I forgot how to travel. This became abundantly clear during my latest trip, which involved the first plane travel I have done since February of 2020. My last trip pre-pandemic was an easy flight from San Jose to San Diego made easier by the fact that my family was not with me. There were a few people wearing masks on the plane, but no one seemed overly concerned. It was a different time.
Fast forward to Memorial Day 2021. My husband and I are fully vaccinated and our kids are low-risk and it finally felt safe to travel again. My kids are old enough to keep their masks on and not eat cheerios off the floor of the airplane (I don’t want to talk about it). So we booked a short flight to visit friends. I forgot how many arrangements are necessary – vrbo, rental car, airport parking, restaurants, local attractions. Think of all the time I have saved not planning trips during the pandemic!
There are a few other things I forgot. First, I forgot to check in early for the Southwest flight so we could get a good boarding group. Oops. Thank goodness for family boarding. Then, I realized I had forgotten my younger son’s suitcase at home! Double oops. Apparently, kids don’t remember to bring their own luggage. I used to know that. Luckily for my son, we got him a new mini-wardrobe at our destination.
You would think that after forgetting a suitcase on the way there, I would be extra-vigilant on the way back. You would be wrong. I forgot my husband’s jacket, pockets filled with keys to our vehicles, in the vrbo. That was a headache.
My advice to those of you embarking on summer travel after a long time at home? Consider making a few checklists so that you are not relying on your brain. The travel section may have atrophied in the last 15 months. Hopefully, travel skills are a muscle that strengthens with use. I have a lot of trips to take and I don’t want to buy a new wardrobe and set of car keys each time!