17 Tips to Travel Like a Pro

17-Tips-to-Travel-Like-a-ProI travel MANY times a year (more than I can count) and I used to hate it… well, maybe not hate it, but I didn’t love it. I was stressed, disorganized and found travel exhausting.

There are a few tricks that I discovered over time that make travel not just bearable but enjoyable. Whether you travel frequently or just once in a while, these are the things that have helped me to enjoy travel the most.

  1. Carry On Only – Whenever possible avoid checking bags. This is obvious.
  2. Bring an Empty Water Bottle – I always feel dehydrated and most airports have bottle fill-up stations.
  3. Check-in Online First – If you already check-in online you can still make your flight as long as you get to the gate before boarding closes (as long as you don’t check bags). This buys you time and relieves stress if you are running late.
  4. Always Bring Snacks – I hate being hungry.
  5. Get Lounge Access – I have access to the frequent flier lounges and it makes a HUGE difference (especially when flights are delayed and I’m waiting around the airport for a long time). They are quiet, have Wifi, free drinks and healthy snacks. It is like an oasis from travel noise.
  6. Accept that you Have No Control – This was the best piece of advice I got from a friend. Accept that once you get yourself to the airport you have no control over anything else that happens. Don’t get stressed over delays.
  7. Take the First Flight in the Morning – This is the least likely to have any delays.
  8. Give Yourself Buffer Time – I always make sure that I can miss at least one flight/connection and get where I need to be on time. This reduces my stress about delayed flights.
  9. Have a Backup Plan – I always have a backup plan for what will happen if something goes wrong with my itinerary.
  10. Avoid the Last Connection at Night – I HATE getting stranded at a random airport because my flight was late and I missed my connection. I’ll spend more $$ or even stay an extra night when possible to avoid a last of the night connection.
  11. Invest in Good Luggage – Good suitcases make travel better.
  12. Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones – They make flights with crying children more tolerable.
  13. Have a Game Plan for Security – Know what you need to take out and have your bags ready to easily get items in and out.
  14. Smile – Be friendly to airport staff. The constantly deal with angry people and a smile goes a long way.
  15. Keep Your Boarding Pass and ID in the Same Place – I hate it when I have to search through my purse or bag or pockets for 10 minutes to find my ID or passes. I always put them in the same place in my bag to make them easy to find.
  16. You can Ask for Full Sized Cans – If you want more than the tiny cup they give you, ask for a full sized can. They normally say yes.
  17. You can Bring Mini-Alcohol Bottles as Carry-on Liquids – Sometimes you just need a drink. You can bring mini-alcohol bottles as your carryon as long as they are in the Ziploc bag.

How to Travel Like a Pro

how to travel like a pro

I just got back from a month of travel – I was home for about 5 days the entire last month….

As a speaker and trainer I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, and I’ve developed some strategies to make business travel more enjoyable. I used to dread the hassles of flying – now I actually enjoy my time at the airport and in the air.

Since I’ve spent so much time on the road lately I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me to make the most out of traveling.

  1. Always bring a water bottle. I bring a large water bottle that can be refilled. Most airports have refill stations and staying hydrated while on the road is one of my biggest challenges. I could probably spend $50 per trip on airport water – so instead I use a refillable bottle.
  2. Get premium lounge access at airports if you have long layovers. You can get lounge access pretty inexpensively. With a credit card from the airline it is usually $30 per visit, or if you travel a lot you can sign up for a credit card that gets you access (usually about a $400 – $500 annual fee). This may sound steep, but the silence, free drinks and healthy snacks makes it easily worth it. A quiet place with good internet makes layovers much less challenging.
  3. Pack smart – carryon only. Bring as little as possible. I only bring carry on for most trips so that I don’t have to worry about checking baggage.
  4. Invest in good luggage. Great luggage will last forever, bad luggage will ruin your trip. I recently had a 2 week international trip and the wheel on my suitcase broke the first day. It sucked. You can get one REALLY good bag for the price of 2 – 3 cheap ones, and a good bag lasts forever and makes traveling better.
  5. Bring healthy snacks. You can bring fruit through security. You never know how long you may be stranded on a plane or at an airport. Bring good healthy snacks so you aren’t starving.
  6. Charge everything in advance. I hate having to try to get a power outlet at an airport. Charge everything in advance, or invest in a portable phone charger.
  7. Dress comfortably. Some people say that you can make good business contacts at the airport so you should always dress professionally. I personally prefer to dress comfortably. This makes traveling much more comfortable, and if I’m meeting a business contact at the airport I can always quickly change when I get off the plane.
  8. Book with the assumption that you’ll miss a connection. I used to get super stressed out about missing connections because that would often mean that I wouldn’t get where I needed to be in time. Now, I have lots of buffer time – I always assume that I’ll miss at least 1 connection when I book travel, so if my flight is late I don’t get stressed out.
  9. Have a backup plan. When things start to go wrong, or if my flight schedule cuts things close I always have a prearranged backup plan. This helps reduce my stress. For example, on a trip recently my connection was delayed by 5 hours, but the airport I was at was only a 3 hour drive from my final destination. If the flight got cancelled I could rent a car.
  10. Accept that you have no control. This changed the way I travel. When flights were cancelled or delayed my stress level would immediately escalate. The reality is, once you are at the airport you have no control. Accept this. Make your time there as productive as possible and accept that you can’t control what will happen – you can only control how you will react.