Five Tips for the Hot Mess Traveler

Some people seem to have it all together when they travel from their dress to their luggage; they even just look relaxed.  This is not me.  As much as I try, and as much pre-trip preparation I put in, I’m still a hot mess at the airport.  Also, the fact that my baby blanket is always protruding from my bag is pretty much the icing on the disheveled cake.  Here are some ghetto hot mess traveler tips I’ve picked up during my last journey around the world.

1.  Floss

Not your teeth (although you should be doing that anyway) but your bags.  If you don’t have cable ties or shell out to have your bag professionally plastic wrapped like you’re at a deli, just grab your floss.  I’m not joking.  I bought cable ties weeks before my trip and still forget them (thank you ADD) but I just wound floss about three times around each zipper connection and would you believe it held all the way from Singapore to Chile.  Now, it gets tricky and you will need to sit down and concentrate, not to mention your hands will smell minty fresh, but I’m just saying it works.


yes, this really happened

2.  Ghetto Showers

Basically, if you’re in it for the long haul and have back to back international flights, just use the restroom at the airport, pull out your toiletries bag, and go at it (this is assuming you aren’t fancy and flying first class on the airlines that provide showers).  In Dubai I washed my face, took out my contacts (don’t wear contacts on long flights- it’s awful) moisturized, applied deodorant, the whole nine yards.  If you are too dignified for that, then you should probably stop reading here.

3.  Free Samples

Chances are, if you’re flying internationally you are going to be thrust into the duty free store, tempted to buy some Johnny Walker Black by the case along with 12 bottles of luxury name perfume.  Take advantage!  Stalk around a bit, and “sample” the perfumes.  You can wear that perfume you’ve always been to much of a cheapskate to buy for yourself and reinvent your entire identity.  Okay I may have taken that a little too far.  Either way, now you’ve had a shower AND you smell good.  I even saw one woman using the makeup samples at a stall to get her groove back after a treacherous 15 hour flight.  I’ll admit though, that’s where I drew the line.

4.  Wear every article of clothing you own

Now listen, everyone overpacks a little now and then.  Sometimes it’s just unavoidable.  For instance, My bags were stuffed to the max with things I brought to the boat that after a year have simply collected dust (well, not literally because we keep that thing spotless) and have gotten zero use.  Thus my bags ended up filled to the brim with clothes and shoes to be stored at home.  Of course upon checking in at the Singapore airport I was “informed” (like I didn’t already know) that my bag was overweight.  *This is actually as instance where it is beneficial to be as disheveled as possible, as they may take pity on your pathetic-ness.*  At $20 per kilo over the limit, I grabbed my jacket, switched from my lightweight TOM’s to my heavier wedges (which looked absolutely ridiculous at the airport- i’ll never understand people flying in heels) put on an ungodly amount of scarves, and basically showed the airline representative that I had not one shred of dignity or shame.  But it worked.  By the time we had to go through the whole ordeal again regarding my carry on bag, she was over my shenanigans and just let me go.  THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT, PEOPLE.


It is improbable that I could've stuffed this bag any further. And yes, that is my baby blanket.

It is improbable that I could’ve stuffed this bag any further. And yes, that is my baby blanket.

5.  Just Relax

Don’t stress.  So you’re sweating underneath layers of seasonally inappropriate clothes that make you look like a hobo, turning heads as you strut your stuff down the moving sidewalk,  all the while hauling your bag with the massive tear in the side, is that so bad?  (Yeah, I forgot to mention the bag- that happened too).  And sure, it’d be nice to be one of those people who makes it look so effortless and easy, but what fun is that?  In the end, it’s just a few (or 48) measly hours out of your life and once you get to your destination, you can make yourself as presentable as you like.  Traveling already causes stress for too many people, so don’t make it completely unbearable by caring so much about the details.  Once you get to your destination, it will all be in the past and hopefully you’ll be having too much fun to remember (until your next flight, that is).  And maybe, one day you’ll manage to look at least half way put together.


Do these look like the bags of someone who has it together?


7 responses to “Five Tips for the Hot Mess Traveler

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