Monday, August 26, 2013

Unsolicited Advice: Travel Edition

Wowzers! I just drove in from Birmingham, and boy are my arms tired! Wakka Wakka!!

Wait...that doesn't really work...(my apologies)

Really, though, I'm exhausted. This past weekend, Thomas and I went up to Birmingham, AL, to see C.U.P.I.D. screen at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. Just the weekend prior, we were over in Pensacola as guests at the Pensacola Paracon. In between, we've both been working, so we've basically had two full weeks with no break, and are working on a third. We've hit the wall, but aren't complaining in the slightest. We were honored to be invited to both events, so it's completely worth it to be this tired.

And we are tired. Flat-out tired.

Up until now, we've averaged about two out-of-town trips per year, and almost none that were for any real length of time. These are weekend trips to Disney or New Orleans, and tend to be planned within an inch of their lives. Aside from my little stint on tour, where I spent a few months traveling from hotel to hotel on a nearly daily basis, I've never been a spontaneous traveler. So, during the past couple of weekends, I've learned a few things that I thought I'd share with you.

Difference between our GPS and a TARDIS? When the TARDIS doesn't take you where you want, at least you know it was on purpose.
Know where you're going, and how to get back, and eat first. (Points for the reference):
Our GPS is a lying liar who lies. He also slurs his words and mispronounces things to the point that some actually sound offensive. On top of that, he's sent us to the wrong place (and I mean really another city wrong) on more than one occasion. We've decided that he's drunk, and named him Jack, after Captain Jack Sparrow. Because we don't want to end up in Montgomery instead of Mobile again (no joke), we now carry two spares GPS systems (our phones) and a printout with directions. It's helped. Also, make sure that you do some research after you select your hotel, to locate all of the nearby restaurants and fast food joints. We did not do this, and ended up subsisting on Chick-Fil-A all weekend, because we had no idea that five minutes in a direction that we never had to drive for any other reason, there was a plethora of nice, sit-down places, as well as a Dunkin Donuts. (I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. The caramel iced latte is my kryptonite.) We found this out after we'd eaten dinner the night before we headed home.

Portable chargers are the shizz:
About two or three weeks before the Con, I found a deal at (which I cannot link to because Blogger hates me, but you can google it fairly easily) for two portable chargers for twenty bucks. I snapped up that sucker. Now, they're both identical, and both hot pink, but Thomas and I each have one so that we can recharge our phones on the go. You have no idea how much that came in handy. During the Con, we used our phones for everything. We needed the phone for the Square Reader, to check on the puppy (webcam at the boarder's is awesome), to take pictures, to post videos, for social media...basically, our phones became extensions of our arms, and those little chargers were lifesavers. I have no idea what the brand is, but just having a charger of the brand of your choice is highly recommended.

The puppy is a really good sport:
Yeah...we're not doing this again. We boarded the little guy when we went to Paracon, but figured that the trip to Birmingham was so short, and that we'd be back and forth to the hotel a lot to check on him and take him for walks, we should just take him with us. Besides, we were already planning on taking him with us to Disney World in the Fall, so this would be a great test run. He hated it. The poor guy was incredibly well-behaved, and never fussed or cried or anything like that, but you could just tell that he would have much rather been at "puppy school" than cooped up in a hotel room--even for such short periods of time. So, this Fall, instead of sitting in the hotel bed, watching tv and playing with his toys, he'll be at "puppy school"...sitting in a hotel bed, watching tv and playing with his toys...(it's a ridiculously nice boarding place. I want to stay there.)

Yup...I'm still a mess, but at least I'm not in shorts.
Pack heavy:
I can not believe I'm saying this, but for a spontaneous trip, you're probably going to have to overpack. I've found that when I decide what to bring, I throw in an extra outfit that is completely opposite to whatever else I've chosen. For instance: for the Con, I brought a pair of jeans and a t-shirt for Day One, and a Dalek-inspired dress for Day Two. Then, for good measure, tossed in another pair of jeans and another t-shirt. After the first day, I knew that wearing a dress and heels ('cause they matched) all day was a horrible idea, and was thrilled to have an alternative. Then, for Sidewalk, I had originally planned on wearing shorts and a nice shirt for the screening, since a lot of stuff is outdoors. At the very last second (literally, as we were walking out the door), I tossed a sundress in my bag, and that's what I ended up wearing. Turns out, it was actually much cooler than the shorts, and we ended up taking pictures that day, as well. I was really glad to have that dress.

Oh, yeah! There were also banners in the box.
You wouldn't believe how much stuff a Rubbermaid box will hold:
I fit in: a smaller Rubbermaid box of stationary and pencils, a tablecloth, a runner, two rolls of creepy cloth, two empty Sephora boxes, a skull candle from Target (seriously, they have the cutest Halloween decorations), a picture frame, a treasure chest (not kidding), two headstones, a coffee mug, antique keys, part of an ancient tablet, the plaque off an old crypt, some business cards and a money bag. The DVDs came in another box. That's insane. Also, we take strange things with us when we travel. I'm just glad we left the skeleton at home.

Don't be a hotel snob, and Hotwire is da bomb:
(See, I'm cool. I'm hip. I know the lingo, yo. Can ya dig it? Yeah...gonna go crawl into a hole now...)
Thomas was awesome and made all the hotel arrangements for both trips, since I had my hands full with putting together a booth and fun stuff like that. He used Hotwire to book both hotels, and got really great prices on them. Crazy good prices, actually. Scarily good prices. One was, like, thirty bucks a night, or something ridiculous like that. The other was more, but not by much. You don't find out the hotels until after you book. The cheap-cheap place turned out to be an Extended Stay in a great area. When we got there, the front desk was waiting for us, knew our names, and had little goodies in a basket, in case we needed anything. We grabbed a microwave popcorn (why not?) and headed up to our extremely clean, nicely decorated room--complete with kitchenette and full-sized refrigerator. We could have properly cooked in that room. It was absolutely lovely, and I would happily stay there again. The slightly pricier hotel was revealed to be a Hyatt...suite. Living room, wet bar, huge tv...the works. The puppy had plenty of room to run around and play, too. The safety sign in the room had the usual price on it, which was about four times what we paid. This is not the first time we've used Hotwire, and won't be the last.

And because this is, technically, a beauty blog:
Walgreen's has an awesome Aloe Vera face mask. It comes in a single-sized packet (though, you can get two uses out of it) and is for calming redness and easing swelling. I think it was about a buck, and is fantastic for post-travel dryness and puffiness.

Urban Decay's new Revolution lipstick really does last for-freaking-ever. You might want to touch up for moisture, but the color isn't going anywhere. If you're going to be out and about with no mirror, this is your lippie.

Suave dry shampoo smells like pineapple, and really does work. It also cut down on my getting ready time considerably, and kept me from having to use my awful travel shampoo and conditioner. It runs about two dollars, and I got mine at Target.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your own ramblings, musings, or existential ponderings here--just keep it clean and keep it kind.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...