Since March of this year, the list of things we miss not being able to do because of Covid-19 is very often led by overseas travel.
For me it started out with thoughts about the destinations I wouldn’t be seeing in 2020. It was also about the missed adventures, the exploration and discovery of new things I wouldn’t be able to do and maybe a bit of the pampering, food and luxury as well.
I guess they’re the big things about overseas travel that we miss the most.
What I’ve been thinking about more recently are those little things I miss about travelling abroad.
This all came about recently as I watched my son drive off with a friend’s family for a birthday party. As he waved out of the window of a luxurious people mover, I was reminded of those vehicles you use for transferring from the airport to your hotel, particularly in Bali, Phuket and other holiday resort style destinations.
So here are my top ten little things I miss about travelling overseas:
- Packing bathers: I love packing things for the weather you’re going to. In the depths of winter it’s so good to pull out the bathers, hats and thongs for the sunshine at the other end of your flight.
- Working out what you’re going to watch on inflight entertainment: Do you like a movie marathon or a tv series? I like to start with a tv series because there’s always a lot of flight announcement interruptions. Then as the meal arrives settle into a movie. For the full inflight entertainment viewing pleasure, make sure your kids know how to use it before you plug in to your own.
- Seeing your name on a sign: You’ve cleared customs, collected your bags and there in Arrivals is a sign with your name on it being held up by your driver. I love that. I wish I got that wherever I went. When I go to my favourite café each morning for coffee, they should hold up a sign that says, ‘Mr Parry’.
- Vehicle transfer: As the inspiration for this list, the vehicle transfer is close to my heart. I love those luxurious people movers with seats that the manufacturers describe as ‘captains chairs’. The really swish vehicle transfers will provide a drink and a cool towel. It’s the first time you really get to relax. The flight and airport queues are over. Recline the seat, sip a cool glass of Jamu and rest that towel over your face.
- Getting your pool towels: The pool towel hut is sometimes staffed, sometimes not. There’s normally a little sheet to fill out to list how many towels you have taken and each towel is neatly folded, stacked and warm. I miss signing for towels.
- Speaking another language: I may not be a local but I am a yokel. I love the little giggles from locals when I drawl out what I think is perfectly pronounced ‘hello’ and ‘thankyou’.
- Fruit from other parts of the world: I grew up in a small country town where you’d walk down laneways infested with the horrible prickly pear. Walking through the village streets in Puglia, Italy, I learnt that the fruit of the prickly pear is delicious.
- Supermarkets in other countries: I think I get more joy exploring the aisles of an overseas supermarket than exploring the galleries of the L’ouvre. I miss not seeing the variations in confectionary and the different descriptions and colours on the cereal packets. It’s not art but it is culture.
- Foreign Currency: If I’m ever burgled, I feel sorry for the burglars who think they’ve hit the jackpot with the jar at the front of my house. All those little coins from far flung corners of the world are worth the world to me but probably don’t amount to much more than a couple of Australian dollars.
- The inflight magazine: In fact even better than the inflight magazine, with its route maps and advertisements encouraging me to buy Breitling watches and Maserati’s, is the inflight shopping magazine. I always start out thinking I’ll buy a g-shock watch for myself and end up buying the cola flavoured lip balm set. For the kids, obviously.
It’s the Little Things I’m Missing About Travel