Travel takes you to the places you need to be. Now that “the holidays” are here you may be taking a trip as well. While there are tons of sites offering advice, and The Advice Sisters are known for that —
Here are our top tips for a better travel experience!
By Alison Blackman
The Journey to the Journey is a Process (the fun begins when you get there): Who said travel is fun? It is fun, once you get to your destination. You have to get to the airport seriously early just in case there is an issue, or a long line at the Security Checkpoint (who hasn’t been behind the one guy who can’t understand that change and keys and a big metal belt make the alarms fo off)? Once scrutinized by the TSA (will they really let you fly with wrapped packages…uh, no) and you’ve stuffed everything bag into your bags, put your “must-remove” clothing back on (hey, it keeps America safe), and finally get to your gate, there is likely to be a delay or a long wait on the runway (got to the bathroom before you get on that plane). You may be expecting to bring fragile items or electronics on-board only to be told you have to gate check your bag (no room for you in the overheads) and finally, once you squeeze yourself into the seat, get set to endure the inconsiderate passengers around you. Once at your destination, you might get to baggage claim to discover your bag destroyed or worse, that it’s not even there. You will, eventually, find your way to your destination. *be prepared to repeat experience ohe way home.
The vicissitudes of travel can be conquered if you follow some of these easy tips:
Plan your trip ahead of time. Planning makes a trip more pleasurable. Read about where you’re going and what you might like to do (that museum you’re dying to visit might be closed on the very day you have scheduled to be there).
Try to get everything into one carry-on. This will make it easier for you to move around and save you what can be over an hour of waiting at the checked bag area. Chances are, you don’t need more than what can fit into that one carry on if you are not going for longer than a week. Use a packing list so you don’t leave anything important behind or add what you don’t need. *note that sometimes even carry-ons must be checked at the gate, so make yours durable.
Treat yourself to travel sizes (read: How to travel light with beauty products). If you’re going away for less than 10 days most travel sized items will be used up, leaving more room in your suitcase for souvenirs, and it’s a great way to try new products.
Use lightweight luggage to beat the weight limit. If your luggage is heavy before you fill it, imagine how it will be once it’s stuffed with things. I use Lipault luggage that is not just colorful, but durable (see an advicesisters review). Overstuff a Lipault bag and it still will be below the weight limit. Lipault Luggage makes other people’s heads swivel at the airport. It happens every time!
Don’t count on carrying on your carry-on. Even if you know the type of airplane you’re going on, equipment gets switched around. Especially during the holidays, there are more carry-ons and you might be asked for any reason at all to gate check your bag. I always carry a small fold-able nylon bag in my carry on (just in case I’m forced to gate check) so I can take out my electronics, snacks and other items I want with me on the plane, or that might potentially get damaged. You can use it for a shopping or beach tote at your destination.
Do include these in your carry on or tote: slipper socks & sleep mask (for long flights), noise cancelling headphones and iPod or other music device, some kind of healthy snacks (even if you don’t eat them on the way, they might be helpful when you get to your destination).
Keep your wardrobe as simple as possible: This way you won’t pack something you can’t use more than once. . You probably won’t wear everything you pack anyway but packing a wardrobe that gives you the ability to mix and match pieces, gives you more options. Take scarves as accents. They’re lightweight and colorful and they multi-task.
Wear layers when you get on the airplane don’t over-stuff your suitcase. This will help you get more to your destination, especially if you will be traveling somewhere that you may need warmer clothing. The new, packable anoraks and down coats are great for travel because you compress them without ruining the coat. Bring at least one extra pair of shoes in case yours get too wet to wear, or get destroyed (it happens).
Ditch the paper (books and magazines add so much weight and take up so much space) and invest in an e-reader or a tablet.
Sanitizing wipes are gels are your friend. So are tissues (I’ve often spritzed a tissue with my own favorite fragrance to periodically sniff when there’s a “stink” nearby or put one over my face when someone is sneezing next to me and I can’t move mys seat).
Say NO to sick passengers: If you are seated next to an obviously very sick passenger don’t be afraid to be re-seated. Offer your seatmate some of your tissues (on one flight the man next to me used his sleeve )! If you can’t move seats, bring a cold-preventative (there are sprays, pills, vitamins and powders). These may not protect you 100% but they can’t hurt.
The way we roll: Some travel advocates believe in rolling your clothes to make more room in your suitcase. I also re-fold dirty clothes and put them in grocery bags on the way home to save space. Try it. You can also put some clothing (e.g. underwear * socks) into gallon zip lock bags. The bags compress these items, and you can use the bags on the way back for anything that might spill, wet clothing, even aromatic spices or foods.
Feel “Frisky” with Confidence: Feeling like you’ll want to be frisky on your next trip? If you pack “adult objects” in your luggage, especially in a carry-on, take the batteries out or lock the device first so they don’t accidentally turn on in your bag. Prepared not to be embarrassed to tell the security people exactly what you’re carrying when they hold it up for inspection ( read more tips on this topic).
Deal with drugs: You probably know these but just as a reminder: never pack prescription drugs in your checked bag, never bring valuable jewelry (if you must, wear it or keep it in your purse or tote), add a change of clothes to your carry-on so you can immediately change and be comfortable when you de-plane (wearing wool in a hot climate and your rooms’ not ready for hours? Not fun)!
Need more ways to make your trip easier, more successful and more fun be it for work or for vacation? Check out even more travel from advicesisters.com
Dealing with Bad Travelers: According to the travel-dating site, MissTravel.com the Biggest Travel Pet Peeves of 2015 (based on responses from 58,325 members) weren’t just inconsiderate passengers, my #1 pick is the party animal (on one recent flight a self-proclaimed “frequent flyer” in the seat behind me talked loudly non stop to everyone listening or not, wand ordering drinks, while trying to pick up the busy flight attendant).
Other travel horrors (according to MissTravel.com) were:
1 – Selfie Sticks – 42%
2 – Hogging overhead compartments – 20%
3 – Using an iPad to take photos – 17%
4 – Distraction with Social Media – 12%
5 – Smelly food on airplanes – 7%
6 – Other – 2% – I would also add: the back-of-your-seat-headrest grabber (this person jerks you backwards every time s/he gets up), the gab across the aisle talker, the loiterer in the aisle, the person who extends their seat right into your lap (at least they are comfortable), the carry-on luggage offenders, the armrest hog, the inappropriate PDA couple (that’s what the mile high club is for), the bathroom hog (his/her bathroom is “reserved” so everyone else has to use just the other one ) , the seat switcher (no seat is good enough), the window seat jumping bean (be prepared to be disturbed every 20 minutes). the party animals (usually a group of guys drinking) who won’t stay put or shut up (they’re having fun, who cares about you?)! (and let’s not forget no good, drinks that potentially spill on you (and keep you trapped in your seat), no food, the rude flight attendant who can’t be bothered, and the list goes on and on.