This post has been rumbling around for a while and I am glad to finally get this out. I have had the ability to do some travel to various parts of the world and I have picked up a couple of tips and tricks. Some things have changed over the years and some ideas are timeless. Some of my tips will apply more to business travel and some for that leisure trip to see your favorite aunt.
Be prepared to wait. If you are traveling alone bring some work, a busy time project or some form of amusement other than electronic. It can be as simple as a crossword puzzle but it helps time pass while you wait. If you are traveling with children this is doubly important. In spite of all the good planing on your part as a traveler and the airlines part, stuff happens that cause delays and cancellations and it is necessary to be flexible as possible.
I occasionally am bad at allowing the two-hour arrival time at smaller airports. Recently that came back to bite me since everything that could go wrong did. Traffic getting there was extra heavy, the lines were long at the counter and I wanted to check a bag. The line for TSA moved at a snail’s pace and only 1 person was checking ID’s. They needed to do an extra pat down on me at the checkpoint. I ran in stocking feet to the gate and they had already boarded everyone. I had just enough time to put my shoes on before I boarded the aircraft. I did have to gate check a bag and held my breath that my electronic item inside would survive intact.
If at all possible pack everything for that long weekend in a backpack. For children all their entertainment and snacks plus one change of clothes, for a domestic flight, in their own backpack. Even a 2-year-old can handle that and it empowers them to know they are in charge of their own stuff. I have done 4 days in London with just a backpack and it is liberating to not have to lug everything you own along.
Try not to bring shampoo or hand lotion at all if possible. Hotels have that available, if you are staying with family or friends just let them know if you have a special need or brand that you can only use. Also offer to send money to cover the cost for that designer shampoo you need.
I know some of these sound like pretty basis suggestions, but unless you travel a lot you may not think about the fact that you will have to pay 3 times more for that candy bar at the airport. Put it in your purse and have it when you are seated on the airplane, also remember that empty water bottle to fill at the nearest fountain once you pass through security. I always have some kind of snack in my bag so I don’t have to wait for the flight attendant to bring water and pretzels.