CREATURE OF HOLIDAY HABIT
As much as I’d like to imagine I’m a free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-mypants kinda gal, I’ve also realised that when it comes to travel, I’m a creature of habit. It starts with what time I get to the airport before a flight. Two hours for international, one hour for domestic. Nothing more, nothing less.
Predictable and average as it might be, it’s a step up from the anxiety-ridden, four-hour pre-flight routine my dad prefers to play, lest he possibly be late.
This gives me time for my newest travel ritual: buying a new lipstick each time I say hasta la vista to Brisbane Airport. Some people do champagne. I do MAC retro matte. It sets a (colour) tone for the trip head.
Even dressing for travel is a ritual I’ve finetuned now that I’m lucky enough to be flying off somewhere new every few weeks. I wash two nights before, pack the night before and lay out my clothes in the spare room, 1) because I am anal retentive, and 2) because I live regionally and generally have to be on a shuttle bus at sparrow’s to make it to the airport, so I don’t want to waste sleep time.
I recently deviated from my failsafe plane outfit, because I knew I was going to be turning left when boarding a flight to Hanoi and felt like I needed to be fancy. In hindsight I’d committed a cardinal sin, denounced by travel experts everywhere: I wore heels (I didn’t even wear heels to my own wedding). But, hot tip: matching heels with a backpack doesn’t exactly scream Vogue. They’re also hell to stand in when you’re in customs lines and at the baggage carousel.
What I normally wear is one of two tried- and-tested outfits (the best part of hitting your 30s is finally embracing “basics”): a maxi skirt and T-shirt, or my seven-year-old Zara harem pants with a tee. Both look acceptable enough with a scarf and a denim jacket, which I replace with a black wool cardigan on the plane. Women will know what I’m talking about when I say, “waterfall” cardigan. It’s like wrapping yourself in a (lightweight) blanket. Bonus: wool doesn’t get stinky.
Jeans are a no-go. Actually anything I can’t roll up to my knees. Because my first priority once I’ve plonked my butt on my (aisle) seat? Surgical socks. Granted, I look borderline crazy as I tackle my white, wetsuit-tight compression stockings, pulling them up to my knees, but at least I won’t get DVT.
(Backstory: Ever since breaking my leg in spectacular fashion on a mountain biking trail and spending multiple stints in hospital to insert and remove a fierce-looking metal rod, I’ve been a bit more conscious about my circulation.)
Another foot-related lesson learned from that flight at the pointy end was the virtues of slippers. Vietnam Airlines has them ready and waiting for business-class guests and nothing makes you feel more boss than rocking slippers while sipping champagne. Next time I stay in a hotel with slippers that will only be thrown out afterwards, I’ll be popping those bad boys in my carry-on. In the meantime, sneakers or Birkenstocks work just as well.
But the rituals don’t stop once the plane leaves the tarmac. Oh, no.
Every two hours, I pull out my ziplock bag for a moisture hit like a junkie on a bag of coke. I spray my face with Evian (no idea if this actually does anything for your skin, but it feels nice), pop in some eye drops, snort frequentflyer nasal spray, re-apply lip gloss, and use hand cream while wondering why the hell I never find the time for such rituals at home.