Viking Portraits Of Southern France: Travel Day

Chris and Lisa are in France for a sailing of  Viking River Cruises themed Portraits of Southern France.  We first flew from Orlando to Atlanta then on to the Netherlands, stopping briefly in Amsterdam for a flight to Marseilles, France.  Overnighting in Marseilles we then turned ourselves over to Viking the next morning for a transfer to Avignon where we met the Viking Longship Viking Hermod.

On this voyage, we’ll sail along France’s scenic Saône and Rhône Rivers past beautiful French countryside, exploring the famed region of Burgundy and the colorful fields of Provence.  Scroll down for the latest day.
Travel day is one that can be a long, drawn out process one just has to get through in order to experience far away places.   We call it “travel day” because that’s pretty much all we do for a 24-hour period of time when flying across the Atlantic from North America.  Still, with some forethought and good planning, travel day can be turned completely around, taken from a chore to one of the most delightful parts of travel.

Many travelers who have not done a European river cruise or visited Europe in any way, don’t do so because of a horror story or two heard about travel day.  Lost luggage, delayed or canceled flights, political unrest in an area or some other travel mishap can deter would-be river cruise travelers from even trying. We have had all those things and more happen but still plug away at making travel day an enjoyable experience, as it should be.

Not long ago in Travel With Only Carry On Luggage: Here’s How, I told the story of to go about modifying travel to make doing so with just carry-on luggage a reality.  After two different airlines lost my luggage on two consecutive trips, something had to be done and the move to travel with only carry-on luggage completely eliminated the chance that an airline would lose it ever again.  That change also saved time by skipping lines to check luggage on the front end of air travel.  On the back end,  skipping the bag claim area also saved more time.  Not standing there crossing our fingers, hoping our luggage would arrive reduced stress too,  going a long way to making travel day more enjoyable.

That plan worked well for me, traveling alone.  When this Viking Portraits of Southern France river cruise rolled around, Lisa would be joining me. I was hesitant to ask Lisa to travel with only carry-on luggage but she liked the idea, once I explained the benefits.  I think the benefit of less stress was of more interest than the time-saving qualities.  Apparently, the stress I experience when traveling is more noticeable than I imagined.

Using techniques and the spirit of travel outlined in Travel With Only Carry On Luggage: Here’s How, we reduced Lisa’s packing to one small carry-on and a personal item also.  Putting the plan to the test on the way to France, it worked.  No lost luggage, easy on and off the plane and in and out of airports.

Adding to the enjoyment of travel day, a few other new guidelines I had tried on my own that were validated on the flights for this trip by Lisa too.

  • Order a vegetarian or other bland meal or light fare from the airline in advance– Trying to sleep full of heavy food that will not be worked off on a 8+ hour flight with little movement is difficult. Lighter fare often provides energy but not prevent sleep.
  • Skip the alcohol- Skipping the wine, beer or cocktails in the air has long been recommended as a way to reduce the effects of jet lag.  Say what you will about that, alcohol might put one to sleep quickly but not for long.
  • Thinking Ahead, Personalized-  I carry a flight bag, actually an old amenity kit bag received when flying business class.  In it I have the things I am likely to need during flight; prescription medications, my good earplugs, KIND energy bars, hand sanitizer, etc.  That prevents having to rummage through carefully packed carryon luggage in flight.
  • Water Bottle– Being hydrated is one of the biggest challenges of those who travel frequently.  We bring empty water bottles which will make it through security screening and keep them filled in flight.
  • Creamer/Sweetener- Travelers who use more than one creamer or one pack of sugar in coffee have to ask for more from flight attendants.  In the loud environment of aircraft in flight, that can be difficult.  Skip the situation altogether by bringing a small quantity of creamer and/or sweetener in that flight bag mentioned previously
  • ...And Balloons For The Kids- Guess what?  Kids on airplanes cry.  It’s just what they do and being caught between two of them can make sleeping on an overnight flight or working during a daytime flight hard.  Better idea than hoping the children will die, bring along a tiny shiny toy or balloon and engage the child and it’s parents.  You’ll turn around what can be a really bad part of air travel into a positive one and feel good about it too.
  • You Have The Power- On long flights many travelers hope for an outlet in the area of their seat.  If they get it, great.  If not, they are in trouble when it comes to charging electronic devices.  At airports, the same situation.  We totally eliminated the problem with a HyperJuice backup battery.

Travel day and a good night’s sleep behind us, we return to the Marseilles airport where a Viking greeter is meeting passengers as they arrive.  We’ll drive a bit over an hour to meet Viking Hermod, already waiting for us in Avignon at the same location we visited earlier this year for the Guinness record-breaking launch of 18 new Viking Longships.

Come along with us from leaving home to returning and everything in-between right here.  We’ll be posting live accounts of what happened along the way In fact, here is a handy guide with links to where we can be found and followed: Live Event In Progress daily blog posts and this Day by Day account of our trip (see below)

Facebook- Facebook page daily posts and photo albums

Twitter- Live posts – hashtags to follow: #VikingTravels  #VikingLongships

Instagram– Live photo posts with commentary/captions as they happen- most recent posts here at (on the right)

Flickr- Live photo-only posts and photo albums

Google+ Posts from, all in one place

Spotify- River Cruise Playlists 

Tumblr Live photo posts, as they happen, from me; like Instagram without captions.

Tumblr Bonus: Lisa’s Tumblr, themed “The World As Lisa Sees It” posts one photo each day as it has for years.  Follow along to see how Lisa experiences this trip as well.

Pinterest- Photo boards for each place we visit, Viking Hermod and a roundup of Viking River Cruises Portraits of Southern France itinerary

Exposure- Photo Storybooks for each event

Have questions for us before, during or after the event?
We are Vikings and always in touch

Chris is on location this week, sponsored by Viking River Cruise touring in Europe by river.  As always, Chris provides the details to let readers decide what resonates (or not) with them in an unbiased, factual manner.