The Long Haul Flight Essential Checklist

We are three weeks away from our Mediterranean Cruise and Barcelona Trip and we have pretty much all tied down (as much as possible).  We are starting to look into packing our clothes, finishing our excursions selections, and getting to know more about Barcelona. So as I start packing our bags and getting ourselves ready, I wanted to share our packing list for both the airplane flight and our small backpack we will be using when we walk around Barcelona and during the excursions at the port.

Airplane Back Pack: We will travel with three backpacks (one for my husband and two to be shared between me and my two sons). I will focus on the one that I will be sharing with my sons since the flight will be a long one (Houston to Frankfurt and then a two-hour flight to  Barcelona). I like to make sure that we will be able to be comfortable in the airplane and therefore I will be packing:

  • Passport and Flight Tickets Holder
  • Tablets (yes we each get one)
  • 3 headphones
  • Chargers
  • Portable Chargers (just in case)
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Wipes
  • Small hand cream
  • 3 small books (one for each of us)
  • 2 neck pillows (I am skipping on this one)
  • My notebook (journal)
  • 2 pens (yes, I always travel with two)
  • Passport holder 
  • Wallet
  • Very small make-up bag: stick foundation, lip balm, lipstick, blush stick, sample size perfume)
  • Gum
  • (3 underwears and 3 lightweight shirts)
  • Headache and allergies medicines

We will be wearing comfortable light sweatpants (for me it will be leggins) and comfortable cotton shirts with light jackets, socks, and tennis shoes.

For our days in Barcelona and our excursion days we will be carrying:

  • Small backpack – We are getting one for the four of us.  Big enough to carry at least 2 bottles of water, but small enough that my 9-year old can easily carry it too.  
  • Portable Battery Charger
  • Passport Copies – We do not walk around with our passports, but a copy of the passports and we leave the originals in the hotel’s safety box.
  • Anti-bacterial Gel 
  • Pre-paid tickets receipt (hop off hop on the bus, or museums)
  • Camera (yes we still travel with one)
  • Phones
  • Small wipes
  • Wallets
  • 2 bottles of waters (at all time)

If it is going to be a rainy day we will be wearing our rain jackets.

Hopefully, these two lists help you when doing your own checklist and help you make sure that you and your family are comfortable during the flight and when doing tourism in an unknown location.  It is important to keep it short as we will be doing the same packing every day we get out of the hotel or cruise ship so it should be easy to put all together in a matter of minutes. Please take note that when doing the excursions on the Cruise we will NOT be going to beaches, but cities where we will mostly walk around or be in bus tours.

Just wondering… what am I missing???

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Barcelona Day 1… airplane trip, arrival, and walking Las Ramblas

Vacation planning… airplane trip, arrival in Barcelona and walking Las Ramblas!

Every time I travel I  like to visualize the voyage, the process of “getting there” and for me, this is even more important when you are traveling with family and friends.   We are traveling to Barcelona to take a 8-day Mediterranean Cruise with my kids and my parents (I know God Bless my husband). We are flying to Barcelona via Frankfurt and it will be FUN!.  Having been in long flights throughout my traveling time I am looking forward to “cross the pond” with my kids for the first time 😉)

TIP#1:  Book a transatlantic flight that flights through the night so you force yourself to sleep during the flight and helps you handle the jet lag a bit better

We are departing from Houston at 4:30 pm.  The kids will go to school as usual and we will go from their school to the airport.  I will give them a light snack at the airport and wait until dinner on the plane. The intention is for them to sleep as much as possible and “wake up” in Frankfurt. From Frankfurt, we take a 2-hour flight to Barcelona and arrive in Barcelona at 1:30 pm.

We meet my parents at the Hotel which is located by Plaza Catalunya and the Rambla.  We take some time to rest and we go for walk by the Ramblas. My intention is to walk hitting the following places:

Casa Batllo – 3-minute walk

Plaza Catalunya – 9-minute walk

Rambla del Raval – 15-minute walk

Palau Guell – 7-minute walk

Colon Monument – 7-minute walk

We will have dinner when hungry and I have spotted three different “Tapas” places along the way.  

We will walk back to the hotel while expressing our gratitude for been in Barcelona altogether and I hope we can spot a good place to have a dessert with coffee on our way back to the hotel.

TIP#2: When you are jet lag and its time to sleep take melatonin. It helps to regulate your new time zones.  Also if you can sleep with the curtains open so that the sunlight can help to wake you up and will be easier for your internal clock to self-regulate.

I will take note of the first day and see how close we are to the above itinerary. I am always curious to see how much of the planning becomes a reality and even more important how much it helps when we deviate from the plan itself.

And now lets get to Day#2

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The joy of running wild…

Orange Family Photo Greeting Thanksgiving Card

(Above are my two sons, at this time 11 and 8, last summer, and right behind is my Dad)

I was born in Panama, and my kids have been able to go back every vacation for a few weeks.  They stay with my parents, in the countryside, where my parents live. The little town is called El Barrero and my parents have lived there for over 10 years now.  There is a much bigger town right next to it, its call Penonome and many family members live, and it is also about 25 minutes from about three different beaches. My kids love going back every summer and feel the freedom that only small towns in the countryside can give you.

I know times change and their time in El Barrero and Penonome, will not be as it was for me when I was a child and would go there every vacation I had, but in regards to the feeling that nature, freedom, fresh air, and relaxation can give you is pretty close.  They always come back to us more humbled, less demanding, more appreciative, less connected to the electronics that they left behind and more connected to just be present and relax. They come back having discovered new foods that they like, remembering moments they spent with my family, telling stories of hiking trips, horse riding in the mountains, beach walks in the sunset and eating dinners outside with my parents.

I fear sometimes that there will be a moment in which they will choose to stay here and not to go back to Panama, maybe because of friends or girlfriends,  summer school, or sports activities, but at least I know that they will always treasure their time surrounded by the memories I made while growing up.  They had the chance of running wild…

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Travel time… Here we go!

Burnt Orange Travel Postcard

I love to travel… It has always been an important part of my life.  My family loves to travel and that passion has been passed to me. I have been lucky to travel around the world (Paris, London, Spain, Berlin, Philippines, Singapore, China, Palau, Syria among other places)  These journeys have remained in my mind, coming back to me from time to time, making me smile, forcing me to remember a wonderful encapsulated time in my space, a safe place in my mind where I am happy, free and safe. 

As mentioned I have been in several countries, both for personal and professional reasons, each one of those opportunities was fully embraced.   I like to prepare for my travels, I like to know where I am going, I like to know which places need to be visited, the history, the food, the people, the culture.  I have always joked to my husband I am frustrated travel agent, he always laughed, until the time we went to Europe. It was his first trip and we went to 12 cities in 14 days.  From The Netherlands to Belgium to France to Italy, it was magical and it was perfect. It took a lot of planning and research, but 5 years later I can still see his eyes light up when he mentions the trip to friends and family.  (I can give you the details of that trip if you want)

My oldest son has inherited my love for travel, at 12 years old he is full of travel ideas, places he wants to go, the food he wants to try, the different cultures, the adventure. So we are going on a trip. We are taking a Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona.  My family (husband and two sons) and my parents. We are celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday and I am excited to share this trip with my family. It would be the first time I go to Europe with my parents and that makes it special in a very sentimental way.

So we are leaving in 57 days and I am in full planning mode.  I have decided to include our planning and experiences in this blog. So stay tuned as I plan and execute a Mediterranean Cruise with 4 days in Barcelona for 6, including travel tips, from packing to eating, accommodations, and tours.  It will be fun and you are invited.

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