Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Travel. Freakout.

I'm a pretty laid-back traveler. I traveled somewhat as a kid - my dad would take me on plenty of your stock winter trips (Cancun, Florida, even Jamaica). He was obsessed with history, so I also did trips to all the civil war battlefields, Gettysburg, and lots of national parks (like the Grand Canyon). My mom, who is a bit leery of travel, even took me to Washington, DC and New York city more than a few times.

On my own, I spent a term abroad in college where I attended school in Wales, but also saved up a lot of money the year previous and went to Dublin, Paris, London, Bath and other locations in England in the 3 months I was there. Aaron and I have gone to China (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Xian), France, Greece, Italy. Plus I've gone on more than a few in country trips alone since the kids have been born (twice with Maggie and once without any kids for my Dad's funeral). I used to travel once a month for work. I know that you pack your bags, get your stuff together, and enjoy. I never 'push it' on time lines - I get to my flights with time to spare, and I just go with the flow.

But yesterday, I started freaking out. I was getting all my information together for Aaron. I want him to know where I am when - and this is awful - because of the chance of something happening. There have been bombings in India, and I'm also going on 2 different flights along with a train ride, so I don't want him to freak out if he hears of something bad happening. But as I listed it all out, I realized that India is 9.5 hours ahead of Boston, so the conversion to what 'my time' versus 'his time' would be hard. So I started to make a spreadsheet (seriously, with colors). That wasn't right either, so I came up with a less complex spreadsheet that tells him where I am for the morning/afternoon of each day (his time) and how to contact me - and I made sure to put the WHOLE number (so 011 91 xxx xxxxxxx) so all he needs to do is pick up the phone and dial.

What the heck!? This took me like 2 hours! And I pretty much guarantee you that Aaron will not look at it once.

Sigh. Don't even get me started on the current debate as to what bags I should bring. Aaron doesn't think I should bring my 'big bag' as it'll be hard to handle (which I don't agree with - it's got wheels and a handle) and what if I want to bring something home? Since I don't have to pay for a checked bag... I'm thinking it doesn't matter, but then, what if they lose it? Maybe I should just bring everything with me in a carry on? But then, what about the in country flight I'll be taking? Augh.


Rachel said...

I am so jealous of your trip! I would definitely bring the big bag. You may not realize it yet but you are going to one of the best shopping places in the world. I had so much fun buying fabric and clothes for the kids (favorites are Fabindia and Anokhi for the kids - both somewhat more labor-friendly than the cheaper chains, both have adorable boys outfits and dresses for little girls. Any cab driver should be able to find you one in Delhi). One little tip that you might not think of in advance is to bring a stack of one dollar bills for tipping. It is endlessly infuriating to land in a foreign country and have people ask for tips in the airport and hotel and you either have no money or no small change in the local currency and land up over-tipping. I'm sure it was worse because I had a baby and lots of stuff with me, but when I landed in Delhi I was swarmed by airline people and private porters trying to help carry my stuff and solicit tips (and that was long before I left the secure part of the airport). That said, it's nice to have people offer to help when you step off a long flight into the heat. I don't mean to scare you, people were very friendly and polite but some of them clearly expect to be tipped and will be thrilled with American dollars.

ps - I'm a long-time reader and very occasional commenter but I spent a month traveling in India last year and would be happy to tell you my impressions. The e-mail is longdistanceinfertility at gmail.

BrandiH said...

I agree, take the big bag! I always put a toothbrush, and undies in my purse or carry on just in case they lose my bag.

Carrie27 said...

Bring two bags. One with an outfit on the plane and bring the big one, I'm sure every one does.

Wow, I'm amazed at all the traveling you have done, amazed.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Yes, both bags. It's great to be able to shop. I really wish I had bought so much more when we were traveling to and from Indonesia.

Sara said...

From a recent Mali/Paris traveler: Carry on plus a big checked bag. You won't regret it!!

emily said...

Having flown to the ME and have NO bags arrive with us, I'd say pack a carry on with a day or two's worth of clothing, toothbrush, etc! I went all batty trying to split things between bags in case ONE didn't arrive, never accounted for none arriving w/ us. Haha! They got me.
Hope you have a wonderful time! I am a teeny bit jealous of your time away, but also understand how you are worried. Guess that's the life of a mom. You want to get away, then you get away, then you worry while you are away, then you are glad to be home. Nuts!

kate said...

just speaking to the big bag-- can you lift it over your head when it's stuffed? when i was abroad on trains over there the luggage had to go overhead & i could NOT life my suitcase & it sucked. i would have been happier with several smaller bags, but i think it's a personal preference. whatever you decide, leave room for shopping & have fun!!! :)

Heather said...

I'm sure I would need a whole suitcase for all the fabric I would want to buy. And I always have a mini panic attack before trips away from my family as my mind races through all the what ifs. Somehow my panic eases once I've been out of the house for an hour or so. (of course my trips have been a weekend at the lake with girlfriends - nothing like India. holy crap I'm excited for you!)