Planning travels for conferences around the world

Flight window views stacked together, showing view for cities, clouds, greenery, and sea view

My journey

As a person who did very little traveling for 30 years of her life, and then got to travel to so many new places in the next 1 year and counting, I have so much anxiety whenever I travel.

Planning journey for a conference

Journey dates, flights or train, accommodation

Choose journey dates

I prefer to reach the destination at least one day before the conference.

Choose the transport mode

When choosing between transport modes, I take the time of travel into consideration. For journeys that take up to 6 hours, I prefer the train, because I have experienced the same aggregate travel time when the flight time is less than 2 hours (special thanks to the Schipol mess, I need to be at the airport at least 3–4 hours before the flight time to have my mental peace). For any longer time, the flight is my preference.

Prefer direct Flights

For flights, I always always always want to travel with direct flights. Layovers add to my anxiety, and I saw it go through roof for my Milan trip. I would not like to go through that again. But I know, it will not always be possible. In those cases, I would at least try to keep around 2 hours of layover time to account for some unforeseeable flight delays. Although it will not always be perfect, trying to plan it better is all I can do.

Choosing seats

Window seats are my choice of seat. I love to look at the world from that height and appreciate all the beauty, as well as love the feeling of flying through the clouds, witnessing sunrise and sunset from a different perspective. Those are magical moments.

Do what you love folks and do not worry about any judgment. We only live once.

Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance, so that in any unforeseen situations, some/full part of the ticket could be reimbursed. Some insurances also provide medical emergency cover and well as cover for luggage theft too.

Accommodation

Conference-sponsored accommodation

Travel Checklist

You would not want to leave any crucial document behind and forget stuff that could make life a bit tougher in an unknown city or country. So I maintain a to-pack list for my travels.

The ‘cannot leave behind’ items

Mobile and laptop, documents, debit or credit cards

Mobile and Laptop

I mean, mobile is kind of a lifeline these days, so definitely do not forget your mobile at home.

Documents

Documents are one of the most important items, we always need to have our ID with us, when we are traveling to another country. As an ex-pat in the Netherlands, I need to carry my passport and Resident permit with me everywhere. The document requirement might be different for you, but it is always useful to have a small bag/purse specifically for storing the IDs’.

Debit / Credit cards

Always check if you have your cards on you before leaving for the trip. Also, I prefer to have some expense limits on the card, so that anyone with unauthorized access to the card cannot spend a considerable amount of money.

Cash

I know almost everything is digital nowadays. Still, I prefer to keep some amount of cash with me, just in case. Also, I have been to places where I had to use cash because I couldn’t use the app to book a cab for me due to internet connectivity issues and the local taxi only accepted cash. Rarely do I want to withdraw cash in an unknown place. I know I sound extra cautious, but my motto in life is “better safe than sorry”.

  • Mobile and laptop
  • Documents
  • Card

Other important items to pack

Medicines

General painkillers and paracetamol are the medicines I always have in all of my backpacks. Apart from that, I also have certain health conditions, so I need to have prescribed medicines with me all the time.

Chargers for mobile and laptop

Also, a power bank, if possible — so that you don’t have to find a charging point everywhere. I cannot imagine myself traveling anywhere without power banks. I usually only need to use it once in a whole day, and that too when I take lots of pics. Still, when I have it with me, I have peace of mind and I do not need to search for any charging point anywhere.

Travel adapter

In case the charging plug is different for the country you are traveling to, these will come in quite handy.

Earphones/headphones

I prefer earphones in flight as they also act as kind of earplugs, while I play some nice songs to calm myself during the take-offs.

Neck pillow

For longer journeys, these are the saviors. When I went to South Korea, my flight was 13 hours. I had my pillow with me and actually, I ended up sleeping for a good time due to that, and hence I felt less tired than I expected to be.

One pair of clothes in the laptop bag

Just in case of emergency, what if the other cabin bag gets misplaced?

Snacks

I always carry a packet of dry fruits and cookies with me, which I rarely end up eating, but a few times they have been my savior, as I munch on them while searching for a good restaurant in the new city.

Books or movies for entertainment

I keep a few online books and I utilize airport wait time as well as air time to read them. Sometimes, I do not feel like reading, so I always have some offline downloaded movies on my amazon prime app, and I watch them. My go-to movies are the LOTR series (LOTR fans, say hi).

Conclusion

Traveling is a wonderful experience, and planning it in an organized way can make it so much better.

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Anuradha Kumari

Anuradha Kumari

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Web Developer, Accessibility Advocate, Google Developers Expert, MDE @Cloudinary. https://.anuradhakumari.com/ ‘Choose RIGHT over easy, always!’