Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 63 of 67

62 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 Preparing for Your Trip bottles (and they all have shops where you can buy a bottle of water), so you can bring the empty bottle through security and fill it up in the terminal. Staying well hydrated on long flights is important and may speed your recovery from jet lag, so bringing a water bottle ensures that you will never be without water at your seat. If you take medicine at a set time each day with water and/or food, plan ahead so you can take it on the plane, and know what time to take it at your destination. You don't want to go hungry, either, especially if you sleep through a meal or if the meal is inedible or if there is no meal at all, so carry some snacks. Take note of where you can get a drink or a snack on the plane during the flight—usually wherever the galley is. 6 • Comfortable clothes and a long- sleeve shirt or wrap. Wear something comfortable because you'll be in your clothes for a long time. Keep in mind that your feet can swell during long flights. I like to kick off my shoes once I'm in the air, so comfortable socks are a must. And airplane seats don't have personal thermo- stats, so bring a long-sleeve shirt in case it's cold. For women, a pashmina-style wrap is a versatile, time-honored garment for air travel. The blanket provided on long-haul flights is generally inadequate for keeping you warm on a cold plane. 7 • Choose your seat. Airplane seats are not known for space and comfort, and most of us cannot afford business class. So pick your seat carefully. You can check to see the seating arrange- ment for your flight. I strongly prefer an aisle seat, so that I can access my backpack in the overhead bin whenever I want, get up, stretch, and walk around. Others pre- fer a window seat, to take in the beauti - ful views and to avoid people climbing over them to get to the bathroom. Many airlines now charge for choosing a seat— any seat—so you'll have to decide if you want to pay the added cost. You can also purchase a seat with extra leg room, which may be worth it if you have long legs or just appreciate the space. 8 • Move your body. Sitting for the entire flight is hard on your body. Besides being generally stiff at the end of the flight, you could develop blood clots called deep vein thrombosis. It's a good idea, at the very least, to stretch in your seat. Better yet, get up and walk up and down the aisle every so often, or go to the back of the plane to stand and stretch. And grab a drink of wa- ter and a snack while you're up! 9 • Arrive a day or two early. If you have the time and inclination, arriving a day or two ahead of the start of your trip ensures that you are well-rested and ready to go when the trip starts. This strategy also re- lieves the stress of worrying that you might miss the start of the trip should a flight be delayed or canceled. You can take advan- tage of the extra time by visiting cultural or scenic sites that you won't see on the birding trip, and by getting familiar with the common birds in the area. I'm always willing to make extra hotel reservations for my clients at no extra charge, so they can stay at the same hotel as the rest of the group on the first night of the tour. 10 • Remember your passport and flight information. Have a great trip and don't overthink your preparations! n A travel pillow doesn't only serve to help you sleep on your flight: it doubles as a cushion to steady your camera if you are shooting from a vehicle. Photo © Josh Engel Continued from page 60

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