On the way back from my recent Walt Disney World, Orlando, press trip, as English Mum‘s plus one, it became apparent that I was not remotely prepared for anything other then going home. I’m an optimist at heart so never prepare for disaster.
When we were told that there was a 24 hour delay to our flight, due to a bird strike (American bald eagle no less) my heart sank. Panic set in as we were told that our suitcases would be sealed on the plane until departure which caused some passengers, not from our group, to turn into Shouty McShout.
As my heart sank I mentally mapped the contents of my hand luggage which by some people’s standards (looks at My Sister and Erica) was virtually empty; A book, a charger, an ipad, a notebook, a pen, a few toiletries and a hoodie.
Luckily Virgin Atlantic put all of the 400 passengers affected in hotels. Unfortunately my roomie, English Mum, had packed as badly as I. But not ones to break under pressure, we prefer laughing to crying, we made the most of a bad situation.
Once in our room we rang reception and asked for a toothbrush – they sent us up a ‘feminine pack’ which for some strange reason comprised a toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and shaving foam. I wondered if the receptionist had caught sight of my errant chin whisker, in the ambient light of the lobby, when we checked in.
With only the clothes we stood up in we decided it would be best to preserve them for the following day by sleeping naked, with a communal hotel dressing gown between our beds in case of ’emergency early morning wees’. There was only one incident where a light turned on when it shouldn’t and I was exposed to a full frontal, by my roomie. Luckily I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses so our relationship is as it was ‘pre-flash’.
In the morning we showered and attempted, with out joint basic toiletries, to make ourselves presentable. One surprise was that L’Occitane shea butter hand cream can be used to tame unruly locks as well as make your hands as soft as a baby’s bottom.
Feeling fairly clean our next task was to find some emergency underwear. We trawled the airport shops and just when we thought we were going to have to resort to buying two pairs of Spongebob Squarepants boxer shorts we happened upon the last multi-pack of ladies Mickey Mouse knickers in the entire airport.
We managed to amuse ourselves for the rest of the day – there may have been some sunbathing in our underwear on the balcony, the trying on of a variety of outfits in the Disney and Harry Potter shops and a lot of food and drink consumed but later that day we finally boarded our flight home.
With all this in mind and with my sister’s words ringing in my ears “If you’d traveled with me you would DEFINITELY have had clean knickers” this is my essential, cover all bases, top ten ‘flight hand luggage list’. This is how I will pack from now on, because after my recent travel antics I am no longer a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of gal.
… and because you never know when a suicidal American bald eagle is on the loose.
- Spare underwear – Washing your knickers in a sink and drying your them with a hairdryer is an option but, let’s face it, not the best one. Nor is turning them inside out. Just pack spare knickers.
- Tablet and/or phone – to keep in touch with the folks back home by boring them senseless with your ‘stuck in an airport – feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal’ hourly Facebook status updates. You can also take ridiculous photographs to document your adventure. Most airports and hotels have free wi-fi these days. Do not, I repeat DO NOT use your device and/or phone to google anything to do with ‘bird strikes’ … until you have safely landed at your destination.
- Device charger AND adapter – depending on which country you are stranded in. If you only have the lead some airports and hotels have USB points, but you may have to elbow one of the other 400 stranded disgruntled passengers out of the way in order to use it … and then guard it with your life.
- Hoodie/cardigan or as a sensible person (My Sister) would say “layers” – we were in Orlando where the temperature can differ dependent on which part of the airport you’re in. Sometimes air conditioning can be your best friend. Sometimes not.
- Toothbrush and miniature toothpaste – the hotel gave us a toothbrush each, but it had approximately four bristles, my finger would have been better. There’s nothing better than your own toothbrush in times of need.
- Spare medication/contact lenses/inhaler etc – In the case of regular medication and an emergency you would have to call a doctor out which could be costly.
- Miniature makeup samples – English Mum had a compact mascara that made us feel so much better about ourselves. It’s the little things!
- Baby wipes – for a whole host of reasons. You never know when a ‘Wet Wipe Wash’ could be your best friend.
- Moisturiser, lip balm, hand cream, deodorant – basically any toiletries you can get away with in your little see through bag. When you are at your worst, and feeling sorry for yourself, a little bit of TLC goes a long way.
- Travel pillow – because if you don’t get a hotel you are going to have to either lie on the airport floor or fold yourself into one of those, not so comfy, airport chairs.
Is there anything you’d like to add?