Countdown to Long Haul Travel

Fashion magazines make long-haul travel sound super easy. Their advice usually includes: take a cashmere (!) wrap/blanket, hydrate, don’t check your luggage, avoid plane food, bring raw snacks. 

Obviously, they’ve never flown with children. 

We’re here to help. Here’s your 3 – 2 – 1 countdown to long-haul travel – based on the experience of Nano team members – and our contacts at the Center for Disease Control. 


Check passports are up to date (it happens). Look at the CDC travel advisory site for required vaccines and visas per location, plus a “Healthy Packing List”. Make sure everyone has the regular vaccinations: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and flu shot. Compile a travel version of your First Aid Kit (here’s one we prepared earlier). 


Cases out in the hallway (dust and air out). Make a day-by-day list of everything you’ll be doing on vacation (water rafting, sight-seeing, posh tea with rich relatives) and the clothes you’ll need for each one. Wash, repair and set aside. You don’t want to be scrambling doing loads of laundry the night before and then forget your most flattering swimsuit. 

The CDC also recommends getting your documentation in order. Put this in your carry-on and make a password-protected digital copy of emergency contact numbers to share with someone you trust back home: 

  • Health insurance documents: research any supplemental travel health insurance plans.
  • Copies of all prescriptions: include generic names. 
  • Contact card: street addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of a family member/close contact remaining in the US; Health care provider(s) at home; Lodging at your destination; Hospitals or clinics (including emergency services) in your destination; US embassy or consulate at the destination.


Cases packed and in the hallway. Travel documents on the hall table with flight information checked and checked again (is the flight 6 AM, or PM?). Transit to the airport sorted. Snacks (apple slices, dried apricots, cheese cubes – cheaper at the grocery store, very expensive at the airport). Spare pair of thick sports socks for walking up and down the aisle. Electronic devices charged (and stocked with games, music, meditations, books and destination plans) and foreign adaptors in case. Take a soft scarf. 

Enjoy your trip!


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