Travel Tips + Tricks

Traveling as much as I do for work has allowed me to see parts of the country I’d probably never visit on my own. Plus, moving away from my childhood home in Michigan means that the Southwest Airlines path between BWI and DTW is like a well-traveled road for me. I’ve picked up on a few ways to make travel less stressful, from packing hacks to finding local hotspots one I’ve arrived.

Packing
    • Make a list! I always start with my handy dandy checklist then add to it based on my final destination/plans.
    • Try on all your outfits, even if you know they fit. Think about what you’ll be doing when wearing each outfit – a skirt might be the right length standing up, but look too short while sitting during an all-day business meeting.
    • Nude heels go with everything! Invest in a sturdy pair, and you’ll only have to pack those and a great pair of flats or dressy sandals. During winter travel, wear your boots on the plane to save space in your case.
    • Organize jewelry and accessories by outfit – it makes getting ready a breeze! I tie up sets of jewelry and belts in a handkerchief and pack it with each outfit so I know what goes together. Insert a picture example
    • Buy a toiletry bag! I found one at Target for less than $20 and it has been the most helpful travel accessory I’ve ever had. Find one that has a lot of compartments and rolls up nicely.

    • If you are traveling to a beach destination or plan on hitting the pool, pack a waterproof bag (I love my Baggu!) in case you don’t have time to dry your bathing suit and beach towel.
    • Clean out your purse! Digging through a pile old receipts to find your ID is no fun. Make sure you have all the essentials, here’s what I don’t leave home without: phone/charger, headphones, ear plugs, hand lotion and sanitizer, chewing gum, granola bar, aspirin, and of course my cash, credit cards, and ID or passport.
    • Pack a smaller purse with a long shoulder strap – a crossbody bag (who knew there was a term for it?!). It’s great to have a hands-free, lighter option instead of a bulky bag, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking. You can easily hold important stuff like cash and your phone, but still have room for lip gloss and small trinkets you pick up along the way.

At the Airport
  • Fly Southwest, if you can help it. They have great perks, their staff is always super friendly, offer early bird check in for a decent price, and are flexible if your plans change.
  • Keep your liquids in an easy-to-reach place, like the outside zipper pocket of your carry on. It makes the security line go a little quicker, and you can always pack it in your bag more securely one your though the checkpoint.
  • If you have time to kill, hang out in a bar or restaurant area. Grab a soda or glass of wine, plug your phone in to charge, maybe read or get a little work done… It’s much better than sitting in those uncomfortable seats and dealing with distractions.
  • Check the board for flights that have just taken off, typically those boarding areas will have open seating with comfier chairs and charging stations. Just be sure to pay attention to the time so you don’t miss important gate announcements for your flight!
On the Plane
  • Bust out your ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones. I tend to prefer reading or getting work done on longer flights, so popping in my plugs allows me to block out all distractions (and potentially chatty neighbors).
  • Grab anything you think you might need out of your carry on bag and stick it in the back pocket of the seat in front of you before takeoff. That way, everything is within reach and you won’t elbow the guy next to you when reaching for your iPod.
At the Hotel
  • If you can, unpack and organize your clothes, shoes, and toiletry items right away. I spend the first 30 minutes in my hotel room hanging my clothes and setting up my “get-ready” station with makeup, hair care supplies, etc. It makes a ton of difference when I’m not in my comfort zone.
    2014-09-12 08.32.51
  • Forget your phone or tablet charger? Check with the front desk, they typically keep a stash of forgotten cables and wires.
  • Ask for suggestions on dining and entertainment outside if the touristy areas – locals always know the best hangouts.
  • If your room has a mini-fridge (or even if it doesn’t) and you have access to a convenience store, stock up on bottled water, Gatorade, and snacks. It’ll save you money and you won’t have to drink tap water, yuck!
Other
  • Charge all expenses to one credit card so you can easily tally up how much you spent. This is especially important for work trips where you might have to submit your charges for reimbursement.
  • If you travel to the same cities on a regular basis, save location/contact info on your favorite cab companies, restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, etc. on your phone (I use Evernote).
  • Have as much fun as humanly possible!
Do you have any tried-and-true travel tips to share? I’d love to read them in the comments!

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