In the past three months, I’ve been up and down the California coast, covered serious ground in both the New England and Tri-state areas, and even managed to take a most-expenses-paid vacation to Maui. Basically, I’ve been P. Diddy if P. Diddy was the kind of person who stole packets of Splenda from Starbucks and left them swimming at the bottom of his purse. If you, too, are this kind of specific P. Diddy — AKA a person who’s constantly on-the-go but whose checking account rarely has a comma in it — take notes. I’m here to instruct you on how to be one part glitzy hip-hop star, one part transient homeless person.
1) Never succumb to buying a to-go meal at the airport or bus/train station.
Once, due to poor planning, naiveté, and a 12-hour traveling day, I was forced to eat soggy $13 CPK sandwiches for both lunch and dinner. That’s two overpriced, barely-edible meals in one day, which by my count is about nine too many. Don’t be me. Pack a PB & J (or your favorite equivalent) or buy something beforehand to take with you. I promise that whatever you bring will be at least half the price of the lukewarm, mayonnaise-y bread-thing they’re serving at the airport/train station’s Au Bon Pain. Speaking of trains…
2) Take busses when you can, planes when you have to, and leave the trains for the real adults.
Never take a train when you can take a bus. Trains are for people with real incomes and clothing from Neiman Marcus. You are not one of these people, because you would rather spend the extra $65 on booze tonight. I know you.
3) Treat the local grocery store like a souvenir shop.
The cardinal rule of purchasing souvenirs for yourself or others is as follows: items of local food and drink are way cooler than snowglobe keychains. (Not to discount snowglobe keychains. I totally wouldn’t mind owning one of those.) Great gifts include chocolate, liquor, and any and all sorts of locally made jams. The only exception to this rule occurs if your family and friends aren’t food-obsessed, borderline-alcoholics, in which case you should look elsewhere for advice. I am not equipped to help you.
4) Never pay actual money for travel-sized beauty products.
I frequently stop in at my dermatologist’s office without an appointment, make nice, and then raid their wicker basket full of free samples. Also, Sephora should put a warrant out for my arrest. That is all.
5) Unless you are legitimately moving somewhere, man up and shove everything you need into one carry-on-sized bag.
This way, you can avoid both checked-baggage fees and having to buy new underwear (after all, airports often decide you don’t actually want your luggage.) Expert tips for packing light: resign to wearing the same pants every day. Don’t bring more than two pairs of shoes. Maybe avoid bringing your pet. I’m just trying to be helpful.