Blogs and advice about living and travelling around China often talk about the necessities of travel, key questions to ask and the high points and low points of moving around an alien environment… but what about travelling home? Believe it or not, for an unseasoned traveler, going home can create stress.
FREQUENT FLYER EFFECTS
From the experience of travelling home four or five times a year to catch up and keep an eye on family, travel can be stressful, and upon arrival, springing back into the pole position of parent, or business manager means tiredness. Jet lag can be dizzying but is further exhausted when the traveler can’t have their memory of the things to do list jogged by old friends and the familiar situation. It can make for a memorable, energetic and positive event or one encumbered with snag list after exasperating problem.
BENEFITS OF BEING ORGANIZED
Imagine that you will have no memory of your decisions, things to do list, jobs to accomplish, items to sort… as soon as you land, jet lag will kick in, then friends and family arrive, you relax, and before you know where and when you are, weekend has hit you, or the bank holiday or even worse, it is time to get back on the plane. Do not make the mental note…You will need a written list…
PRE TRAVEL TIPS:
Make appointments ahead of travel so that you are not wasting precious time making calls or being stuck in a queue. Note down important phone numbers in case you lose your phone, or there is disruption connecting to your numbers, or you need to pass numbers on at the airport.
If you are planning to hire a car, check how far the car hire centre is from the airport, and the best routes to it. Check your arrival times and departure times, so that you are not driving in the middle of the night, and most importantly, adjusts your sleeping time on the plane so that you do not drive tired.
JET LAG (DELAYED EFFECT)
This is a very dangerous situation. You must allow your body to redeem sleep patterns, and drive cautiously, paying attention to driving only, not chatting with your family. It means that although you are excited to be home.
You have to control your thoughts a great deal! To be practical, if you get a parking ticket, you are unlikely to receive it and pay the penalty before you board again. You don’t want to leave problems behind you.
Organise the travel arrangements from the airport. For example, I was caught out yet again when I arrived to find that the coach station office had closed down. This meant that in my bleary state, I had to go online to book tickets, or make my way back into the airport to use an ATM.
Do not rely on social media to contact friends: Find out which countries block which social media. For example, I was caught out yet again on my one stop trip back from Hong Kong to Manchester. There was a huge delay at Doha… This might seem a simple matter and one we can take in our stride until… when through the transfer desk,
I realized that Facebook is blocked in that region. I had to go back to the transfer desk and then wait in an enormous queue for over an hour to ask to make an international call home. Without a means of charging my phone, my options were running down.
TRAVEL BAGS AND CASES:
Keep papers filed, clipped, labeled and in the same place every time in the travel bag. Make an itinerary of jobs to do day by day.
Bag clothes and items loosely so that if you or anyone else looks through your baggage, it does not fall all over the place, also if you have to dive into your luggage at last minute, you are not juggling your items around.
Consider the financial value of the items which you carry: dried packet food could be the most precious items which you take back, shoes, souvenirs. Consider what would be useful to loved ones or in your own home in years to come. If you duplicate what you already own you may feel a little foolish later on!
We don’t recommend carrying items of financial value on vacations in case the items are lost or damaged. people do take sentimental objects and papers for work when travelling home.
These can be extremely useful for the NEXT contract. It does encourage hoarding, but better to not be caught out at interview where the expectation is that the applicant brings copious amounts of evidence.
So having articles available and ready means that the interview or preparations for that next contract do not impinge on your life too much and go smoothly.
PRACTICAL ADVICE ON LUGGAGE
Invest in a suitcase. I have bought some superb suitcases from charity shops for a one trip and had the wear out of them. This means that I haven’t carried a case for the sake of it on the return trip.
They are also useful for friends abroad. If you do buy a second hand suitcase, always check the zip. Frequent suitcase? Buy a four wheelie case, they are ace!
Regulations For Items, Currency and Cash
Always read the published information about regulations of items which can be carried in luggage. External chargers are often removed at border control in Chinese airports. Batteries, chargers, electronic equipment, even vegetable oil are now under regulations. Check for loose change in that back pocket, or last minute additions.
DUE CARE AND ATTENTION
Always walk slowly and steadily, accidents, trips and more likely when being hasty, hazards at airports and travel then mean the use of travel insurance and can wreck a ‘trip’ pardon the pun.
Prioritize family over friends and loose connections every time. If friends are not prioritizing coming to see you and the expectation is that you travel from city to city, then it indicates that you can make time for them the next time you visit.
Try to delegate jobs out to the friends or family who you are meeting. I learned this the hard way. For example, If you are arriving home in the small hours of the night, and it would be really helpful if the lights and central heating was on on, and a pint of milk and loaf was on the table ask a neighbor politely if they could arrange it.
