I don’t know about you, but I have the travel bug right now. All I want to do is get on a plane and go somewhere new! Some people get a lot of stress around traveling, but traveling is for fun and excitement, not worry. To make it easier, here are a few hacks to make sure it’s as smooth as possible, and the only thing you have to worry about is which fabulous destination to pick.
Tip 1: Do not overpack
You don’t need to be lugging five suitcases all over the place, especially if you are traveling to a place known for theft or pickpocketing. A tourist dragging a whole bunch of stuff through the streets is a perfect target. Check the weather and plan outfits for each day. Take an extra outfit for “just in case”, and that is really all you need. Bonus points if you can use the same pair of shoes for every outfit. Pro-tip: pack a flat extra tote bag at the bottom of your luggage, just in case you end up buying too many souvenirs and need an extra carry-on.
Tip #2: Packing Cubes
Our parents’ generation uses packing cubes called gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Y’all, things have come a long way. Packing cubes have saved my luggage and my sanity. They typically come in sets of four to six and in different sizes for all the things you need to pack. The trick here is to roll up your clothes to put into the packing cubes. One for shirts, one for pants, one for underclothes, and you are done. The zippered sides neatly squeeze everything together in a tight little cube, making it the perfect size to put in your luggage.
Tip #3: Carry-on
If you are checking your luggage, then you only need one carry on personal item. A large purse or tote, a messenger bag, a backpack…any of these will do. Carry all of the TSA approved liquid items you might need in a small heavy-duty plastic bag (I love these from H&M ). Remember you don’t need shampoo and conditioner on the plane. This is more for your contacts and solution, chapstick, hand lotion, etc. Throw a couple of healthy snacks in there like a Kind bar or a bag of almonds, in case you get the munchies. A book or an ereader will be a friend on long boring flights, and don’t forget some headphones to plug into the movie screen if you are flying internationally. A filtered water bottle (empty before you go through security) will make sure that the recycled air doesn’t get you too dehydrated. If you are going on a long-haul, I would definitely suggest packing an extra change of clothes in your carry on. For me, this is leggings, a tunic, and a pair of undies packed flat in a Ziploc with the air squeezed out. If luggage gets lost overseas or you reach your destination and the time change puts you at the beginning of the day, you are going to want a fresh start.
Tip #4: Credit Card Notifications
If you plan on using a credit card or debit card, make sure you alert your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling. The biggest inconvenience is trying to pay for a nice dinner in another country and your card gets declined. Most companies have places on their apps and websites where you can input the dates and destinations of your travel, so that their system won’t show your purchases as unusual or fraudulent.
Tip #5: TSA Pre-check
Invest in the TSA Pre-check program. For $85 and a visit to your local fingerprinting office, you are assigned a Known Traveler Number that you can input every time you purchase an airline ticket. This gets you expedited through security so you don’t have to wait in long lines, take off your shoes, unpack your liquids and laptop, or any of that mess. You show your ID and ticket, put your carry-on through the x-ray machine, and walk right through, leaving you with plenty of time to grab a coffee and snack before your flight. So incredibly worth it. This works in any airport in the US.