Lara O'Connor

A week from today, I’ll be headed back to California for my last semester of college.

Deep breaths.  I keep having to remind myself to do that.

Okay, and we’re back.  What’s helping me assuage my anxieties about graduating and entering ‘the real world’ (whatever that means) are my rituals.  I’m not really one for morning rituals or night rituals: I wake up only after snoozing my alarm multiple times and generally fall asleep with a book splayed across my chest or Netflix playing in the background.  However, I’ve been flying back and forth across the country on a regular basis for years now, and I find that the process goes much more smoothly if I follow my travel rituals, and ensure that everything is in place beforehand.  Here are mystrategies for avoiding stress and optimizing your travel time!


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What to Bring

1) Your I.D. (or passport if you’re flying internationally)

The only time I’ve come close to missing a flight was when my best friend (and flying buddy) forgot his I.D. before a flight to Los Angeles.  Don’t be that person.

2) Headphones

No matter how long your flight is, don’t get caught without a way to listen to music or watch movies.  Earbuds are easy to slip in your wallet or bag, but noise-cancelling headphones are the way to go if you want to zen-out.

3) Phone charger

Last time I flew back to New York, there was an outlet under my seat and I landed at JFK with a fully-charged phone.  There’s nothing worse than not being able to call an Uber when you land because your phone died somewhere over the Rockies!

4) Lip balm

Stale cabin air dries out my lips and makes them crack almost immediately.   Make sure you have something moisturizing and soothing (I use Smith’s Rosebud Salve) to keep your pout soft and pretty!


What to Wear

1) A backpack

Hands-free is the move, especially if you have carry-on luggage.  It’s also helpful to keep your stuff organized with lots of pockets and space!

2) A big scarf

I love scarves and wear them year-round because they’re the perfect addition to any outfit.  Having one on your trip makes it great to snuggle up with if you need some shut-eye — I once (foolishly!) wore shorts on a plane and ended up using the scarf I’d stuffed in my carry-on as a blanket.

3) Ankle boots

Sneakers may be comfortable, but ankle boots tie your look together better and are easier to slip-on and off at security.

4) Sunglasses

You’re probably sleep-deprived, and hopefully your destination is sunny.  They work as a makeshift sleeping mask too!


What to Do

1) Catch up on TV

My personal favorite way to pass time.  Make sure you have your movie or show on your computer or iPad beforehand to be prepared, but Netflix lets you download content off of their website now, allowing you to binge without wifi!

2) Make a to-do list

I always feel inclined to get my life together mid-flight.  Bring a notebook and some pens and highlighters in case you get the urge to Marie Kondo your brain.

3) Get cultured

Read the newspaper, or a cool magazine.  Bring Post-It flags to mark off things you want to research more or things you want to put on your mood board.

4) Sleep

Melatonin or sleepytime tea and some soothing music helps me relax enough to snooze for awhile.  This is particularly useful if you’re flying west, so you land adjusted to the right time zone!


If you’re one of those people who can wake up the morning before a trip somewhere far away and not manage to forget anything, all the more power to you (and also, I envy you).  If you’re like the rest of us however, you’ll probably sleep better knowing that you’re all set well in advance.  Happy travels!


Comments (1)

  1. Meagan Hooper

Love all of these tips and your writing!

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