Many people avoid traveling by air simply because they feel it’s an enormous burden, both on their wallets and their minds. With airports and airlines cutting costs across the board, many travelers have noticed dips in service and hospitality. But by making a game plan for yourself prior to traveling, you can reduce much of the stress typically associated with flying. Here is a blueprint for how you can make traveling easy:
Make your suitcase identifiable: Put some identifiable marker, such as a ribbon or sticker, on your suitcase so you will be able to identify it.
Put a business card inside: If your suitcase is lost or badly damaged, they may open it to try and identity the owner.
Don’t check valuables: Few airlines insure damaged valuables, especially expensive, irreplaceable ones. Play it safe and don’t put your valuables in a bag you plan to check.
Make a travel bag for toiletries: It sounds tedious, but if you’re a frequent traveler it will make your life much easier.
Getting through security
Have a formula for keeping track of your wallet, cellphone and keys: Many travelers come up short after going through security, missing something or leaving it behind in the mad scramble to strip down and pass through the metal detector. Stay organized and keep a mental checklist that you can reverse engineer.
Anticipate the scanner: Speaking of the metal detector don’t wear accessories, such as jewelry or piercings that could cost you time and sanity.
Outsmart the airport
Frequent fliers: Look for good rewards programs for frequent fliers. The best benefits go to the elite fliers with 100,000 miles under their belt, but elite status can be reached with much less and can be used to avoid long lines
Get a day pass at airline club: Airline clubs are great for relaxing but, more importantly, if your flight is cancelled you will be able to rebook much easier with a membership to one of these clubs.
Prior to flying, look for credit cards that offer free checked bags, early boarding, and reward miles: but look out for annual fees!
Simplify boarding: Already have your boarding passes printed. This saves you time at the airport and makes it less likely you’ll get bumped in the event of an overbooked flight. These days you can even use your smartphone to present your boarding pass.
Enjoying the hotel
Once you’re checked in, do yourself a favor and memorize the route to the nearest fire escape: especially if you’re on one of the upper floors. And, perhaps more pertinently, keep your room number handy. Who hasn’t had to take return trips to the receptionist’s desk because they forgot their room number?
Obviously, there is no sure way to guarantee an easy-going day of travel. But by heeding some of the tips listed above you can at least maximize your chances of maintaining your sanity and getting you and your luggage to and back from your destination in one piece.