From the arranging to the booking to the flying to the navigating, traveling and all that it entails has the potential to turn anyone into a ball of stress. It’s a privilege and a freedom, but it can also be a pain in the ass. However, any seasoned traveler will tell you that there are ways to make the whole process a lot more streamlined, relaxed and smarter that themselves require very little effort or time. Whether you fly cross country monthly for work or are simply eager to get a few more vacation stamps in your passport, the five below tips will help your upcoming trips go off without a hitch.
Pack necessities in your carry-on.
If your bag has ever been lost by an airline then you already know how long it can take to get it back into your own hands. (Four months is not unheard of for international flight losses, while the average return time spans from a few days to a few weeks.) In order to avoid being left empty-handed, make sure you pack necessities in your carry-on that can tie you over for at least a few days while you figure out where your luggage is. These include a change of clothes, travel size toiletries, important medications, contact solution, noise cancelling headphones (bye bye, screaming in-flight baby) and your electronics and their chargers—make sure to charge everything pre-flight to ensure you have ample juice upon arrival.
Roll, don’t fold, your clothes.
While tedious, this packing method boasts two major benefits. For one, it’ll allow you to fit more clothing into a bag then folding does. It also ensures your clothes will arrive to your destination wrinkle-free, so if you’re headed on a business trip this is how you can ensure you’ll show up to your meetings looking fresh and crisp.
Splurge on Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
If you fly frequently and/ or simply hate waiting in lines you should definitely consider getting either TSA Precheck or Global Entry, which cost $85 and $100, respectively. Both let you zip through airport security lines, meaning you’ll never be stuck behind that guy who wore every piece of jewelry he owns and forgot his pocket knife in his carry-on again.
With TSA Precheck, you’ll be able to use expedited security lines and won’t be asked to remove your shoes, belt, or jackets when flying domestically. To obtain TSA Precheck, which lasts for five years, you simply have to submit an online application at the TSA website and go to a 15-minute appointment with a nearby enrollment center. After you’ve been fingerprinted and your background check has cleared you’ll be good to go.
Global Entry boasts all the same benefits (being approved for Global Entry means you automatically receive TSA Precheck), but will also allow you to enter into the US more efficiently when you return from an international trip. You’ll check in at a Global Entry kiosk, print a slip, and go through customs super speedily without having to fill out extra paperwork or wait in line. This option also lasts for five years and seeing as it only costs $15 more than TSA Precheck, it’s definitely the better option. The process of obtaining Global Entry is the same: you’ll need to submit an online application and set up an appointment, during which you’ll be fingerprinted and interviewed.
Bring copies of your passport, credit cards and other important documents.
Losing your passport or wallet while traveling is a huge pain. But to make replacing your misplaced or stolen items a whole lot easier, bring copies of them with you when you travel. If you lose your passport, having a copy of it to present to the nearest embassy will help expedite the replacement process as they’ll be able to see the number that was issued when you first applied to get it. It’ll also help the embassy trust that you are who you say you are. If you lose your credit cards, having their numbers and CVC codes on hand to reference immediately will help you cancel them faster and therefore shorten the time during which fraud could occur.
Make sure to keep the copies in a safe if you’re staying at a hotel or somewhere secure and hidden if you’re staying at an Airbnb. Better yet, take photos of all your important documents and save them in the cloud or on Google Drive so you’ll be able to access them anytime, anywhere.
Get a travel rewards credit card.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Travel rewards cards are specifically designed to help people on the go reap major benefits and deals when they travel so do some research into which one might be for you based on things like how often you fly and whether you prefer luxury or budget travel. If you don’t want to wait for points to accumulate, try signing up for an airline-branded credit card—you’ll often be granted several thousand miles as a bonus, meaning an entire round trip could be completely free right off the bat.