Since the holiday season is considered to be one of the busiest travel times of the year, it seems only fitting to talk about travel. I travel quite a bit. In a prior life, I worked for an airline where I traveled a lot. So I really don’t mind traveling. But I realize I’m in the minority. Many people don’t like to travel…or find it too stressful. Over the years, I learned a few tips and tricks along the way that have helped me enjoy travel so I wanted to share them with you.
I’m not going to get on a soapbox about hassles going through security or people who delay takeoff because they won’t check their luggage. It’s been beaten to death. Besides, it appears our government might be taking this issue on…but there are some simple things you can do to make traveling not seem like such a chore.
Pack only what you can carry. If I pack a big suitcase…I need to be able to schlep it around. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait for people to help you with your luggage. It’s a control issue and none of us like feeling out of control (especially where our personal belongings are concerned).
Be organized. I have this great travel wallet that stores my frequent flyer cards, a USB pen, few extra business cards, etc. It allows me to stay organized and not fumble around for flight schedules, hotel addresses, and other travel necessities. Everything is in one place. (Hint. Hint. To organizations looking for a nice recognition gift…this is perfect!)
Read a book about jet lag. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about jet lag from flight attendants. What you eat and drink has an impact on jet lag. Seriously. Learn how to take good care of your skin. These things will help you adjust when you arrive in a new destination.
Find a way to entertain yourself. It’s not the responsibility of an airline to entertain you. Their job to safely get you from point A to point B. As we have seen from recent events, it’s best to let them just focus on that one thing. So find a little place in your carry-on for something to keep you busy. Watch a video, read a book, play a game, whatever.
Speaking of entertainment, another thing to consider is getting some headphones. If snoring passengers, screaming kids, and yapping dogs drive you crazy…find a nice set of noise canceling headphones. I have a pair of Bose…but there are others. They really work and you’ll leave the plane refreshed instead of frazzled.
Remember your health. Many people have a tendency to catch a cold when traveling. I always have a little Airborne powder ready when I fly. I also bring lots of sanitizer. Most airlines don’t offer blankets anymore…but if you need a blanket, bring your own. You can usually find a little wrap at those $10 stores…perfect to take the chill off in a plane.
Lastly, think about drinks and snacks. Besides the fact that buying these items on a plane can quickly rack up the bucks, having a plan for drinks and snacks can help add a little feel of home to your travel. For example, I fly with an empty water bottle – nothing fancy, you get them at conferences all the time. Once I’m past the metal detector…I fill it with water. Eliminates the need to buy $5 bottled water. I also pack a travel coffee mug. It’s a nice big size, like my mug at home. And, to take the edge off bad hotel room coffee…I bring flavored Splenda (packs of hot chocolate do the same thing!)
Throw a couple of protein bars or some granola in your suitcase to stop the hunger pangs. I once sat on the tarmac for 6 hours. Good thing I had a bag of trail mix in my carry-on. During my last flight, US Air was charging $3 for Ramen Noodles. $3! I can buy a six-pack at my grocery store for less than $1. Highway robbery. Just sayin’…
So with a little planning, it’s possible to bring some of the conveniences of home and make your travel a bit less stressful. Post a comment below if you have any travel tips you use to de-stress your trips.0