While jet-setting around the globe may seem glamorous, all the steps leading up to takeoff aren’t always a slice of heaven. Packing a suitcase, navigating an unfamiliar city and hailing down a taxi or Uber are all stressful. Fortunately, a few practical travel tips and tricks can make your trips smoother and more relaxing. Consider these five strategies the next time you soar above the clouds.
1. Say It with a Smile
The first step to a stress-free travel experience? Keep a smile on your face and maintain a positive attitude. It may be challenging at times when you’re dealing with flight delays or cancellations, but if you can keep your spirits up — and your requests polite — you’re well on your way to your destination. Even though you might feel like making angry demands, being friendly and understanding with staff during stressful situations could go a long way — think upgrades or itinerary changes.
2. Limit Luggage
Millennial travel is minimalist travel. One way to keep stress at bay is to limit your luggage. No need to worry about losing anything if you have one bag in tow. Bring only a carry-on, check in for your flight online, and head straight to security — easy peasy. If you need a coat, then wear it on the plane instead of allowing it to take up room in your luggage. And, because you won’t be checking any baggage, you won’t have to wait for it at baggage claim when you land. How’s that for a quick getaway?
3. Be Packing Prepared
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, make sure to attach personalized luggage tags to your carry-on in the event your bags get misplaced or something unexpected occurs. For example, overhead compartment space on overfull flights disappears quickly, and your bag might get checked after all. Save space by packing outfits that easily transition from day to evening, and choose shoes and accessories that match all outfits to avoid bringing multiple. Check the weather at your destination, and choose clothing accordingly. Finally, opt for wrinkle-free fabrics when possible.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
For utmost efficiency while traveling, handy apps like OpenTable and DoStuff ensure easy restaurant reservations and fun things to do. Most airlines allow you to check in early and email boarding passes straight to your inbox. Use SeatGuru to see where you’ll be sitting in advance and to get a floorplan of the airplane in case you need to request a seat change. In case of bad weather, you can also check your airline’s website (or app) using your flight information to ensure your flight is still on time.
Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can use your favorite map while driving your rental car from the airport to your first destination. Keep any necessary customer service numbers saved in your phone — or at least handy — so you can contact the right person if something goes awry during your travels.
5. Join a Rewards Program
If you’re a frequent traveler, then airlines, rental car companies, and hotels often have special loyalty programs that are worth taking advantage of. You may receive special treatment for things like early boarding for flights, premium hotel rooms, or first-class upgrades. Some rental car companies even deliver rental cars to rewards program members personally. No need to take the airport shuttle.