Leaving on a Jet Plane

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”

OK, that’s not quite true. When I started this post four days ago, I was ready to be on the Voyage of the Vikings, but there was much to be done. I guess I am just a bit obsessive – no matter how early I start preparation, I’m usually stressed in the last few days before a cruise.

It must be a family trait. One of my sisters messaged early this morning: “Running around like a chicken with its head chopped off  … THE CAB IS WAY EARLY! Do I have everything?!? Passport, yes; billfold, yes; phone, yes; backpack, go back for it … Now just sitting at gate. If I forgot something, it’s too late.”

I once famously told my friend Mary as we were leaving for a short overnight trip that I knew I was forgetting something. She replied that we could either buy it or do without. Well, I forgot the one thing that didn’t fit in either category – the name of the motel in the Lancaster, Penn., area where I made the reservation.

There were dozens of small motels – all sold out — and we never found the right one. A kind lady at the visitor center sent us to a friend who sometimes rented out her guestroom (decades before Airbnb). Mary has never let me forget it. (I would add that my mishap in Lancaster had a silver lining, but that’s another story for another day.)

I am more obsessive now about making sure I don’t leave anything important behind. I try to remind myself that a passport and credit card will usually suffice in most any emergency. These days I would add some medications to the list.

So now I am on my flight to Boston for an overnight stay before boarding Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam tomorrow.

I used to marvel at people who posted on travel forums that they started packing weeks in advance. During years of corporate travel and vacations I was a last-minute packer. Now I start earlier. It’s not so much the packing, but the to-do list of reminders before I leave town.

This week I have installed a VPN on my laptop and smartphone (long overdue), picked up foreign currency at my bank for our destinations, notified my credit card companies of my travel plans, gotten a haircut and backup up my computer on a hard drive I will leave at home (in addition to automatic cloud backup). Then I had a pedicure and did the final laundry before packing. I never got around to dumping the perishables in the refrigerator and taking out the trash , so I am relying on the kindness of my nephew to do that. He will water the pots of herbs on my balcony, so maybe they will survive until early September. (Hey, you can’t kill mint, anyway – right?)

So for the past few days I continued to check items off my to-do list. What’s done is done, and what wasn’t will wait. I order a gin and tonic from the flight attendant and relax.

If you have tips or tricks you use for cruise preparations, please share them with us in the comments.