Travel

Things to do before boarding a plane to the other side of the world

Tomorrow sees the start of a new week and myself on a plane to my adopted city of choice – San Francisco. I’ve ended up having to travel to SF almost twice per year since I got my job in August 2015 with this amazing company that has its HQ there. I had been to the US twice before then, so I did know a thing or two about getting ready for long-haul trips (and waiting time in airports) however I really feel now that I’m starting mastering the art of getting ready -both physically and emotionally- for the huge shock that is translatlantic travel.

Union Square, here I come (again!)

 

So here we go in no particular order, I’m just writing down these things as I’m actually doing them today:

  1. Take your time : My flight is on Monday, so I’ve spent the better part of my weekend doing the things on this list. Taking your time is important when preparing for such a long trip, there is no way getting away with waking up an hour in advance and throwing stuff in your hang luggage hoping you haven’t forgotten everything! Even if you are the most well-prepared person on earth, I would strongly advise packing the night before so in the morning the only thing you have to throw in your carry-on is your toothbrush. Otherwise let me assure you that you will reach your destination sans underwear (no, no, it’s never happened to me).
  2. Make sure all your tickets, visas, check-in’s, etc. are in order: If you require a visa for the country of your destination I’m sure that you’ll have already gone through quite a procedure in order to get it, so I’m not too worried that you’ll forget. However, if you only have ESTA to worry about (like Greeks do for the US), it is pretty easy that you forget that you need it (or that it has expired without you noticing – almost happened to me the last time). The best strategy is to check right after you book your tickets, this way you will have plenty of time to organize yourselves and follow any procedural steps in case your papers are not valid any more.
  3. Do laundry: It’s kind of a super mundane task but to me is equally important is bringing all my chargers and adapters with me!! I spent my Saturday and Sunday doing laundry and ironing because going off to a work trip means that I want to have as much of my “work wardrobe” available to me as possible. There is nothing worse when packing for a week full of work meetings and realising that your go-to white button down has this tomato sauce stain still on!
  4. Think hard of what you need with you on the plane and pack smart: I’m thinking books/magazines, snacks and bottle of water here, as well as a few cosmetics you need with you on the plane. I have to admit I looooove flying long-haul. It’s the only time I really get 10 hours to myself, no email, no phone, no way for anyone to reach you or annoy you. It’s the best time to catch up on reading, and that’s very much what I intend to do in the plane tomorrow 🙂 I am also going to prepare a sandwich with healthy stuff I have at home as well as get my Hidrate Spark bottle with me to make sure that I don’t feel hungry or thirsty at the airport or on the plane. Remember: it will be a long day, you need to treat yourself a little bit!
  5. Download the Netflix app: It often happens to me that I’m traveling in planes without individual screens for every passenger, meaning I have to put up with two hours of StarWars, two hours of the Mupper Show, and another 6 hourse of American reality television. I’ve nothing against these entertainment choices, however the one after the other can drive me to an overdose of boredom and anxiety, that’s why I was so doped when Netflix announced we can now download stuff on our phones and tablets. I still haven’t watched The Get Down and I’m totally planning on doing so at this trip!!
  6. Choose your outfit for the plane: Again, this is something I never leave to the last minute. I’ve made too many mistakes in the past and ended up wearing too tight jeans, too short skirts or extremely uncomfortable shoes for 15 hours. This time I’m going with an oversized pair of jeans, my trusted black sweater and my beloved over sized scarf to keep me warm. Wearing a pair of VANS trainers to keep my shoe game comfortable as well. #win
  7. Have your documents ready: Needless to say you can go nowhere without your passport, so make sure it is the first thing you put in your purse. I also always have with me foreign currency and a public transport card/ticket. I usually keep these items in a separate bag so I can always find them quick and neat.

    Little pink wallet from Narciso Rodriguez, purse from YNot?

So, wish me luck for my big trip tomorrow. And let me know what tips you have for before boarding long-haul flights!!! xx

Travel

3 San Francisco restaurants

Remember how I told you my job takes me to places?

Last week, it was San Francisco. This was my third time in this beautiful city. I was there from Monday to Friday for work, but made the mistake and did not stay for the weekend as well…the result? HUUUUGE bummer that I had to leave on a rainy morning to come back to Brussels without having gotten even a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge!!!

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Sunrise in San Francisco – view from my room in the Hyatt Regency.

What I did do however was to try three amazing restaurants that I really could not recommend more:

  1. Liholiho Yacht Club – Ok this is one of those places I would never try on my own if it wasn’t for someone to make me go in! Not because the place does not look good enough (actually it’s really pretty, with plenty of light and great buzz), but because the cuisine was described to me as “modern Hawaiian” – and I was like “what the hell, I don’t think I’ve ever even tried traditional Hawaiian!!! Liholiho is a great place to try: super friendly stuff, food that tastes fresh and real, very pleasant crowd to look at. You can either go for a date or book the Ohana table and get there with your friends. In which case, GET EVERYTHING!!!! You won’t be disappointed. The only minus? There’s not a chocolate option in desserts – unacceptable!!!
  2. Foreign cinema – Whoever thought of this concept was purely genious. Checking the menu AND the films on show? Hell yeah! This was a real gem in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, the Mission. I come from a country where open air cinemas are a big thing, and I really miss the experience of watching a classic favourite while nibbling and drinking wine. Foreign Cinema gives you this pleasure. Unfortunately, we were quite a big group and did not manage to get seated outside. I promise next time I’m in SF and the weather is good, I’m totally going – even to watch a Chuck Norris movie!!!! The only minus? It can easily get too loud if you’re sitting inside. Not necessarily the restaurant’s fault, but still….
  3. Wayfare Tavern – I don’t know why, but this restaurant made me feel a little bit like I was in New York (I’m serious when I say I don’t know why, I’ve never been in New York!) Dark wood deco, super smart people and waiters as friendly as they can be, this is definitely a place to go back to, as it is also so closely located to the hotel I usually stay in. I tried the burger, which was quite good and really decently priced (!!!) and for the first time in my life devil’s eggs. And since then I’m crying that I’ve lost so many years not having tried devil’s eggs. Me, who I love eggs. Like really love them. The restaurant comes with a private room as well that you can hire for events. I also noticed that everyone in my group was also enjoying their drinks – another plus! The only minus? We hadn’t booked a table, but were lucky ’cause we showed up at 6.30pm for an early dinner. By 8pm we had to clear our spot, which is always a bummer…

Have you ever been to any of these restaurants? Would you be tempted to go now that you read this exquisite blog post??? 🙂

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Outside Foreign Cinema – take me back to Mission, PLEAAAASE