10 Tips to Make Traveling Easier & More Enjoyable

Hello World! I wanted to list out some helpful tips that I’ve been using when traveling. I didn’t create this list in one go, but I’ve been learning from mistakes over several years.

Now, I’m no expert, but my father worked for United Airlines for many years, which made us fortunate enough to take quite reasonably priced flights. This opportunity enabled us to travel to Holland to see my family every February. I have also been on a few flights here and there within the United States. And, one year I spent my whole summer traveling to Maine every weekend by car. I may have not traveled as much as many others in this world have, but I do have some mileage behind me. 

I thought long about what to include in this list. Most of it is actually problems I’ve encountered while traveling and how I’ve learned from them. Some of these things I would have loved to know before hand. 
1. Get Psyched, Soon
Start planning, dreaming, researching! Getting excited about your trip is never a bad place to start.

2. Write Everything Down
Create lists of all your wishes and ideas. If you want to do something while you’re on vacation, write that down. When you’re closer to your travel time, you can take those lists and compile a primitive itinerary so you’ll have a better idea of what your holiday will look like (and where you can add in extra activities!).
3. Plan Your Outfits
Plan individual outfits, rather than throwing favorite clothing items into your suitcase. This will give you an idea of what exact pieces and accessories you need to bring, rather than just guessing! If you’re really “plan ahead” oriented like I am (with some things, anyway), write down the days you’ll be traveling and create a potential outfit for each day. Then see where you can reuse clothing items and cut back on unnecessarily wasted space. 

4. Become a Small-Bag Hoarder
Start up a collection of smaller bags. Makeup bags, over-the-door-hanger bags, pencil cases, whatever. Bring as many as you can when you’re traveling. The more compartmentalized your packing is, the easier it will be to pull something out when it’s needed. I like to start with a medium sized carry-on, a medium suitcase (no large/extra large for me!), and then put many small-bags into each. I’ll have a liquids bag, an “accessory” bag, an “under-wear” bag, an “office-supply” bag, a “snack” bag, a “tech” bag…. And more! Leave nothing loose in your carry-on or suitcase. 

5. Budget Reasonably
Do you know you can’t resist the temptation of duty-free? Do you get extra “hangry” when traveling? Budget for it! Don’t kid yourself. Bring money for those things too. That way you don’t accidentally spend your public transport budget on a new perfume or bizarre gadget (thanks, SkyMall!). Do keep in mind that you don’t want to be carrying around too much money. You are, after all, in an airport with loads of other people you don’t know. 

6. Live in the Moment
You have a plan, you make it to the airport and then your flight is cancelled. WHAT? It has happened. Maybe you’re traveling by train and it’s delayed. It can happen. You could be driving and a winter storm prohibits you from reaching your destination. It happens! You can’t be disappointed and shocked if something like this comes up. You’ll need to have a level head so you can plan a way around this block. Maybe another flight, or train. Or perhaps an impromptu mini-vaca where you are stranded. Make the best of any situation!
7. Eat While You Can
This sounds silly, but hear me out. Especially when traveling by plane, you aren’t exactly sure when your next meal will be. You can assume you’ll eat everything offered by the Sky diner, but what if you find it absolutely dreadful and would rather skip out? Or perhaps you plan to rely on the convienient fast-food joints in the terminal, but if you do you’ll be rushed to get to your flight, or worse, miss it! Then you’ll be hungry, and cranky. That is not the sound of an enjoyable flight. Eat light, of course. Don’t shovel food in every chance you get, but keep a moderately full belly or keep snacks with you that you know security will not confiscate. This will ensure you’ll always be happy and energized.
8. Keep Charged
I’m not talking about with coffee, although that’s a good tip. I suggest charging your tech items (especially phone and laptop if you are traveling with one) at any chance you get. Some plane seats offer a wall outlet for charging things but I’ve not always been so lucky. Also, you may not have the opportunity to sit next to a wall outlet in another airport. Use what you have now, instead of assuming you’ll have that same opportunity later!

9. Know Your Time and Place
Make sure you know when and where you need to be at all times! It helps to know where you need to be when your method of transportation is leaving. For example; when first making it through airport security I will bypass all terminal shopping and locate the gate from which my plane is departing. Then, when I have a good judgement of where and how far my gate is from all shopping and dining in the secure area, I allow myself to go off and wander. Keep an eye on the time, and give yourself plenty of extra minutes to get to and from where you need to be. Overestimating never hurts!

10. Be Safe & Enjoy!
This is a bit self-explanatory. Enjoy your travel time, which I know can be easier said than done for some. But keep in mind that this opportunity is something that many do not have the ability to experience. Be thankful. On the other hand, stay cautious. Don’t be so carefree that you forget you’ve got lots of personal information hanging around your neck. Keep watch of your bags. Don’t leave personal items on counters, EVER. Even if you think you’ll pick it right back up. Be smart. Be reasonable!

I hope you’ll have read this in time to learn from my mistakes and not make them on your own whilst traveling. If you have anything to add to my list (as I’m sure there are many things I’m missing) leave a comment and share your experience! We can all learn something! Safe Travels!!
Much Love,
-Stephanie Eva

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