With TSA lines longer than they’ve ever been, security being more and more of an issue, and it also being the busiest time of year for travel, things can get hectic. While I love traveling, I hate the process of getting from one place to the other. There’s nothing about it that isn’t stressful! Luckily there are some things you can do prior to and during your travel that can make the whole experience much less trying.
Get Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check
I cannot recommend this more! While some may see paying $100 for Global Entry an extravagance (especially if you don’t travel internationally often), the fact that you automatically receive Pre-Check status for all future domestic flights is absolutely worth it. In addition to skipping the long security lines at every airport, you don’t have to remove your shoes, laptop or take out/rearrange anything else in your carry-on. It makes the whole screening process a breeze!
Book Your Flight On A Weekday vs A Weekend
I know this is not always possible, especially if you can’t take more time off work, but book your flights for during the week if you can! The airport is much less crowded on weekdays than on a Saturday, for example. Also, while you may think booking an early morning flight is the best way to go, that’s actually the most busy time of day at an airport – between 4am and 10am. Try to book your flight for lunchtime or later!
Pack Several Days Before Your Trip, Not The Night Before
I’m a firm believer in taking plenty of time to evaluate what I’m packing so I know I’m bringing the right stuff and I don’t forget anything important. I usually start packing 3-4 days before a flight. That way if I realize I need to get something dry-cleaned or hemmed, I still have time to do it!
Create An Itinerary and Print Out Hard Copies
If I’m headed somewhere new, or somewhere I’ll be doing more than just lounging on a beach, I create an itinerary. It helps you make room for all of the important destinations and sights in the city, and gives you a rundown on when and where the meals are, so you aren’t wasting time trying to figure it all out once you get there. Printing out and itinerary and giving it to your whole travel group is a great idea so that everyone is on the same page!
Weigh Your Luggage Before You Leave The House
I bet there’s not a single person reading this blog who hasn’t ever had to rearrange things in their checked bag due to it being overweight. It’s happened to me plenty of times, and I don’t even want to tell you how many overrage charges I’ve acquired. After I got back from my five-month stint in London (and spent a fortune on overweight bags) I picked up this luggage scale so I could weigh my bags before even leaving the house. That way if my bag is too heavy, I can do all the rearranging before stepping one foot out the door. It makes the check-in process at the airport so much easier!
Use A Specific Pocket or Pouch To Keep All Of Your ID’s and Documents
Since I always carry my camera bag along on flights, I just put all of my documents and ID’s in one of the zippered interior pockets. The bag never leaves my side, so it’s a safe place to put important items. For those of you who aren’t always toting around a laptop and giant camera, I recommend grabbing one of these see-through pouches to throw in your travel tote. They’re perfect for keeping your most important documents and items contained and separate from the rest of your bag’s contents. Easy to grab and switch out to other bags as the seasons change too!
Book Transportation to Hotel Before You Leave
I get very nervous when it comes to ground transportation, especially in countries like Mexico or Argentina. I always like to book transportation from the airport to the hotel prior to arriving, so I know exactly who to look for and can beeline straight to them. Taxis are fine in a bunch of places though – I took them in Poland, France, England, Ireland, etc, but I wouldn’t recommend it for all destinations. Do your research and find out what the safest option is – you can also contact the concierge at your hotel and get their recommendations!
Bring Along An External Charger
Maybe it’s because I’m so dependent on technology (sad) these days, but nothing stresses me out more than a low battery on my phone. I like to always have an option to call someone, whether that be my mom or the police. In those moments where you need battery power most, I find it’s a good idea to have one of these on hand. You can plug it in to your phone, laptop or tablet with a USB cord and it will bring it back to life. This one actually provides EIGHT complete battery charges for your phone, and has the ability to charge two devices at once.