Advice for travellers

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lately I have been doing a bit of travelling. I have been on about six planes in the last fortnight, visiting Sydney and Mackay and Cairns, and speaking in schools. And I hung out in Brisbane for a bit, but that's pretty close to home. I have also been on my own, which is a new thing - previously I got to take my mum along to all of my writerly events. Now I am a grown-up, I get to fly solo. For being such an anti-social person, you'd think I'd enjoy this more. But no! I like travelling with other people. When I'm on my own, I forget to bring important things! Like decent shoes. And also I just want to nap all the time. I need someone else to make me go out and see the sights! Now I am a Seasoned Professional (not really), here is some quite useless advice for you, should you find yourself being a brave lone traveller:

  1. Pack a decent pair of walking shoes, always. I never do. I am a fool.
  2. Pack a year's supply of band-aids, always. You will need band-aids, I guarantee it. Probably because you forgot to pack the walking shoes.
  3. Pack something good to read, always, lest you end up stuck choosing between the Bible (as placed by the Gideons) or the phone book for your evening reading. I tend to pick the Bible. Review forthcoming! But not really. (Spoiler! Jesus dies. But it's okay. He comes back.)
  4. Do not have Up & Go for all of your meals. The goodness of two Weet Bix and milk in a carton cannot sustain human life forever (or can it? Not a challenge). But, if you must, chocolate is the best flavour. I bought a pack of banana Up & Go last trip away, feeling nostalgic about banana-flavoured Big M milk, and it does not measure up.
  5. Do not sit in the full sun in the park on the Esplanade in Cairns all afternoon. It does not matter that it is winter. It's Cairns. You will get sunburnt. You will be pink-faced and red-shouldered when you are talking to a few dozen school kids the next day.
  6. Do not trust public transport to get you to the airport on time. Especially not the public transport in South-East Queensland.
  7. Pack a cardigan. Just do it. I don't even care if you don't wear cardigans. Start now! Cardigans are a most versatile and necessary garment.
  8. I am always reading advice for people travelling on their own, and there is stuff like 'walk purposefully, even if you are just being an aimless tourist'. I walk with purpose and it just makes people ask me for directions. I get asked for directions a lot (I guess I look approachable), but I am bad with directions at home, let alone in another state. So, walk with purpose? I think? I am bad at advice.
  9. Never buy anything in those little 'last minute' shops at the airport. They are ridiculously overpriced. Better yet, shout "This is daylight robbery!" while inspecting the price sticker on a bottle of water.
  10. Try to avoid sleepwalking off the balcony of your hotel room. Or just get a room on the ground floor. (Maybe you don't sleepwalk and don't have to worry about these things. I do worry! I worry a lot!)
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