COMFORT IN CASUALS
Small bag to keep with you on board the plane:
The cheaper cloth bags with lots of zipped pockets are the most useful. You can store a mixture of items separately, small items do not get lost in with the bigger ones. Wear loose clothes. It is not a fashion parade.
Keep a second paper copy of itinerary, and also photograph on phone, (Send photograph to people who you are meeting). Keep charger lead and possibly plug head. You can charge your phone in the airport or on the plane.
Try to avoid letting your phone lose power, you will need it to access the internet when you arrive at your destination pretty quickly.
PERSONAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE
Carry a face mask. Some people who travel cough, do not cover their mouths, sneeze sniff etc. The stewards do not provide these facilities, and are unlikely to remind passengers about their hygiene
Carry paper antiseptic wipes. Use airport toilets and drink water at airports as the water is not tap water which is on stow.
MOBILITY AND COMMUNICATION
Keep phone network coverage in your destination or have access to means of top up.
Store your glasses in your bag, or in a pocket. They are ALWAYS left on board. Zip your passport away EVERY TIME. Keep your keys very safely. They are the first items to be transferred if changing bags.
They should not be kept in a pocket. It causes annoyance at airport border control and can slip out of the pocket all too easily.
FLIGHT PLANS ~ STRESS FREE
If making a one stop travel plan, you will need to know as much as possible about the stop over- currency, amenities, even temperature. Keep small amounts of different currency with you.
In a zip wallet with separate pockets (try to avoid carrying coinage though). Some things are not guaranteed, and a stopover in a cold or excessively hot place can cause you to feel unwell.
Check the exchange rates on the items which you buy at the airport. So I recommend that you take an extra set of very old clothes, to discard if necessary, that can be changed into if the flight is particularly hot or smelly, or wear a second layer if cold.
ONE STOP BENEFITS
One stop flights has a great advantage, allows you to walk around and acclimatise for a few hours. Making a long walk around the airport is really important, allows circulation and makes a big difference on arrival to your destination. I prefer the physical benefits over a non stop flight every time.
DELAYS AND YOUR RIGHTS
If you are caught in a delay, make a note of the time that you are waiting. EU regulations for compensation do not apply to all airlines, or countries, but they can offer meals and a hotel room.
I have learned that this needs to be requested by the passenger. If your boarding card time is refreshed, then photograph all of your boarding cards.
Try to store your boarding cards for a while after the journey for compensation, clarification, receipts, proof of transit in and out of the country (This can be a snarl up if you have to prove to the Tax office that you were in or out of the country on a certain date).
Even minor offences such as TV license investigations can be a hazard if you have little proof of your whereabouts!
WHO SHOULD KNOW?
Always tell people who you trust where you are going on either side of your travel. Ensure that friends, neighbours, employers know the dates you are leaving and arriving.
If there is any emergency, your thoughts will immediately turn to the last person who saw you leave. If you are visiting family, make sure you get a reply to your communication. The younger and in fact older generation can bleep out of contact and the most infuriating moments!
Ensuring that loved ones know that you are travelling to see them is important for practical and emotional reasons; emphasise the impact it is making on your life (and bank balance, this often gets a ‘gasp’ reaction) and make guarantees that it will be reciprocated.
For example; ‘I am arriving on Monday. On Tuesday I want to catch up with you, where is best, this is important because by Friday I have to be in a different city’. And so on.
Family can feel sidelined if they are not aware of the timeline. People who haven’t travelled do not understand the emotional motivations, the down time and the quality of the moments shared together.
In fact, the best description which I was told was that it was as though, I had just left through the front door and appeared about three months later. Of course,
I left exhausted and distracted by the necessities of moving around. If one or two days slip by, the quality of the meet up can be too emotional, become anxious pretty quickly. In fact, you want the reverse, the quiet times, and calmer events of the week are where the best conversations take place.
Although it sounds a little ridiculous, often our loved ones do not want to be deluged with information, presents or necessary papers upon your arrival, they just want a hug and a sit down with a cuppa.
You of course are in a completely different state of mind. Having said this, my lowest points in my trips home to see family were engaged in the following very different events; meaningless trips around the shops.
And in cornered conversations from acquaintances about MY travels and MY lifestyle when surrounded by my own family, who of course want me to keep in touch with THEIR lives.
So, make a plan, find out what entertainment is taking place and head off to the park/beach/walk/cycle/theater/exhibition/coffee. Talking about events in the present moment can be quite exhilarating can be an opportunity to create new memories https://abcofcbdoil.com
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