s home reminded me not only of how much I have made inner travel, as much as I have made the physical travels.

My mom has lived in the same apartment for over forty years. In comparison, I live in a five- bedroom home with plenty of hosting spaces, inside and out, as well as an apartment in Singapore that I also call home.

Despite those differences, this thanksgiving was one of the happiest and memorable ever. Chairs had to be brought in for seating, the floor became a seating space, and laps became temporary dining spaces. However, the laughter flowed and happiness permeated the room.

In our travels, it’s not always the destination, but how we get to the destination that matters. I invite you to take an inner journey and reflect on the travel you have made to reach the destination you’re currently at. I encourage you to be thankful for the memories. It could have been better or it could have been worse, but give thanks for the journey you’ve traveled keep looking forward to the ones ahead. We are not all as blessed.

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