12 quick trip tips

Planning

Double-check your documentation requirements. Did you know South Africa, won’t allow entrance unless a traveler’s passport contains at least two blank unstamped pages? Other countries―like Australia and Cuba―require a visa for entry. Know the requirements before you book your flight or you could be grounded stateside. For a complete list of entrance expectations and conditions, visit travel.state.gov/ or for a quick Visa check click here.

Opt for “nonstop” flights over “direct” flights. Unlike nonstops, direct flights can stop at other airports to pick up passengers or cargo on the way to their ultimate destination. Stops are built into the travel time, but the potential delays are not.

Purchase your ticket under the exact name that appears on your ID. It might seem like a no brainer that Bill is a nickname for William, but it may not be to the desk agent or a security officer. Not having the exact same name on the ticket as your ID can not only delay your departure, you may not be allowed to board.

Don’t wait to select your seats. If you have a disability or need extra leg room, tell the ticket agent when you make your reservation instead of waiting until you are at the airport. By the time you get to the airport those special seats may be gone.

Packing

Separate your luggage from the pack. Ribbons and bows can be torn off in the transporting process. Buy a suitcase in an unusual pattern or color.
 
Collect samples. Carry samples of cosmetics and prescription creams (which you can request from your doctor or dermatologist). Snatch up the leftover samples at your hotel or product party to use on your next trip. Don’t forget to pick up a small packet of disinfectant wipes (tray tables are rarely cleaned and dozens of germy fingers have adjusted the overhead fan.)

Bring your own blanket. Airline blankets and pillows are only washed when they look dirty so bring your own. A large scarf can be a lifesaver if you need one or the other.
 
Organize your electronics in a single layer. When you throw electronics haphazardly in your bag you have to potential to slow down the TSA X-ray technician who will have to manually search your bag.
 
Spring for the lounge. For about $50 a day you can take advantage of the snacks, drinks, cleaner bathrooms, and an outlet near a comfy chair at most airline club lounges. You also have access to the club’s dedicated ticket agents which can sometimes work miracles if you are in a pinch. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself.

Flying

Organize your in-flight necessities. Blocking the aisle during boarding while you dig for a snack or a book can delay the entire plane. Pack little must-haves in a small bag you can toss onto the seat while you put away everything else.

Stow your bag near your seat. It’s tempting to jam your suitcase into the first empty space you see, but that can slow down deplaning. Displaced luggage from passengers who have had to stow their bags further back causes them to fight downstream to collect their belongings.

Don’t get hangry. To expedite room service after a long flight, take a look at the room service menu on the way to the hotel. Either order dinner from the cab or have your front desk cler order your meal when you check in. By the time you get your room, unpack and shower, dinner will be ready.

What do you do to set yourself up for a successful trip? Let us know in the comments below!

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