Tips for Smooth Travel

In the last few years since I moved away from my home state of Wisconsin, I have become a pretty regular traveler between visiting friends and family, as well as generally traveling for leisure and for work. Like everyone, I am still susceptible to setting my alarm incorrectly and nearly oversleeping my flight (I mean, I’ve never done that). However, I have come to rely on a few standards for travel, and I’m pleased to be sharing them now.

1. Arrive to the airport early. That means you should set not just one alarm but also a backup alarm. Isn’t it better to have an extra half hour to kill than have to try to convince the agent to let you in after the gate has closed? Is that extra half hour of sleep really worth potentially missing a day of your vacation?

2. Only travel with smaller electronics. At security checkpoints you will have to remove all laptops or large electronic devices from your bags, while you are now allowed to leave small electronics like iPads and phones in your bags. Also, you are able to use smaller electronics during the entire plane ride, whereas laptops are allowed more limited use in the air.

3. One plastic bag for toiletries. Put everything you might think could even be considered a liquid in that bag. That means lip gloss, toothpaste, and anything else you think might count. If you’re being extra cautious, you’re much less likely to get stopped at security.

4. Pack lighter in order to carry everything on board the plan with you. Your luggage won’t get lost, and you won’t waste valuable vacation time standing around, waiting for your luggage on the carousel.

4a. There is one caveat to the previous suggestion: if you have a short layover or know you’ll be taking a very small plane on one leg of your trip,  you may not want to do this. I recently had a layover of only 30 minutes from landing to takeoff, and my carry-on suitcase had been put beneath the plane because the plane I was on had too small of overhead compartments to fit it. I nearly missed my plane waiting for my luggage to be brought up from beneath the plane.

5. For your flight to your destination, bring disposable entertainment when possible. It’s nice to be able to read a magazine on the way to your destination, leave it there when you’re done, and fill the empty space with the souvenirs you have picked up. If you watched the new movie ‘Wild’ recently, this is a variation of burning pages of books you have already read, but for those who don’t have the heart for book-burning. So, most of us.

6. Some tricks for packing a suitcase: Pack your shoes and other heavy items on the bottom half of your suitcase as you hold it upright. That will help keep your suitcase from toppling over. Wear your largest shoes on the plane (for ladies, probably any boots you’re carrying). Also, rolling up your casual items will help conserve space.

I hope to continue to add to this list as I get even better at not missing flights, and will continue to share. In the meantime, add your suggestions for me in the comments section!

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