I mentioned before about biases and microaggression often encountered by people of color while traveling. Even though I am an experienced traveler, I recently traveled and had some similar travel experiences, so I wanted to share my thoughts on how to feel more secure in your travel experience.
1.Keep in mind that you paid for the same privilege of travel no matter if you paid more or less than other travelers. Be mindful of others but always remember that your personal space is just that, and do not allow others to infringe upon your right.
2.If you have followed all the rules for the boarding process, know that you can take the time to put your items away and settle yourself in your seat. You should always give thought to the people behind you but remember the plane can’t leave until everyone is seated, so don’t feel obligated to rush because of an impatient traveler.
3.Storage space on an airplane is shared space, so feel free to place your items where there is space. Often travelers get quite flustered as the space above their seat is not available. So keep an eye out for storage space as you are going to your assigned row, and if you see that the space above your row is not vacant, feel free to use the overhead storage area before your seat or after. It is easier to retrieve your luggage when getting off the plane if it is in front of you rather than behind.
4.Try always to acknowledge your seatmates if they are already seated or if they sit after you. If they don’t respond, don’t be insulted, as this allows you to make sure you are being seen, even if not acknowledged. Many times, as travelers of color, there can be a perception that you don’t belong in a space. Claim your right and stand by it.
5. Finally, if you have paid for a specific seat, do not feel obligated to adjust to other traveler’s needs. It is thoughtful to help out if it fits your need but do not feel obliged to give up your seat to accommodate others, especially if your preference is not what has been offered as an alternative to you.
I hope these tips help for a more pleasant travel experience. Have you ever been made to feel as if you don’t belong when traveling? I’d love to hear about it.
For years I have had to battle the question of my travel experiences. When it was professional, it was “how can you leave your kids?” When it was personal it was again about the kids and whether I should put their needs first. Recently the question was “what about Covid?”
There will always be questions no matter your choice. The only right choice is the inner choice you make and life is too short not to put yourself first.
I always choose me! This might seem selfish, but I cannot be a good mother, wife, or friend if I am stressed out and unhappy. I have learned that more now since becoming an empty nester than ever before. My kids are grown, and I honestly believe that they would not have me make any different choices than the ones I made. Of course, they have not always been happy with my choices, but at the end of the day, I have.
You can be replaced easily at work, marriages fail, children grow up, and tomorrow is never promised. Life is too short not to travel, not to take a vacation, not to get a massage, not to put yourself first. Choosing to travel is a gift to yourself that you can open as many times as you desire. My choice is to travel, it’s the gift I give to myself.
Have you ever been judged for your choice to travel? Let me know in the comments. I bet I’m not alone.
Having traveled both professionally and personally, I can certainly attest to the travel envy often directed to me even though unheard and unseen but very present.
As an international flight attendant, my job took me all over the world. It was not uncommon for me to fly to unique destinations such as Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Bermuda, or Madrid within the same month. At the same time, I was still a mother and a wife and had to contend with all that those roles entailed. I quickly learned when trying to establish a relationship in the community, to gloss over my job. Mentioning destinations seem to bring on the envy of travel and I would quickly say “I’m a flight attendant” and change the subject as many seemed to hear my destinations as a brag. I would get responses along the direction of “oh how nice” or “that’s wonderful.”
It was not unheard of to get responses like “what about your kids?” or “how does that work with your husband and kids?” With my explanation that it was just a job like any other, I would inevitably get the response “it must be nice!” To me, that was the code for travel envy. I quickly learned in conversations to say that I was “going to work” or “going on a work trip.” Always conscious to never say a destination.
As an ex-pat in Europe and Asia, there were plenty of opportunities to travel in those areas. Thankfully I had learned from my professional travel experience to not discuss my travel plans in depth when having conversations with family and friends. Here too, the refrain “it must be nice” was also heard.
It was an honor and privilege to be a flight attendant for over twenty years and to fly to so many unique destinations. However, it was also a job and many times after long haul flights, the only part of the city seen was the hotel room. My personal travel was quite different as destinations such as Bali or Bangkok were planned with itineraries and time to complete them all.
I can certainly empathize with the travel envy now that Covid has canceled so many travel plans for me. But I know as long as I travel, there are many others whose dream of travel is unmet. So, I am very careful in discussing my travel plans and limiting or tailoring those discussions to the audience.
Have you ever experienced travel envy? How do you handle it? Does my story strike a chord? I’d love to hear your take.
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.