Sanity Survival Guide for Traveling
Many belly dancers travel around the country, or even around the world to belly dance, play and learn. But with today’s travel guidelines, travelling can be quite the headache. HipMix.net has compiled a list of tips to help make a belly dancer's travels a bit more relaxing.
- Pack lightly - A key to packing lightly is running through your daily routine and marking off items that you use daily. Bring one of everything, not two. When packing clothing, pack outfits, and repeat items. Always pack layers to account for varying weather conditions.
Carry on valuables - Inevitably, items may get lost while traveling. Save yourself the heartache by bringing your valuables along in your purse. Also, you may want to bring a spare change of clothing in case your luggage is lost to avoid spending your vacation in 3-day-old clothes.
Wrap costumes in tissue paper - When you crumple your clothing together, your items can come out on the other side of travel looking as if they were found under your bed. Using tissue paper liberally around your expensive costumes can prevent wrinkles and snags in the fabric. If you are able to carry your costume with you rather than in checked luggage, all the better!
Prepare to stay warm, and cold - Dress in layers while traveling to account for being stuck on a tarmac with no AC, or how the cabin temperature drops 10 degrees once you're in the air.
- Wear easy-to-remove shoes with socks - Even if they don't match your outfit perfectly, you want to be able to both get your shoes off easily to get through security, and avoid walking barefoot on the airport tiles. Plus, the socks may come in handy on a long flight when your feet get cold.
- Know the airport rules - Is your laptop in a bag? Do you have higher than 800 ISO film? Are you traveling with your entire bathroom sink? Will you have to go through one of the new scanners? Always check your airport website before leaving to confirm you've obeyed all the rules, and won't experience any unexpected delays.
- Know your rights - If you are not interested in trying out the new scanners, you have the right to opt out and have a TSA pat down. These can be invasive as well, but you can ask for a private screening room and a family member present.
- Have required documents ready - It's a good idea to have $5, your driver's license, and relevant flight information handy before you get out of your vehicle. All of these things will be needed before you ever reach security, and will help you move swiftly through lines. The $5 is for checking your bags at the curb: some airports charge, or you can use it as a tip.
Peace of Mind
- Keep the earbuds off while waiting in the terminal - You never know what announcements may be made, especially if you're flying standby, or you're experiencing bad weather. Though you may want to listen to the song you're performing to and go over dance moves in your head, wait until you're on the plane to check out of reality.
- Avoid sharing specific information about your exact plans - It's tempting to discuss where you're going and what you're doing when waiting in long lines to get onto the tarmac. But unless you're recruiting audience members for your stage show, keep the information away from specific times, locations, or hotel arrangements.
- Pay attention to your belongings - Where are they when you are sitting down? Waiting to get a coffee? Which overhead compartment did they go into? If you're carrying on valuables, you'll be more aware of where your bags are versus when you've only got a sweater, but paying attention to your belongings is airport security rule #1.
- Relax once you are on the plane - Now that you've gone through all the trouble of getting on the plane, now is the time to wash your face, arrange your belongings so you can easily get to that magazine you want to read. Slip on some comfy socks, wrap a blanket around you, and close your eyes.
- Bring a pillow case - There are a lot of foreign germs when you travel. Bringing your own pillow case avoids the bulk of a full pillow, but lets your bring in some familiar germs while sleeping in strange hotels.
- Drink plenty of water - If you can't bring an empty water bottle into the airport, buy one as soon as you get to the other side. Drink plenty, and refill with fountain water if you’re worried about the cash. This will help you avoid headaches and jet lag.
- Remember to eat right - It's hard to avoid those fancy pretzels, high-fat lattes, and carb-loaded bagels while traveling. You won't be able to resist every temptation, so try instead to limit the bad eating by taking half the bread off a sandwich or opting for skim milk in your coffee.
- Keep energy bars on hand - There are some horror stories out there about people being stuck on flights, tarmacs, and airports for hours beyond their original plans. Keeping a few energy bars on your person can help if your blood sugar drops. Don't be one of those cranky people complaining about the wait - nibble on your favorite energy bar and enjoy feeling superior because of how well prepared you are.
How do you travel happy, healthy, safe and prepared? Share your tips below, and don't forget to follow HipMix.net on foursquare for more tips on how to enjoy your travels.