I have OCD and not in that fad way that people say they have it.
I have severe OCD and have since I was a child. This is a huge challenge when it comes to traveling. I have to overcome a lot of obstacles when it comes to packing, flying, and safety, to name a few. But I’ve persevered and have a number of travel tips to share as a result. These are my top three OCD travel tips.
1. Touch Nothing
Airports, cruise ports, bus depots, and train stations are some of the worst places to pick up a bug. If you want to avoid a virus on your vacation, steer clear of touching handrails, door handles, pin pads, and pretty much anything else. I know this is practically impossible, but it can be done. I have no shame, so I wear gloves everywhere. Once I’m comfortably seated in my personal space, I clean the entire area with wipes or Lysol spray before removing my gloves. But I’m pretty bold and realize that’s not the most practical solution for most people. For a more reasonable option, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and splash a little on your hands every time you touch something that could carry germs. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Organize Your Affairs
If you’re anything like me, triple checking you have your passport, money, and other paperwork in order simply isn’t enough. Print off all your trip vouchers, tickets, and confirmation details and sort them by date in a small, plastic organizer envelope. Toss your passport and currency into the front pocket so that you have everything in one easy-to-access place. This envelope is the only thing that matters for your entire vacation. As long as you have it, you have everything you need. As you tick flights, tours, and other events off the list, toss out the paperwork for those items on your itinerary to make your load a little lighter.
3. Take a Picture
Are you one of those people who can never remember if you’ve locked the door or turned off the oven? For someone with OCD, worry over whether or not you unplugged the iron can ruin an entire trip. Do yourself a favor and snap a few pics just before you leave the house. Take one of the oven, the front and back doors, electrical sockets, or anything else that might otherwise cause you concern. A quick peek at the pictures is the perfect reminder that you did, in fact, turn off the TV.
Pro tip: Try to get a part of your travel outfit in the picture. That way, you’ll know for sure it was taken the day you left the house on your vacation.
As a bonus, a few years ago, a dear friend of mine took three months off work to travel through Asia. Before she left, I made her the ultimate OCD travel kit. She used every single item in it and has often encouraged me to share its contents with the world. So, here goes…I hope you find it as useful as she did.
Tissues – for drying tears after a sad farewell, blowing a congested nose due to poor airplane ventilation, or opening doors without touching germy handles
Gloves – to wear while boarding the plane so you don’t catch a virus touching all the seats, overhead bins, and trays with your bare hands
Hand sanitizer – to clean your hands before every meal
Wet wipes – to clean off your tray and other surfaces or wipe off your hands after eating
Toilet seat covers – need I say more?
Tide to Go – for accidental spills
Laundry detergent packets – to rinse undies, tees, and socks
A book – to pass the time on public transit or if your in-flight entertainment is out of service (a great distraction from turbulence, especially if your MP4 player/eReader/phone is dead)
Mini Lysol spray – for disinfecting surfaces, such as airport chairs that double as a bed (you may not be allowed to carry this through security if it’s in am aerosol spray can)
Expanding towel tablets – for drying up unexpected spills
Travel toilet paper roll – for when there’s no other choice
These are some of the things I always have in my carry-on. What other items would you add to my ultimate OCD travel checklist? Share them with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group, along with any other OCD travel tips you might have.