Travel retail rituals

This Pat Law post inspired me to think about my own travel retail rituals. When I travel I have a number of rituals, a shrink may consider them to be coping mechanisms for dealing with dislocation whatever. One of them is that I always watch CNN if I can get it. It makes me feel more connected.

I generally have rituals in the airport as well. I usually fly out of London City Airport for short-haul and Heathrow  for long haul journeys.

Flying out:

  • Coffee – preferably Starbucks so I can get free wi-fi using my Starbucks card. Heathrow in particular is a rip-off, City airport has free wi-fi, but it can be difficult to get on their network. I follow the coffee up with a bottle of water as airplanes are exceptionally dry environments
  • Newspaper – Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Wall Street Journal in order of preference
  • Magazine – Monocle, The Atlantic, Technology Review or Wired (US edition) if my subscription copy has not come in yet
  • Forex – I usually don’t get this sorted until I get to the airport. I also make a point of phoning my credit card companies and letting them know that I will be away. It helps dealing with card failure later on
  • Batteries – an eight-pack of AA cells, preferably Duracell – to make sure that I have batteries for my camera
  • Chewing gum – Blue Orbit multi-pack or one of the plastic tubs that they do

Flying back:

As with flying out, but with some additions

  • Hong Kong-style milk tea – instead of the coffee if possible. Chep Lap Kok airport has free wi-fi anyway so I can break away from the chains of addiction and connectivity that bind me to Starbucks and enjoy the potent brew of milk tea. I particularly like the cha chow variation with condensed milk rather than evaporated milk
  • Acqua Di Parma – when I can get it, isn’t stocked in most duty-free areas
  • Melatonin – great to help with sleep, unfortunately hard to obtain in the UK
  • Toblerone – for the office
  • Milk magazine – never ceases to amaze me how the magazine can be credible and still do deals with brands like McDonald’s restaurants; you wouldn’t see i-D doing a cover-mount with KFC. I find it fascinating

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