Astronauts Share Their Best Travel Tips for Earthlings

Aug 9, 2018

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Traveling light is a mantra for many frequent fliers, but the phrase takes on a whole new meaning when you decide to leave the atmosphere.

Travel and Leisure asked retired astronauts for some of their best travel tips. No, not how to properly suit up for a space walk before making repairs on the International Space Station — but practical advice for us meager earthlings. Here’s some of their advice:


  • “Use a checklist,” said Frederick Hauck, an astronaut who commanded multiple Space Shuttle missions. “There are many endeavors in this world that would be much better executed if people kept checklists. I have one I refer to every time I travel.”
  • “Learn to do your fair share of the work that has to be done to make the trip successful and safe,” advised Jay Honeycutt who oversaw John F. Kennedy Space Center and was director of Shuttle Management and Operations.

Pack Light

  • “Think very hard about just what you need or what you must have with you,” said payload specialist Charles Walker who completed three Space Shuttle missions. “Both volume and weight are critical for both space travel and terrestrial travel…I make sure to pack lightly.”
  • “It’s amazing how much you don’t need. I had one pair of pants for my three months in space and it was just fine,” said NASA astronaut Nicole Stott who lived on the space station. “There’s no need to have any more than a carry-on suitcase. When you travel light, a burden is lifted. You don’t concern yourself about what you’re carrying; instead you can focus on your experience.”

Experience the Destination

  • “Be open to what’s around you,” advised Walker. “And try to be mentally ready to take in anything and react to it in a calm fashion.”
  • “It’s important to be awake and experience the journey,” said Stott, “And to be surprised by what you see and feel along the way. In space, you can look out the window and really get to know Earth,” said Stott. “At first I wanted to see familiar things, like Florida, where I grew up. But soon Florida became just part of the bigger planet. You can go three miles down the road, go to the top of a building, get on a boat or on an airplane and get a new perspective on who you are.”
  • “Make sure you always have some fun,” said Honeycutt.

H/T: Travel and Leisure

Featured image by NASA/Getty Images.

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