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Monday, March 12, 2018

7 Tips to Making Travel Easier

Travel is honestly one of my favourite topics of conversation.  I'm sure that's not shocking to anyone that knows me and/or has read this blog.  I've been asked before to share some of my tips and tricks for easy travel - here are some of my favourites.  Keep in mind that not all of these are ideal for every trip, so it depends on what kind of travel you're doing, but hopefully you find some good information.

1 - Store your passports somewhere that is easily accessible.... but not TOO easily accessible

  • This seems like a confusing tip, but here's what I mean.  Have you ever been in that moment of boarding and you're frantically searching your carry-ons for where you put the passports?  I've been there.  Those are stressful moments.  You don't want to leave your passports too easily accessible, as they can easily be taken from your bags, but you need them close by, how do you handle that?    I use a carry-on bag that has an inside zipper pocket.  I dedicate that pocket to our passports.  

2 - Keep all of your confirmation numbers together.
  • Hotels, rental cars, airfare, whatever it may be, even if you have never had issues checking in anywhere before, it's a good idea to keep that information handy.
  • If you are someone relies heavily on your phone/tablet/latptop for that information, make sure they are well charged.  Nothing like running in to an issue and realizing your phone is dead and you can't access your confirmation numbers.  Similarly... if the information is stored in an online cloud or email account, make sure internet access won't be an issue.
  • I stay "old school "  with this one and I keep hard copies of all of our confirmations.  In fact,  I make a little booklet with all of our booking information in the order we would be accessing each of them.  I also include any hard copy maps/directions we may need as well.

3 - Keep valuables, a tooth brush, hair brush, and extra pair of underwear (and bathing suit... depending on your destination) in your carry-on.
  • Sure... the valuables seem like common sense.  But when I suggest the rest, people often look at me like I'm crazy.  It seems like a lot, but if your luggage doesn' arrive with you... those items can be lifesavers.
  • Just because you have a direct flight... that doesn't always eliminate the risk of your luggage getting lost or sent to the wrong location.
  • This suggestion leads me to my next tip....

4 - If you can, travel with carry-ons only.
  • This is a tricky one.  You really have to be a skilled packer to pull this one off.
  • Evaluate whether you will have access to laundry facilities on your trip.
  • Pay close attention to the baggge size limits.  Don't risk bringing a bag that's too big.
  • This does mean more stuff to lug around but the payoff could mean having all of your items with you, no lost luggage, no waiting at luggage carousels, no checking luggage. 

5 - Carry some easily stored snacks in your carry-on/backpack/purse.
  • Always handy to have a little snack with you in your carry-on, but make sure your snack complies with airline rules (ie - no liquid treats).
  • This doesn't just apply to flying - bringing a snack on a hike, to a park, beach, etc, can be a lifesaver if you run in to any delays.
  • Granola bars, gummy snacks or crackers are ideal - try to keep your snack nut free in the event that there is anyone with allergies close by.

6 - Have a plan.
  • I'm not saying you should plan every minute of your vacation, but having a general idea of what you're going to do and how you're going to get there.
  • While I love technology, it's also good to have a backup plan in the event you don't have access to data/cell service.  Either have some back up hard copies of documents you may need, or have an idea where a library, internet cafe, or other facility where you may be able to access internet if you need to.
  • Now while I suggest that having a plan is good, it's also important to.......
7 - Be flexible!
  • I cannot stress this one enough.  Things may go wrong, it's important to be able to "roll with the punches" and not let a disruption ruin your whole vacation.
  • If you are flying - flights are frequently delayed or cancelled - especially in winter, but even in seemingly good weather.  It's good to keep this information in mind when booking flights.  While it's not fun to spend a couple hours in an airport - it's even less fun to run through a busy airport to arrive at your next gate just to discover you missed the flight.
  • If a flight is cancelled - check with the airline to see when you can be re-booked, and make the most of your delay.  If you're at your home airport - maybe you get to go home and double check that you didn't leave anything unlocked, double check you didn't miss anything being packed in your luggage.  If you're not at home - check and see what kind of compensation, if any, the airline is offering - a night in a hotel?  Food vouchers?  Enjoy what you are offered.  It's just another chapter in your adventure.
  • Check in to your hotel and it's not what you were expected?  Check with the hotel about changing your accommodations, or what cancellation fees may be if you want to change locations all together.  
  • And sometimes, disruptions are just wholly unpleasant.  It's ok to be disappointed or dissatisfied, just look to your next steps and try to move on to something more pleasant.

So those are some of my tips.  Do you have some of your own?  Feel free to share in the comments section or join me on social media to discuss!

Happy travels!

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