Travel, especially international travel, is beginning to slowly and steadily return – at least where some Australian states are concerned.
The coronavirus pandemic clipped the wings of frequent flyers, many of whom would previously have been taking to the skies every few weeks (and often more so).
Now, after being grounded for 19 long months, passports are being dusted off (or new ones applied for), luggage hauled out of the store room, trips planned and flights and hotels booked.
With that in mind, we're asking Executive Traveller readers which of the many little prep tasks of their travel seem to spark inordinate, outsize enjoyment?
Is pulling together your itinerary – selecting your seat (and especially making sure you've got a good one) – choosing a hotel – writing your packing list – making lunch or dinner arrangements with distant family and friends?
For me, two small chores bring on pre-flight frisson.
One is selecting my seat on the flight: this somehow makes the trip more 'real', for want of a better word. Maybe it's the act of visualising the seat that comes with seat selection: looking over my notes or past flight reviews, 'seeing' the layout of the seat and its location within the business class cabin and having an even clearer idea of the view from seat 11A, for example.
Another – and this, I'm told, is quite an oddity – is working out my wardrobe list. Yes, that's a distinct task from my packing list.
The general packing list is pretty much set in stone: my 'tools of trade' (MacBook Air, iPad, charger and cables, battery pack, microphone, notepad, business cards); the travel kit (noise-cancelling headphones, local currency, local transit cards) and the toiletries kit.
But the wardrobe varies from location to location and from trip to trip, based around the itinerary: so it's a matter of looking at this itinerary (meetings and interviews, business lunches and dinners, evening downtime, maybe a day or weekend off), then planning and choosing my clothing to suit, with an eye towards a mix-and-match 'capsule wardrobe' approach.
It's a little time-consuming compared to how others seem to approach packing, but for me it's a happy indulgence done over a cup of tea and a Spotify playlist.
So those are two examples of seemingly small pre-travel tasks that, for me, punch above their weight in delivering what amounts to a dopamine kick.
As frequent travellers, what are the little prep tasks of your travel which, as Marie Kondo might put it, "spark joy"?