The Faire Traveler: stress reducing travel hacks

By Kris Johnston

For both professionals on the circuit and fans who travel to attend their favorite festivals and faires, traveling can seem daunting! Not only do you have garb to pack (has anyone seen my favorite mug?), you have all the usual challenges of a trek. Travel rarely goes exactly as planned and that can be a good thing if you are prepared! Professional archer and performer Kris Makoa Johnston shares some of her go-to traveling guidelines. 

  1. Safety First

Problems inevitably arise while traveling; minimize problematic situations before they occur. First, be sure someone knows where you’re going, what route you plan to take, and where you plan to stay. With the convenience of today’s technology, it is easy to keep a safety buddy informed.

If you are traveling by air, download the apps for the airlines you will be using and any apps for travel arrangements that need to be made upon your arrival. If you are traveling by vehicle, get your tune-up done with plenty of time to spare, wash the vehicle to expose any potentially hazardous flaws, and make sure items such as the jack, spare tire and jumper cables, tire patch kit, fix-a-flat, and other essentials are easily accessible. If you are unfamiliar with roadside emergency problem solving, YouTube has many tutorials. A first aid kit and an emergency roadside tool kit are essential along with water and blankets.

  1. Mapping & Navigation

Always bring an atlas pertaining to the area you will be traveling. GPS and equipment malfunctions happen often and you want to make sure that you have a failsafe. 

Learn about the area you will be staying! Join local social media groups ahead of time to get a feel for the local vibe before arriving in a new place. This is a great way to find hidden gems such as restaurants and local attractions that may be off the beaten path. 

Don’t forget your chargers! There are some inexpensive ones available that are solar-powered so that even if you’re away from electrical outlets, you can still charge your devices.

  1. Bring the Party with You

Now that you are safe and have your route mapped, it is time to pack! Bring essentials such as sunscreen, bug spray, hats, protective gear, water, blankets, rain boots, healthy snacks, adequate water in reusable containers, and the like. You might even keep those items packed in a tub that can be moved easily. 

Organization is key to easy traveling. Everyone in my family has a color that encapsulates towels, utensils, cups and so on. This helps to keep the belongings and the laundry to a minimum during travel and once the destination is reached. Clear tubs or wire baskets are also extremely helpful and negates the need for digging through tub after tub, vacuum-sealed storage bags make it easier to pack a lot of stuff in small spaces.

Having the essentials within easy reach is paramount for being able to deal with these opportunities quickly, efficiently, and in a controlled manner. Don’t forget to hydrate! Yes, your original plans may have to be altered but you will have the tools at hand to be able to deal. 

  1. Save Money While Eating Well

Consider bringing most of your own food. Not only will this save you a ton of money, but it will also help keep you healthy, it will save you time. If you’re traveling in a van or RV, you may have a refrigerator, for smaller vehicles check out some of the 12V cooler options that are now available. Traveling by air? Snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, dried berries, and granola are healthy and easily portable. 

A handy app to download is the local grocery store app, which allows you to restock on food when you get to your location and get the best deals possible. Festival/Faire food is amazing but let’s face it, sometimes it is not accessible or you just want a light salad. Grocery store curbside allows you to save both time and money.

5. Faire Life Hacks

A propane shower, sturdy pop-up shelter, and costuming organization are key hacks that make faire travel life easier.  The Mr. Heater Bass Camp Boss runs off of a rechargeable battery or can be plugged into a wall outlet or 12v vehicle outlet. A sturdy pop-up shelter is so worth it. Good anchors are paramount and lowering it to its lowest height in heavy or straight line winds really helps. Clothing is an integral part of faire and having it organized, accessible, and well-maintained is key. Try using color-coded tubs, within the tubs use clear bags to sort accessories, shoes, and miscellaneous, with clothing pieces folded in such a manner that they can be seen utilizing folding techniques courtesy of Marie Condo of Netflix’s “Tidying Up”. Accessible makeup with a folding free-standing mirror is also a great way to ease frustration on those early mornings. 

6. Plan to Break Plans

A travel plan is needed in order to stay on track and preserve time, just be prepared to go with the flow and alter your plans accordingly. Is it terribly stressful when things don’t go the way we initially anticipated? Absolutely. Is that stress exacerbated by not having done the prep work and by not being willing to alter plans to accommodate your new circumstance? Absolutely.  So, make your plans, make your preparations and be ready to throw all of those out the window if need be, deal with the problem and move on. A good attitude is paramount and raises the morale of the group. As they say in archery, move on to the next target, that arrow is gone.

7. Record

Have a journal handy and write down a few things while you are traveling. Even a short paragraph every night or at a point in the trip will be a welcome memory timeline later. Pop up a quick album on Facebook, and keep it private if you would like. When all is said and done, you will appreciate having those memories.

Traveling is a true delight. Stressful things will happen in life whether you are traveling or not but there are steps you can take to make traveling less stressful when inevitable situations arise. Preparation is key and the important thing to remember is that life is a journey, may yours be a faire one. 

By Kristen Johnston

Kristen is a professional archer and lifetime performer. She began her training in dance at the age of two and pursued a career in classical ballet. After completing her BFA and MPA, her interests turned back towards archery. Training with the mantra “Do whatever it takes and start now.” has led her to two world titles, multiple national titles and numerous state, regional and local titles in longbow, recurve and Asiatic. She has been named an Archery Influencer and has been featured on programs such as The Push Archery and Quickshots. Preforming The Longbow Show and sharing the joy of traditional archery with others is her passion. Kris is honored to captain the professional shooting team “Trad Tour”.  She owns a traditional archery shop with her husband, is the mother to two children and is a Level 2 USA Archery Certified Instructor. She shares this wonderful story from her own travels:

“During our time at Oklahoma State Faire which was a 12-day run in September of 2019, our crew ran a shop, performed multiple shows a day, handled news spots, visited with our fans and completed other activities as contracted. Among our crew, we have four women, all archers and all accomplished in their own rights. The lead of our show is also female. One afternoon, I performed the show and went backstage to unstring and store my bow. My husband approached me and told me of a woman who lived in Oklahoma City and had come to see our show. He said that she couldn’t control her emotions so she had to excuse herself but to please pass the following message along to me. This woman, seeming to be in her 90s, had been an Olympic archer in the early years of the sport. She said that it was an extremely difficult world and sport for women to live in at that time and that she fought many uphill battles just for being female in a male-dominated sport. She heard that our show was coming to town and that there was a female archery lead so she had to see it for herself. She sat in the front row and I was honored to have the opportunity to perform for her and humbled that she helped carve the path for future female archers. The point is, check out shows and attractions that are happening near your location. We often miss local attractions due to the questing for something grand. Keep tabs on events in your own backyard, you never know what you could find.”

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A writer and storyteller by trade, throughout the course of my career, I have led with curiosity. Much like Alice, I love the opportunity to ask questions and look at situations through different lenses. It’s a great way to find unexpected solutions or new ideas.

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