Are you a frequent traveler? Traveling is always a bit of a hassle, but most frequent travelers have a lot of little habits, tricks and travel tips that make traveling easier. If you don’t travel a lot, and struggle through the process, here are some travel tips you need.
I just returned from a trip to Mexico. In the past year, I have traveled to Ireland, Florida, The Caribbean, Canada, Cancun, Nashville, and made several trips to Dallas. I’ve also taken quite a few weekend trips around the Midwest. In the next year, I will travel to New York, Europe, Mexico, and a variety of US cities. It’s taken me a few years, but I have perfected the art of traveling light and making it through airports, trains, buses, ships, subways and Taxi’s without losing my sanity.
The key to traveling easily is traveling light and having everything organized. Hassles increase when you can’t quickly find the documents you need, can’t quickly access the right amount of cash, or when your things are spilling out all over the floor of the plane or depot. Being hands- free is another non-negotiable for me. Hands-free means you are safer on escalators, running for trains or the subway, and being able to handle tickets or cash without dropping your other things.
I watch people struggle with piles of luggage, unzipped bags that spill out all over, or flip -flops that fly off while they run to catch the shuttle to a different terminal. I always think, It doesn’t have to be so difficult!
Here are my suggestions for staying organized and safe during travel.
For most trips, your bags should include a 21-inch carry-on (upgrade to one with four wheels) that will fit into the overhead bin, a cross-body or back pack tote bag with pockets and organization built in and that zips and that will fit under your seat, and a smaller crossbody bag or wristlet that has RFID built in and that will fit into the tote bag since you are allowed only two bags.
The 21- inch carry can fit clothes for a week to ten days if you roll them or use compression bags. Pick a color scheme and stick with it. For example, I usually bring black and gray with a few printed or colorful shirts or dresses, and a sweater that coordinates with everything. Having clothes in one color scheme also means your shoes will match with everything. You can wear clothes more than once and live to tell about it.
You don’t need more than two pairs of shoes unless the third is beach sandals or water shoes. Wear the heaviest ones on the plane, trust me it is easier to pack the flip -flops. I bring one pair of shoes that will go with the pants and dresses and I wear comfy walking shoes. My favorite shoes are these Go Walks by Sketchers. They look a little sleeker than my usual tennis shoes and I think are more appropriate for touring than my neon joggers. I’ve even worn them under a cotton maxi dress.
I usually take one pair of jeans, which I wear on the plane. Jeans are heavy, and unless you are planning a rugged adventure trip, not the best choice. In other countries, people do not wear jeans to restaurants and they aren’t even allowed in many churches or cathedrals. They are also too warm for most southern climates. Consider Ponte knit pants instead, they are lightweight, comfortable, and in black will match everything and take you anywhere!
Your tote bag will be the key to organization. Everything you need during travel should be in this bag. Do not be one of those annoying people who make five people slide out of their plane seats so that she can get up, open the overheard compartment, pull down her big bag, open it up and retrieve a lip gloss and then make everyone get up again so she can get back to her seat.
The tote should have your medications, glasses, liquids bag and cosmetics. Invest in a plastic liquids bag that you can use over and over again. A baggie works, but breaks easily. Pay attention to the liquids requirements and don’t hold up everyone by bringing in liquids that don’t fit in the bag. They will be taken from you, and security will not feel sympathy for tossing your expensive 4 oz. bottle of face cream. Put everything into smaller bottles. Here is a liquids bag, and a set of see through bags I like. I prefer small silicone bottles; I find it difficult to get things out of the hard -sided ones.
Also in your tote should be the smaller crossbody wallet or wristlet. This should be RFID protected. Why take a chance? Take only those cards you need. I see people with overstuffed wallets searching through all of their store loyalty cards to find something. Don’t tempt fate. Make sure this bag fits your passport and phone. It then doubles as an evening purse and you won’t have to drag a big bag to dinner. I bought mine, below, from QVC.
Lastly, fill your tote with a sweater or large warm scarf or shawl, your laptop, I pad or Kindle, reading material, ear buds, snacks and a water bottle filled or bought after you are through security. Have plenty of small bills for tips and quick purchases. Have your passport, and boarding passes in a pocket where they are easily accessible. Most airports accept phone passes now, but I print them for smaller airports or third world countries.
I use a Lug travel bag. It has a strap on the back that will allow it to fit over the handle of your bigger carryon bag. It has a crossbody strap and lots of pockets so that everything stays organized. It fits under the seat on plane. It also works as a beach bag or day bag for car trips. Invest in a good tote bag with features that make travel easier such as a water bottle pocket and small pockets. My bag has a lined phone pocket, which I love. I also use this one as my every-day gym bag. It was pricey, but after a year of daily use, still looks like new.
These tips may seem pretty basic, but from my experience, are not common practice. These are key tricks used by frequent travelers, the ones who zip through security screenings, present their ID with ease, and who easily board planes and other vehicles. Traveling is stressful enough, don’t make it worse with overpacking, and haphazard organization.
Do you have any travel hacks or ideas that make traveling easier for you? If so, I’d love to hear them. I am always looking for ways to make travel even easier and more stress free.
Here are more of my posts about travel you might enjoy.