1) First, purchase luggage that has a lifetime warranty. It might be pricey initially, but being able to fix luggage pieces that get badly beaten during travel will prove highly effective in the long run. Another sound investment would be purchasing locks for every luggage you travel with.
2) Adopt a “zen” attitude during travel. You have to go with the flow no matter what happens, because everything WILL happen.
3) Bring projects to complete during plane rides. For example, this article is being written while flying from San Francisco to St. Louis. Makes the time go faster and yes, it’s a form of multi-tasking. Be sure to have an extra phone battery charged and ready to go. National USA airlines don’t usually have ports to be able to charge up equipment like the (awesome) Asian airlines do.
4) Invest in noise cancellation earphones. Yes, they’re not cheap, but they are totally worth it. the last thing you want is to be in a crowded plane with babies screaming all around you or being forced to listen to an annoying loud conversation next to you.
5) Try to pack as light as possible. You can always wash clothes in the sink overnight. I have lost my patience traveling with too much gear. It’s very liberating to travel slim. Keep in mind that you can always purchase whatever you might find missing.
6) When changing time zones, like going from USA to Asia, use caffeine and Advil-pm’s to help adjust to the time zone quicker. There’s nothing more frustrating than jet-lag. It’s ok to use caffeine to stay awake when your body time clock is still at home where everyone is sleeping. And vice versa, when you need to get some sleep and it’s the middle of the day back at home, take an Advil-pm to ensure a restful sleep.
7) Booking multi-destination flights is usually cheaper than booking a simple round trip. Add a city and perform an extra concert AND the flight will be cheaper. It’s a win win situation no matter how you look at it.
8) Pack everything in ziplock bags. This is the best way to keep like-items together and organized in your suitcase. Only pack clothes that are wrinkle and iron free. Develop a system for where each item has a special place in my suitcase this way you can ensure “easy” access. This makes packing and unpacking easier, too. Always pack 2 to 3 days prior to leaving just to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. Keep a general list of Things To Take On Tour in you computer and read every time while packing to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
9) Airplane food and airport food are the worst as there are no healthy vegan restaurants and rarely anything vegetarian, so pack plenty of healthy bars. After going through TSA, stock up on plenty of water in order to stay well hydrated. Get to the airport with plenty of time, two hours minimum. Research ahead of time if any countries you will be touring in require a VISA.
10) Always have the name of the hotel you are staying or take a hotel business card from the front desk. If you are jet lagged in a foreign city, you want to be able to have something to show the taxi driver in his language. Most taxi drivers in foreign countries do not speak English.
Beware of packing heavy hand luggage. Some airlines will demand to weigh your carry-on bag and if it exceeds the allotted weight amount, they will force you to check your luggage (Lufthansa, LAN Chile, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Malaysia). I often carry my most fragile equipment with me and these airlines have given me a lot of grief over my “over weight” carry-on luggage. It makes no sense to me as the luggage fits under the seat and I don’t understand what difference the piece makes whether it’s loaded with baggage or in the cabin, the weight is the same. But alas.
Children’s scissors are considered a deadly weapon in the airport in Thailand. They’ve taken these from me on two separate occasions. The airport in Sydney confiscated my precious gold hairpin given to me by my best friend on my birthday.
I love to add a mission to every trip. This how I started my flute collection. Everywhere I would find myself, I made a point of finding The Flute of The Area I was in. I have over 100 flutes now in my collection. Going on these personal treasure hunts were fun and made each trip that much more special. Currently, my mission is providing a Community Service element to my foreign tours. I have been offering performances at orphanages which most recently included Bali and Philippines. I get great satisfaction out of seeing the beautiful smiles on these children.
Viviana in Santiago de Compostela, Spain:
Viviana in Egypt:
Viviana in Antarctica:
Viviana at the Acropolis:
Feel free to add more travel tips of yours in the comments below!
(Re-published with permission from The Flute View Magazine, 2/2014)