Whether you’ll be traveling on vacation, or to spend time with family over the holidays, getting there can be stressful. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks (I hate the word “hacks”…it makes me think of cats and hairballs, and I mean this isn’t MacGuyver level stuff!) that can make travel a little more pleasant and manageable.
Before You Go…
- Even if you don’t travel frequently, it may be worth your while to look into joining an airline mileage program. There are many credit cards that allow you to accumulate miles when used for everyday expenses like groceries, gas and such. Look for airlines that are part of an “alliance,” so that miles accumulated can be used toward multiple airlines. Some offer sign-up bonuses, which give a jump-start on racking up points or miles. (This is how we’ve been able to take many of our trips.)
- If you’re planning to travel with carry-on luggage, be sure to check your airline’s size and weight restrictions. These can vary from airline to airline, and may be more strictly enforced on fully booked flights or during peak travel times.
- Consider signing up for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry (if you’ll be traveling outside the US). Though there’s a fee and some time involved to submit paperwork and show up to an interview, it will save lots of time in lines and headaches getting through security, immigration and customs. I consider this some of the best travel money we’ve ever spent!
- Be sure any toiletries or liquids you’re planning to carry on are TSA compliant and packed in a clear plastic container, easily accessible for going through security. (Though with TSA Pre-Check you can usually leave inside your luggage.) I often use the clear plastic zip pouch from my EMME bag. (Use code UNEFEMME for 20% off.)
- Download, register, and allow notifications from your airline’s smartphone app. This is a great way to stay on top of delays, gate changes, connections, and baggage claim information.
On Your Way
- Dress comfortably and in layers. Airline cabins can be notorious for fluctuating temperatures, and being able to add or remove pieces is crucial. I usually wear one of these silk tanks as a base layer, then a lighter weight top plus a sweater and/or wrap.
- If you don’t want to pay airport prices for bottled water, bring an empty bottle through security, and fill up at a water fountain on the other side. I’ve even begun to see “bottle filling stations” with free filtered water in some airport terminals.
- You may or may not need to remove shoes going through airport security, but I always wear a pair that I can slip off and put back on easily (no laces!), and always wear socks underneath. (I usually bring a pair of compression socks to wear during long flights as well.)
- Sleep aids: I’m not one of those people who falls asleep easily on airplanes. I always bring an eye mask, and earplugs. I’ve also found that taking Dramamine (original formula) about 30 minutes before I want to sleep makes me just drowsy enough to nod off for a while, without being groggy upon landing. Bonus: keeps my stomach settled if there’s any turbulence. Some people swear by neck pillows, but I’ve found them more of an annoyance than help. If they work for you, great!
- Pack a snack! Even for short trips…you never know when you might be delayed or stuck at the airport after everything’s closed. Nuts, protein bars, cheese sticks, fruit…anything non-liquid will get through security.
At Your Destination
- Forgot your shave gel? Hair conditioner works brilliantly!
- Shampoo works well for hand washing sweaters and delicate items.
- Solid deodorant can be used to reduce friction and prevent chafing and blisters. Just apply to the affected area.
- When adjusting to a different time zone, get out in natural light and walk as much as possible.
- I find that eating lighter for the first 24 hours after a flight or long road trip can help prevent bloating and “traveler’s tummy.” And don’t forget to drink lots of water!
What are your tried-and-true travel tips? Will you be traveling over the holidays?