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Creating Solo Travel Serenity

Every week, I see it as I get on a plane. It's a not-so-rare breed of attitude that, in my family, is called "the grump-asaurus."

Granted, not everyone, myself included, enjoys bounding off to the airport at 5:00 AM for a 6:30 flight. It can be even more difficult when that same traveler has to get on a similar plane 14 hours later just to go back. There are little pieces of serenity that one can take on any solo trip that can make a big difference throughout your trip.

My first caveat is - don't short-change day trips for being "little trips!" Day trips require just as much preparation (see Solo Day Trip Essentials) but that doesn't mean that you must practice bare-bones packing. That said, there are a few essentials that are a must-take, and have a permanent home in my travel bag.

1. Scented Lotion & lip balm. Ever since liquids and gels became a screened item at airport security, I'm surprised at how many people have stopped carrying lotion. I carry it for two reasons. One, airplanes are very drying to your skin. If your skin is sensitive at ALL, lotion is a must-have. And two, scents improve my attitude. I find that if I put some of my favorite scented lotions into a little reusable bottle, just having it there for a quick, refreshing, pick-me-up can make my whole day. As for lip balm, it's the one key item that you'll always wish you had with you when you land and it's 15 below. Make a point to keep it in your clear, plastic bag with other toiletries.

2. MP3 player. If you don't have an MP3 player, make a trek and buy even a simple one. Music transports us. It takes your mind to a sanctuary of sorts. It can even help you resolve issues and problems. I'll never forget a particularly stressful meeting I was at. At a break, I took out my MP3 player and just shuffled through it, which resulted in a conversation across the table of music tastes. I never thought in all my life I would find common ground during the course of this meeting - let alone through the random fact that I had a few Bee Gees songs. Music helps flights seem faster and can keep your mind occupied. If you're not a musicophile, then load it up with audio books. Lots of fiction, non-fiction and business titles are available. As a plus, make sure you have good headphones. These are my favorites for planes, and they're less than ten bucks! Sony MDR-J10 h.ear Headphones with Non-Slip Design (Black)

3. Herbal tea bags. Even if you can't take liquids with you, I guarantee that every plane will have hot water! Take your favorite teas with you on the plane. It can help make for a more relaxing ride.

4. And if you take nothing else on this list - and you wear heels all day - take a golf ball. Why? Because nothing is better than getting to a place where you can sit, kicking your shoes off, and rolling a golf ball between the floor and your feet. Instant massage for tired tootsies!

Make your next solo travel trip a bit more peaceful with these simple creature comforts, and you'll be amazed at how different you'll feel when you get home.

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