Traveling During the Holidays?

Traveling during the holiday seasons can be hectic, especially if practically everyone else thinks it’s a great idea to go on a vacation or visit home (if you live or work far away). Airports and terminals are busy, and sometimes things get screwed up. Here’s a not from a friend of mine, Sacha, who’s taking a vacation from grad school and coming home this Christmas.

It’s always hard travelling, especially on flights going home. Looking around at the airport lobby and guessing who’s scraped and saved to earn enough for a ticket home, who hasn’t been home in a year or two–or a decade or two. Hearing them speak, argue, plead. Watching the airline agents, seeing exasperation flash across their faces until they school their expressions into at least curtness.

I’m thankful I won’t have to contend with the stress of going through terminals, catching flights, and hours upon hours of sitting on an airplane seat. But if you’re going off traveling, here are a few things to add to your geek checklist (if you haven’t already done so).

  • Charge your batteries: laptop, mobile phone, PDA, Digital camera iPod (or other digital media player).
  • Be sure to pack your chargers and power cables after.
  • Bring extra battery packs or AA cells. You may not be able to use your phone or laptop on the plane, but you might find these useful in keeping boredom at bay during long waits (the AA batteries are for your digital camera, if these are supported).
  • Be sure to pack your sync cables.
  • Pack your OS and software installers–you never know when Windows can screw up and you need a re-install.
  • If you have any bootlegged software or media (on CDs or DVDs, for instance), better leave them–they’ll probably be confiscated. Or worse, you might just end up doing jail time if you get caught!
  • If you plan to use your mobile phone for roaming, call your operator at least a week ahead so you’ll know the requirements, and you can be sure the service is activated by the time you’re en route. For instance, not all countries support the same cellular standards or frequencies, so you might need to rent a phone for this purpose (some operators lend loaners). Your operator might also give special instructions for use once you get to your destination.
  • If you’re leaving your house, apartment or room unattended, be sure to turn off all the lights and unplug all appliances before leaving.

I’m sure many of these apply to commonsense. However, things are easily forgotten when you’re in a rush.

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