For some people, traveling is like second nature. From preparing travel plans and packing, to flying and staying in a hotel, frequent travelers have learned all the tricks to making travel more comfortable. If you’ve never traveled before, though, a relaxing vacation can quickly turn into a stressful nightmare. Here are a few strategies that you can use to deal with the varying vagaries of travel.
Ease Your Reservations With Careful Planning (and Reservations)
To avoid problems on your vacation, it’s important to plan and prepare. This means thinking about your upcoming trip from start to finish and making reservations to ease the anxiety of not knowing where to go or what to do when you get to your destination. Make sure that you plan:
- Travel to the airport: Check rates for airport parking. If you’ll be gone for an extensive amount of time, you might want to consider making a reservation for a taxi or black car service.
- Accommodations: Look at a map of your destination and triangulate your must-see spots to find a hotel, like Monte Carlo Suites, that is conveniently located.
- Airport pick-up: Call your hotel to see if airport pick-up is available and reserve a slot. If a shuttle service isn’t available, arrange for a taxi or black car service to pick you up to avoid the taxi queue.
- Your to-do list: With online shopping, it’s easier than ever to reserve and pay for spots for popular shows, attractions, and events. This way you can be sure to see and do everything on your vacation wish list.
Think Outside of the Box…or Inside Your Luggage
First, regardless of where you’re traveling, you’ll need a photo ID and possibly a passport. It’s important to stash your ID in a place that’s easily accessible and secure (jackets with inside pockets are ideal). Once you’ve made sure to pack this important item, you can start thinking about packing your bags for your trip.
- Pack a small carry bag, tote bag, or purse that is comfortable to carry even when it’s full. Include essential items like: medications, cash, your wallet, chargers, books, snacks, travel-size toiletries, and an empty water bottle that you can fill with water after it’s screened in security (it must be completely empty during screening, or you’ll have to throw it away).
- Place thick, bulky garments at the bottom and top of your suitcase or duffel. They can help absorb any unexpected impacts, while also preventing casual snooping by anyone who comes into contact with your bag in transit.
- Roll your clothing to avoid wrinkles. Simply fold each item in half and then roll it up. You can even place your rolls of clothing in handy gallon ziplock bags for added protection against wrinkles.
Flying Like a Pro
To get to your destination, you must endure the discomforts of flying. With some preparation, you can arrive at your destination ready to enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips for making your flight as comfortable as possible:
- Getting to your flight on time: If you’re flying internationally out of the country, you’ll want to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight. To make sure you don’t get caught in line, you can refer to the TSA’s official website for current wait times at each airport. If you’re flying domestic, try to be at the airport at least an hour before your flight.
- Avoid jet lag: The easiest way to prevent jet lag is to rest and hydrate. Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water on your flight.
- Say no to “cankles”: The not-so-affectionate term for swollen ankles, “cankles” are an uncomfortable reality for many travelers. If your feet and ankles often swell during long car trips, go to your local pharmacy and pick up some compression socks or hose to wear during your flight.
As air travel continues to offer unique opportunities to see the world, taking your first trip can be just the impetus you need to travel more often. With all of the above travel tips in mind, you can avoid many of the common blunders of the uninitiated.