I’m an avid traveler. I enjoy trips of all different kinds. I’m also a big routine follower even when I’m on the road. But recently, I’ve completely changed up my travel style and I kind of liked it.
For the most part, if I am traveling somewhere for a short period of time (4 days or less), I try my hardest to abide by a general set of rules; I carry-on my luggage, check-in ahead of time, get a ride to the airport, pack light and don’t get to the airport all that early.
On my last three trips however, I have broken all of these rules and it hasn’t affected my mobility, or my experience like I would have thought.
For instance, I am a die-hard carry-on luggage traveler when I’m only gone over a weekend. However, over thanksgiving I accidentally booked my ticket with a checked bag instead of a carry-on. Initially I was really annoyed with myself for making such a rookie mistake, but after completing my journey, I was actually really glad to have checked my bag. I know many travelers who would say I’m insane because they have had their luggage lost one too many times, but I thought it was nice not to have to manage a roller bag and a carry-on by myself. It made using the restroom, getting food and just hanging out in the airport easier. I was responsible for less and I didn’t hate it. It can be very annoying to have to take your rolling suitcase everywhere and not have both hands free.
As a rule when I travel, I am watching the clock so I can check-in for my flight right away. But because I have checked bags recently, I didn’t find a need to check-in early, and you know what? It was completely fine…Well, except for that one Southwest flight. But hey, who doesn’t love a middle seat?!
Packing is something I generally pride myself on. In my opinion, I have perfected packing for many different types of travel, in my own minimalist way. On my last three trips, I have completely thrown my general set of rules out the window. And I have to say I liked having a few more clothing options and a few more of my usual home amenities with me. I’ve thrown caution to the wind and just packed what I wanted and it was kind of awesome. It also made me feel more at home, allowing me to relax and enjoy my time more.
The other thing I have done the last few times I’ve traveled is opt to park in long-term, off-site parking, rather than take a cab or ask for a ride. I am very fortunate to live in a city where the airport is SO EASY it’s silly and parking off-site really only adds maybe 10/15 minutes to your travel time. Plus, it makes things like delays easier because you don’t have to worry about inconveniencing the person who has committed to picking you up.
This brings me to my general distaste for getting to the airport a full two hours before a flight. It’s not my thing, and to me sitting around is a waste of time. Yet on my last two trips I have been at least 2 hours early for my flights and it has been kind of nice. There’s time to sit down and eat, or get your snacks and just relax. It completely takes the stress out of the situation. Hmmm maybe that’s why they recommend it…
In the end, sometimes it’s nice to travel in a different way than normal. It brings some of the excitement back and is a fun change of pace. I’m sure I would feel differently about all of this if my home airport weren’t so easy and if I hadn’t had such good luggage experiences. But it does remind me that change is good and doing things the exact same way each time may not always bring you the best results.