If you have an upcoming flight this holiday season, here are a few traveller’s tips that will save you time and trouble.
- Check the weather forecast before you pack. Will you need a heavy jacket or umbrella or
sunscreen? Here’s a printable checklist. It’s exhaustive so filter out the extras and focus on your needs.
- Use the right luggage. Do not go bigger than the size allowed for carry on because you never know when you might have to! I typically check my bag (free with status at my preferred airline) because I have a lot of liquids/gels. However, I can carry on if I have to because my bag is small enough and my liquids are in the proper plastic bag. The easiest non-backpack baggage is the four-wheel spinner. You walk it like a dog. It doth not shed nor poop. Lovely.
- Don’t overpack. No more than two pairs of shoes (plus the ones you will wear). Shoes are the biggest space hog. Roll underpants and sox and stuff them in your shoes to reclaim empty space. Bring clothes that can be mixed and matched so you can wear items multiple times in different combinations. Bring scarves and jewelry, which are small, to add variety without baggage bulk.
- Secret Weapons:
- Ear plugs: There are many kinds and you need to find the one that works for you. My recommendation is the swimmer’s ear plug made from malleable silicone–available at most pharmacies. They block out 99% of the sound outside your hotel room and muffle nearby snoring. Aaahhhhh.
- Food: Obviously you can’t carry fresh fruits, veg’s or meats over an international border
but things like nuts, trail mix, chocolate, granola bars, oatmeal packets and my personal favourite, energy balls will get you through to your destination. You don’t want to be peckish when dealing with a border guard.
- Coffee/tea: Starbucks VIA packets and/or tea bags plus oatmeal or energy balls and you don’t need to go out for breakfast!
- Secret Weapons:
- Learn how to pack. Once you know what to bring, you need to figure out how to pack it. Your goal is to get the right amount into the smallest suitcase or backpack possible. If it needs ironing, pack it in dry cleaner’s plastic and roll it. Roll everything! Poke stuff in every available space including shoes.
- Buy doubles and keep them packed.
- PJ’s: two-piece, total coverage, comfy but not bulky. Think — what could I run outside in in an emergency and not cause too much alarm?
- Liquids and gels: put all liquids and gels in a one-quart/litre plastic ziploc bag and keep it in an outside pocket of your bag or right on top of your clothes.
- Use travel cubes for easy access.
- Face: makeup and makeup tools
- Hair: comb, brush, travel dryer (leave this home if going to a hotel), hot straightener or curler, hair accessories.
- Meds: whatever you take regularly as well as some just-in-case: gut remedies, pain relievers, allergy meds, sleeping pills, etc.
- If you plan to travel internationally, get Nexus or Global Entry to speed you on your way. This will save you hundreds of hours of waiting in lines at border crossings. Both are relatively inexpensive and worth every penny! Both these programs take a few months to finalize so start now in anticipation of travel in the new year.
- Check in online 23 hours and 59 minutes before departure. Set an alarm so you don’t miss it! Most of the time, you will be able to change your seat from middle-seat-at-the-back to open seats on the aisle nearer the front. You may decide it’s worth it to pay the extra fee and choose your seat when you book to guarantee a better seat. Your choice. I never pre-choose and I always get a good seat by checking in a day before the flight. For free.
- Choose an aisle seat as near the front as possible.
- get up whenever you want without disturbing anyone.
- easily access the overhead bins.
- aisle space becomes your extra leg or elbow room.
- the closer you are to the front, the quicker you can disembark.
- you may not like people having to climb over you so get up and let them in and out. That forced movement helps avoid travel stiffness.
4 thoughts on “The Road Warrior’s Secret Weapons (and other travel tips)”
Thanks Con. I have been enjoying your postings but this one may be the most helpful yet, ( Fortunately a banana takes care of any plugging problems , at least for me. )
Josh was just in Calgary for a couple of days ..sounds like 2 -18 hr days so says my drama King. ( :
He told a funny story. He was out to dinner with a couple of superiors and they are all very friendly. They all love to try new restaurants so were at Model Milk I think he said…rather strange name …and they ordered some appetizers. One was a Roasted Oyster. Josh passed , like me not a favourite food, …which was served on a white pureed something. Assuming it was mashed potatoes possibly, Ryan takes a BIG spoonful of the ‘puree with the oyster and sauce. Josh and darren were eating until they heard this small voice say ” salt’…..they said “What?” Ryan says “It is salt” Totally deadpan. Josh said the look on his face was indescribable. They are still laughing .
All is well here in Florida . Friends are back and so ” Let the Games Begin!”
Our first games night is Friday…Catchphrase and Guesstures . We are initiating 2 new couples. What fun.
Such exciting news I have . Last year we invited friends to church…totally non going church people. They are ya=ear round residents and the church is outside in a park…all year round. There is no building , just a small office. Praise God,they have been going all summer and are now asking us. ” Will we see you in church?” Praying for God to continue what He has begun. Yeah God!!
So good to read your voice in these posts. Thanks Con for reaching out to all of us.
hugs and prayers
hi Dianne…loved the story about Josh and the restaurant. I honestly thought it was going to be about the oyster, not the salt. You know what a “prairie oyster” is right? it’s the cowboy delicacy enjoyed after branding and snipping the steers.
Great advice, love the tip on getting the seat you want on the plane, hadn’t thought about setting an alarm for that.
hi Anne. The alarm works great because it gets you in at the front of the line and there is more choice. Another thing I forgot to mention was that when I stopped crossing my legs, it removed 95% of my stiffness and pain in my hips on long flights. I taught myself to stop leg crossing by sitting on an exercise ball at my desk at home. If I absentmindedly started to cross my legs, I fell off the ball! I have not crossed my legs since 2004.