Re-Evaluate Your Travel and Packing Habits

1 December 2020 By Kylie O'Brien
open suitcase with hat and camera

Kylie O’Brien has worked on some of the world’s most magnificent vessels with amazing people for more than 13 years. A graduate of The Australian College of Applied Psychology, she is the author of Crew Wanted, The Stewardess Bible, The Chief Stewardess Bible, The Inside Job, and has been a monthly contributor to Dockwalk magazine for more than five years.

It’s September as I sit down to write this monthly column. As the world is currently dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a complex and sensitive time for travel. So why would I write about traveling amidst such a difficult time? The simple truth is for the love of travel.

Wanderlust is “a strong longing for or an impulse towards wandering” (according to Merriam-Webster). We all know that yachties love to travel. So, while the coronavirus has thrown the world into turmoil, superyacht crew have learned to go with the flow in many ways. Fortunately, many yachts have found a safe haven to weather out COVID-19, which means this is the perfect time to re-evaluate travel habits and to discuss helpful travel tips.

Packing: Less is More

I’ve heard this expression for most of my life and I couldn't agree more when it comes to packing for the yacht. The fact is, whether you’re employed temporarily or have a permanent contract, you can only travel with a certain amount of luggage weight. Further, as a superyacht stewardess, you will be traveling a lot via several modes of transportation and must learn to pack the essentials only.

Luggage and Gadgets

The concept of becoming a traveling nomad has become the norm for so many people in recent years. More people are embracing the bohemian lifestyle of mixing travel and work. For superyacht crew, the concept of combining travel with work is a way of life. There have been some ingenious luggage ideas created by the traveling nomad community, which can be likened to a Swiss Army knife. The notion that a bag can function in so many ways is inspirational.

The most important point to make when discussing luggage is that it is necessary to invest in quality luggage — which should ideally be soft for easy storage on board and waterproof. Use packing cubes, embrace a capsule wardrobe (which includes all the basic essentials), and be smart about what you put in your carry-on bag.

Speaking of gadgets, with the average crewmember owning a laptop, tablet, camera, and phone, it’s advisable to use a cable case to keep all those unruly cables and chargers in order. Look at using a solar power pack when traveling. This enables you to be fully charged without the stress of finding a power socket or adapter.

Taxi Etiquette

Stewardesses are experts in etiquette, but it always helps to get reminders in areas like taxi etiquette. For instance, with geographical differences in how you hail a cab, you should keep the following in mind: In Nice, France, you cannot hail a taxi on the street. Rather you either need to call the cab company or go to a taxi rank and wait for one. In the U.S., you can call for a cab or hail one on the side of the road. But wherever you are in the world, make sure the cab is licensed, with this information clearly on display.

Of course, nowadays, all taxis carry a card reader for ease of payment and with the rise of Uber and other rideshare services across most cities, you can easily book a ride via their app. In any case, it is always wise if you are going out in a foreign city to have a safe way to get back to the yacht. The yacht’s local agent will be able to provide you with the district’s taxi numbers.

Other important things to keep in mind: Never eat anything during a cab ride and if you have a drink, make sure it has a cover. Don’t leave any trash, don’t make any demands that could put you or others in danger, and always leave an appropriate tip.


Seasickness is one of those ailments that will haunt even the most accomplished sailors. Even those who have the steadiest sea legs have succumbed to motion sickness from time to time. So how can you as a professional seafarer manage possible seasickness?

In my experience, there are two main ways of dealing with seasickness. If you know that you’re susceptible to motion sickness, then prepare yourself before departure. Take Dramamine, Bonine, or similar early. Wear sea bands, drink water, eat sensibly, and if possible, stay out on deck.

The second method comes in handy if you do not have the luxury of sitting back on the voyage. Follow the above recommendations when possible and keep busy, don’t go below decks if possible, take your time doing tasks, and rest assured that for most people the symptoms will pass within 12-24 hours.

Superyacht crew are both professional seafarers and travelers. It will take a little time to find the best travel routines that work well for you. With a little time and effort, you will be traveling around the world effortlessly, effectively, and hopefully without a care in the world.

This column is taken from the December 2020 issue of Dockwalk.


More from Dockwalk