By Rina L.

How was your Pesach? For me it was hectic, but nice. I am definitely missing the time away from school. Unfortunately I am not offering an exercise that does your homework for you (I wish!! You’ll be the first to know if I find one ;P) In fact I’m not going to talk specifically about exercise this month. Instead I’m going to give you some tips for making travel simpler and easier. I have been traveling quite frequently since I was a baby because of my parent’s work, so I have a fair amount of travel experience, and I have figured out a few ways of making it so much more comfortable along the way. This seems fairly timely considering that summer break is right around the corner (well, not quite, but I can dream can’t I?) and many of you may have travel plans. The main focus of this post is comfort and convenience while in transit, rather than actually at your destination.

The first thing I will talk about is what to wear. I know this sounds really unimportant, but it can transform the comfort level of a trip. I travel mostly by plane and train, so that is the form of transit I will be referring to, although this applies to most other forms of travel as well. Planes and trains tend to be cold and you want to be prepared for that by dressing warmly. You are probably going to want to stay away from all clothes that involve bare legs (skirts without leggings on underneath, shorts etc), as well as clothes that involves bare arms. A flared skirt (flared rather than pencil because with a flared skirt you can pull your legs up more easily without your skirt riding up) with legging or tights underneath, or full length pants paired with cotton long sleeved shirt ( I like cotton because it’s light weight and breathes which I find comfortable. My mom likes cotton because she says if the plane catches on fire cotton won’t melt into your skin like polyester, mothers.) paired with a sweater over it is what I would recommend. The seats tend to either be made of a heavy duty fabric which is prickly, or vinyl which is sticky on bare legs, especially if you sit in one spot for a long time. This is not the time to be stylish. When the girl in front of you prances onto the plane in her cute little summer dress and uncomfortable sandals you may feel horribly unfashionable. But when you are warm and comfy, while she turns blue from cold, you’ll be the one laughing.

Hair. Long hair can be a pain when traveling. My personal go to is a braid, but really anything with your hair tied back works. Personally I don’t like having my hair out while I’m traveling. I find that it gets messy and in the way, especially if I’m trying to sleep, which is hard enough when you’re sitting up.

Here are some of my favorite kosher foods that can be found at most airports. Of course I always bring enough food to last the flight plus a few hours in case of delays (one time had to sit on the plane for 3 hours on the runway due to weather just in case.) The three things that I love from airports that are Kosher Parev (you won’t find anything cholov Yisroel there!) are chocolate covered pistachio nuts from Setton Farms, Naked drinks (I LOVE strawberry banana flavor) and these little snack packs of pretzels and chummus, and corn chips and salsa from Sabra. My ears are really sensitive to the change in the air when the plane is landing. I was always that annoying kid on the plane that shrieked louder then everybody else’s kids did when the plane was landing. And there are still times that I feel like shrieking. I usually drink the Nakeds during landing which helps so much. A side note: Delta Airlines has some special deal where they only stock Pepsi, and no Coca Cola at most of their terminals, and the Pepsi they have is not kosher.

Now, that big question; what to do for hours on the plane? That’s really up to you and what you enjoy doing. To give you some ideas I usually bring a video player and earbuds, along with some favorite movies, my journal, and a novel or two, as well as my chitas.

I went to CA a few weeks ago and I added one more very nice addition to my packing list. I have one of those amazing Jansport backpacks that you can just keep on filling with stuff and it never seems to get full. Well I had some extra room in it and I have this amazing feather pillow that is so nice and fluffy, but can also roll really really small. Now this pillow has a little bit of a story. My family and I went on a camping trip one time in Ohio and my mom forgot her pillow so we went to this store called Lehman’s where she got this amazing feather pillow. Everyone else in my house was always trying to steal it. So for our birthdays my mom gave each of us, as well as my grandma, feather pillows from Lehman’s.

So I took the pillow and I rolled it up and I put it into my backpack. My mom saw me do it and she did the same thing. So the two of us get onto our overnight flight from California to Michigan. We sit down in our seats, kick off our shoes, and then unzip our back packs. Our pillows are spilling out and expanding as we pull them out. We got some funny looks, and some dirty looks. But mainly we got jealous looks (my dad included who had decided not to bring his). If you want a pillow like this just look up Lehman’s Ohio and then look up Premium Down Pillow. It will come right up and it’s amazing!!

The last thing I will talk a little bit about is packing. There are two super important things that I keep in mind when I pack. The first is pack light! I’ll admit, I’m bad at this. But, after years of practice I’ve kind of figured what to bring and what not to bring. I like to plan all of outfits ahead of time so that I know I have enough clothes (and the stuff I’m bringing matches), but not too many. The second thing is don’t bring anything you would be really upset about losing. Because no matter how careful you are, stuff can still manage to disappear in the craziness of travel. When you’re traveling (or at least for me) stuff just tends to walk off and I do what I can to make sure that the stuff that walks off are my socks and not one of my favorite necklaces. And the best way to do that is to not bring the necklace at all.

That’s all I have to say on that topic. So just remember comfort before fashion and bon voyage!