Tips from a traveler


Story by Langley Leverett, feature editor

My eyes creak open at 3:30 a.m. and a groan escapes my lips. An hour of sleep has proven to be completely insufficient, but I force my limbs to move and start heading towards the car so that we may make it to the airport on time to catch our flight home. After two weeks in a foreign country, excitement wins over morning fatigue; I’m finally heading home to my family. Or so I think.

Recently I journeyed to Nova Scotia, Canada, and it was my first time traveling internationally. It was by far the most chaotic occurrence I have ever experienced in my 16 years of living.

This is the story of ultimate sleep deprivation and perseverance. Hopefully with this upcoming advice, you will think twice about connecting flights and carry-on luggage. In fact, just take a train. Or a boat. Anything but a plane.

  1. Always carry a blanket; you never know when you will be cuddling the frigid tile floor of an airport for the night. I learned this myself after spending the night in the Toronto airport, without the luxury of a pillow or a blanket. Trust me, you don’t realize how important the little things are until you’re forced to go without them.
  1. After running from one end of an airport to the other shouldering a 50 pound bag with an extra backpack, it inevitably grew strenuous. I didn’t think traveling without wheels on my luggage would emerge as such a laboring hassle. So please, for the sake of your back, buy a suitcase with wheels.
  1. If you think the airport bathroom is sanitary enough to brush your teeth and wash your face, think again. Thousands of people filter through those rooms everyday, all day; they could care less of the condition they leave the restroom in. Just do yourself a favor and chew gum.
  1. Keep cash on you at all times. Don’t expect every ATM machine to work because most likely, they won’t. It’s better to just play it safe; besides, you never know when your next meal might be.
  1. Connecting flights are the death of me, and there is a strong possibility that they might be for you too. Just go ahead and admit defeat and book another flight. It’s either that or wait two more days for the next flight. Even then, you’re not guaranteed that any spots will be left open, especially if you’re with a large group.
  1. Don’t expect any compassion or pity from the employees of the airport. They could care less if you’re stranded without family, hotel room, rental car and flight. In fact, don’t be surprised if they just look at you like you’re an irrelevant pest who won’t buzz away.

These are just some of my personal lessons learned.  Hopefully when you travel over winter break and summer, you heed my warning and just buy a train ticket.