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12 Tips for Travel & 10 Favorite Carry-On Bags

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Let’s face it, those of us who travel during the holidays, will soon be packing for our holiday visits with family and friends.  Our family holiday destination is only a car ride away, which
makes packing a little easier, but for those who must fly, your trip requires a little more planning.  I travel so much with work these days, I’ve learned great tips I wanted to share with you.  Hopefully these tips will make your travel a little easier.  If you are a frequent business or holiday traveler and have a tip of your own to add please leave comment with your tip.  
We can always benefit from learning from each other.  
Travel Tips
Let’s start with preparations at home:
1. Pick a Good Seat On The Plane –  Use to pick your choice seat. 
1. Don’t over pack.  Airlines are charging premium fees for baggage these days, so pack as lightly as you can.  The best way to pack lightly is to plan ahead.  I wrote some tips about packing in this post.  Look at your trip schedule and plan your wardrobe accordingly.  I always start with basic pieces and add scarves and accessories to change the outfit up.  Did you know there is an FREE app called Packpoint creates a packing list for your trip?  All you do is input your information of destination, length of stay and activities.  Packpoint takes into account the weather too.  Rumor has it that all airlines are going to start charging for any bags even take on bags, some airlines already do.
2.  Pack Smart! I wrote a post on one of my favorite ways to pack when I went to China here.  Since that trip, I have found packing cubes like these and love to use those too.  The point of both is to easily see find what is in your luggage.  Cubes are especially great for packing as a family.  Each person can have their own cubes and all the cubes can be packed together so this eliminates tons of luggage.  That being said, it is nice to have each person in charge of their own luggage if traveling as a group. The packing cubes or zip locks prevent your unmentionables from landing on the airport floor when a TSA agent decides to search through your luggage.  I find that a cube for underwear, shirts, and larger items is about all you need for a 5 day trip. The clothes stay neat and organized. Ziplocks are good for children because you can pack by days, so they know what they are wearing each day and feel independent pulling out that day’s ziplock and dressing themselves.  If you didn’t read my post about zip locks refer back here so you know what I’m talking about. 
3.  Print Out Boarding passes the 24 hrs before leaving for airport or if you prefer have mobile boarding passes emailed to you.  If you choose mobile boarding passes make sure you take a screen shot of your mobile pass.  If you are a nervous Nelly do both!  I got to my gate once and my mobile boarding pass wouldn’t load.  Can you imagine?  They told me to go to the desk to get a printed one.  The desk traffic was a mile long.  I learned from that incident to always screen shot my boarding pass.  This can save major headaches if for some reason, your internet suddenly won’t access like mine did.  Not every airport offers mobile passes so if printing out boarding passes, make sure to print a couple, one for inside a safe place and one for easy access, that way if you happen to lose your pass you have another easy to access.  Have handy boarding pass & ID ready for agent at TSA.
4. Dress for TSA – Please don’t show up at the airport with gobs of jewelry, belts, or anything else you must take off to pass through TSA.  Put these things in your carry on and adorn yourself after TSA, if you must.  Wear slip on shoes for easy removal.  Have toiletries in designated ziplock bag in approved size bottles.  NO WATER BOTTLES!! It is so frustrating to get behind someone who has to continually remove items multiple times before getting the green light with TSA.  
5. Pack Light – Wear your heaviest coat on the plane, not only will it keep you warm, but it will lighten the suitcase and help prevent overweight charges at checkin.
6. Make sure to check flight details when you get to the airport. Flights change all the time.  If you get to the gate and find out your flight has changed often there isn’t time to get to the new gate prior to takeoff hence missing your flight.  Always check gate and flight info upon arrival at airport!
7.  Sign Up for Global Entry Global Entry really takes the hassle out of travel. You don’t have time to get this before the holidays but if you travel a good bit, it really takes the hassle out of getting through TSA.  

8. Ship with Luggage Free. Send your luggage, golf clubs, bike or other things on ahead of you.  Have you heard of Luggage Free?  This service allows you to have things picked up from your door and delivered to your destination.  It is a luxury service so be prepared for the fees but in many cases it isn’t much more than paying the overage at the airlines and you get to travel without the worry and hassle of dragging luggage through the airport and worry if it will reach your destination with you.  Another benefit of Luggage free is when you need to have the entire car for passengers. I would still recommend taking a small carry on bag for safety.

The sooner you ship your luggage ahead of your trip, allowing more days for delivery, the cheaper it is to ship with Luggage Free.  Luggage Free offers an international service and domestic services.

9. Don’t Wrap Gifts  TSA agents will unwrap every time!  Take flat wrapping paper and ribbon and wrap your gifts once you arrive or ship wrapped gifts ahead. 

10. Plan You Arrival to Pick You Up at the Least Busy Airport Areas – Don’t plan your ride to pick you up at airport arrival points or taxi stands, unless you are using a taxi.  When a plane lands these areas are mass confusion.  Instead, have your ride pick you up at check in which is much faster. 

11. Uber Smarts – Have you ever used Uber?  I highly recommend Uber!  It is so convenient and the cars are always clean. Sign up here if you aren’t an Uber member.  Everything is charge on your credit card used at sign up.  Your tip is figured in so you don’t have to have any money for tips at drop off plus you know exactly how long your wait is.  No more long taxi stand lines with Uber!  Note: If you are summoning an Uber follow my advice in #10, because the Uber cannot go near the taxi stand.  Another word about taking Uber, Make sure you go to where you want the Uber to pick you up before requesting a ride.  Uber tracks your pickup location based on satellite, so If you summon an Uber and then walk to another area, the Uber will go to the point where you summoned them.  To advoid mass confusion for you and the Uber Driver walk to your pick up point of choice, then summon your Uber!

12.  Favorite Carry on bags: I also wanted to share some of my favorite, chic travel carry-on bags from Nordstrom, Zappos and a couple other online sites below:

10 Favorite Carry On Bags

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2nd Row: L to R: Visionaire PodpalThule  /  Genuispack /  Tumi T-Tech   / Rimowa 

What is your favorite carry on bag or travel tip?  Do share!

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