my last trip in Indonesia–really

20140327-151950.jpgSince December, I have been saying that I would be taking no more trips in Indonesia whilst (shout-out to the Brits and Aussies) I prepare to return to the USA, saving up for pergo floors and a used car.

Then, my aunt and uncle came to visit and we headed to Bali and Garut. Lovely! And about 2 weeks ago a friend asked if I would like to tag along on a diving trip to Manado on the island of Sulawesi with some friends where she and I would not dive but hang out instead.

At the beginning of this school year, I told myself to avoid the “When will I have the opportunity again?!” justification for over-spending and traveling as the date on my ticket home sped closer. However, when someone offers to plan a trip for you to an island that you haven’t yet visited in the 3 days after your family leaves and before school starts again . . . hmmm, yes.

So, I’ve been considering how to post a slice of life about airplane travel preparation. Then along comes Packing for Kathmandu, and I’m blown away by Jennifer’s almost Etsy level travel adorable-ness. My aunt and uncle are also packing superstars with 6 weeks of essentials in a carry on!! Incredible!! You’re my heroes!!

My blase attitude about airplane travel is a result of the fact that I have been harboring a secret that reveals how spoiled I’ve become: I find airline travel a tad bit annoying. Consequently, here are my nerdy tips for avoiding travel fatigue:

  • Yoga pants or leggings (a possible sign that you’ve given up, but also they keep you from setting off airport security because there is no need for a belt)
  • A Scottevest: I’ve posted about these before to the point that I sound like a spokesperson, but it’s your 3rd carryon, there are specialty pockets for everything from your passport to your glasses to your house key to possibly a couple of prescription pills to your smartphone, plus you have all the toiletries you need when you go to an airplane bathroom, and it truly looks stylish–no really–trust me or you be the judge. Up to you. Only downside: kind of pricey so it’s for the hard core fussy, lazy traveler.
  • Wear sneakers or trainers (another Aussie reference) on the plane for better luggage handling and warmth–this applies even when the temperatures are in the 90s or 100s at your destination. Shoes are your biggest space hog, so wear the bulkiest ones on the plane.
  • Bring a sweater even in equatorial heat for robust AC situations.
  • Toiletry bag packed at all times. I restock my toiletry bag after I return from a trip so it’s ready for the next trip. No mad dashes hours before the trip. I could avoid all of this by doing what my parents do, which is print out a list of items and check them off as they pack, but I have no printer at home.
  • charger

    versatile US, Indonesian / Korean and Chinese electronics charger

    Universal adaptor strip: I bring a charger strip that accommodates US, Indonesian / Korean and Chinese electronics for keeping my devices at 100%. It takes up a lot of space, but totally worth it. Oh, I also keep it in a waterproof canoe bag.

  • If at all possible, take a jog before getting on a long flight. For several reasons, but mostly to ward off any unpleasant digestive effects of sitting for hours coupled with limited liquid intake and packaged airplane food. I may have said too much already.
  • Download as many of the most recent episodes of your favorite podcasts for no wifi time and space.
  • Call the taxi well in advance so that you are not panicking if there’s a mix-up at dispatch about the exact time in either am/pm or military time.
  • If you forgot to print out your e-Ticket, take a screen capture of it on your device to show at the ticket counter.

Despite my spoiled ex-pat whining about the hassle of airplane travel, I am fully aware of the privilege it has been to travel internationally. Never before in history has it been so convenient, actually. I write this mostly to my future self, when I’m tucked back into my condo next year–waiting for spring at the end of March in North America.

About jaclynfre

Recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
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10 Responses to my last trip in Indonesia–really

  1. aggiekesler says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I love those jackets…way cool!!

  2. isbergamanda says:

    I’ve been trying to decide if I should get a Scottevest or not (due to the price), but now you have me reconsidering it! I also pack my toiletry case when I get home from a trip, that way I don’t buy more of what I need, or forget something at the last minute. Great tips!

    -Amanda at

    • jaclynfre says:

      Amanda, The Scottevest is very pricey!! I was also concerned that it would be too hot in such a warm climate like Indonesia. It definitely adds a layer, but I never regret it when on a cool temperature controlled airplane or when I’m in the tiny airplane bathroom and want to brush my teeth or use hand sani. I’m such a nerd!!

  3. It sounds like you have the traveling down pretty well. I so seldom fly (even within the US) that I freak out any time I have to. If I ever get the opportunity to fly internationally, I’m coming back here to take notes!

    • jaclynfre says:

      Kay, I was the same way (as an adult) until I moved to Indonesia–despite the fact that my parents were international teachers when I was child. I just learned from my aunt and uncle who love to travel that they discovered that over 90% of the population in New Zealand have their passport, but only . . . 13% of US citizens have theirs. Interesting, no? 🙂 Thanks for commenting. I’d love to read about your travels, within or outside of the US sometime.

  4. Katy Collins says:

    Awww…a traveler after my own heart! I love all your tips and especially the jacket! I MUST have that. I am famous for the panicked pocket searches before and after security lines. I think this could solve my problems! I also feel like nothing should keep you from experiencing your home as much as possible before returning to the States, much less money. Spend for the rest of us, friend.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Katy, Thanks for your really sweet words of encouragement. It has been good to write about these experiences as part of the challenge. I usually tell myself that it’s better to let travel memories marinate for awhile to gain perspective, to not be that person who foists her surface level reactions on others in a 24 hour news cycle way, but I’ve appreciated the immediate comments–I’m not going to lie. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the vest if you decide to invest (haha) and I’d love to hear about your trips with it if you’d like to share.

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