Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks! For more information, please see my disclosure policy.
How to Travel – Tips to be a more Confident Traveler
Recently I was reading an article in a magazine regarding traveling. As someone who has traveled quite a bit in her life and considers herself a good traveler, packer and a world traveler, I feel like I have some insight on what to worry about, things to think about etc.
As I was reading this article I kept getting frustrated because I felt like they talked about certain situations which seemed more to make someone worried about traveling – extra stuff to do, that to me would just make it even more stressful!
Plus, I felt like it didn’t mention certain things that are always in the front of my mind during travel.
Now, to their credit they did mention some good stuff and by no means am I a professional traveler who has traveled every day of her life in every circumstance but it made me want to put some other information out there for those who are traveling.
And I hope this information will inspire you to be a more confident traveler!
Let’s look at baggage first.
Be a confident traveler regarding Baggage
This article suggested mailing your items to your destination – whether it be a home, a hotel, a friend’s house, etc.
I’ve heard this several times and I personally have never been this ‘organized’ to do this. And I consider myself a pretty organized person!
Why this frustrated me:
I don’t know many people who aren’t still packing the night, for that matter the morning or day they are leaving.
What if you realized you forgot something important and it’s not something that can fit into your carry on or could even go on the plane for that matter. Do you want to pay even more to get your stuff to your destination? And what if it doesn’t get there on time.
Now granted this can and certainly does happen when you fly. Lost piece of luggage anyone? If you didn’t raise your hand you are one of the lucky ones.
For as long as I’ve been traveling (domestic and international) I can only remember having had one piece ‘delayed’. I got it the next morning and I was on my way home so it wasn’t like I really needed anything that was in it anyway.
My biggest worry was hoping all the souvenirs where still there! (they were ) And if I may say….it’s part of the travel experience – checking in your luggage, praying it’ll be at your destination, then waiting with all the other expectant parents 😉 for their babies (i.e. luggage) to come out on the conveyor belt to be claimed.
Huge piece of travel advice:
One huge piece of advice that the article didn’t mention? Always travel with a change of clothes in your carry on in case the lost luggage scenario does happen. It will give you at least one day for them to get your luggage to you and if not hopefully you can go buy or wash some for extra days.
I like to pack with coordinating items as much as I can so this extra change of clothes can go a long way.
Not only that but I love using Space bags. You can fit at least twice as much in the same space. So there’s no excuse to not have a change of clothes in your carry on.
Read more about How to Pack and much, much more info!
The article also suggested taping your address information inside your bag in case your tag on the outside gets ripped off. This has never ever happened to me – I’m not saying it couldn’t I’m just saying it never has. With that being said, it’s not a bad idea to have some identification inside your bag as well just in case this does happen.
P.S.- make sure you weigh your luggage before leaving the house too. Then you’ll know you’re within the weight limits and if not you can rearrange before getting to the airport and ticket agent.
Will you be traveling with medicine?
Be a confident traveler regarding Medicine
In terms of medicine, it suggested to have a doctor’s note with explanations on your medications. I’ve read this in several places too, which would suggest that it’s sound advice and it is a good idea, yet….all my years of traveling with my parents who seem to have LOTS of medication (all prescription). They have never traveled with a doctor’s note and they never once have been stopped at customs because of their medication. Again, great advice but maybe not something to worry overly about.
So here’s a piece of advice that I think about but I’ve never seen mentioned:
Be a confident traveler regarding Connections
Have you ever noticed that some connections are only minutes apart? And then of course there are those that are days apart!
You think you have the time, and theoretically you might…. Until your first flight is delayed, even if just by 15 minutes. Now what! It’s still possible to make that connection, if the flights are right next to each other in the terminal but inevitably you will have to walk all over creation and even possibly to another terminal, and in that case forget it!
My travel advice:
Here’s my suggestion, unless you’ve flown the route before, you know the airline and you know the airport, give yourself 1.5 -2 hours for a domestic flight and 3-4 (or more) hours for an international flight depending on the situation.
The situation I’m referring to is this: depending on the country your flying through, these days you may have to go through security again and we all know that when you’re rushed this is when it takes the longest. If you’ve only given yourself an hour layover yet you have to go through security again, you may not have enough time. To me it’s not worth the stress or frustration– don’t put yourself through any more undue stress then necessary.
Give yourself plenty of layover time, especially if flying international – you may just have to go through security again!
Why so much time between flights?
Here’s why I suggest what I suggest: which, again, we don’t always think about.
Flights board when?
About a half an hour to an hour before their departure time, right? That means if your flight is at 3 pm, your flight will start to board at around 2:30 domestic and around 2 or even earlier for international.
Now, add in the fact that some international flights I’ve taken require you to have your passport checked again before boarding, which of course takes time.
And remember, that going through security again?
Also, just to be honest, I like getting on when my section is called. I like to have the pick of the overhead bins (I think I’ve almost always had a second bag) and even when I’ve traveled with my little one it was nice to get on when my seats were called to have time to settle in.
If you only give yourself a 3o-minute window for a connection you might get stuck.
I know, I know, you hate just sitting around, you don’t have time to waste. Well, think of it this way, if you don’t get your connection then you may waste even more time trying to get on the next flight, etc. Give yourself a break. Walk around a bit, grab a bite to eat, look through the magazine rack. And if you really have to, then make those phone calls, check those emails and get some more work done.
Be a confident traveler regarding Security
Do you worry about going through security?
All the rules and regulations!
Yes, it’s probably not my favorite part either but it’s a necessity. The more prepared you are for the experience the easier it’ll be.
*First, it’s not a bad idea to check out the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website: www.tsa.gov/travel for more information on their most up to date requirements for carry-ons, liquid, etc.
*Secondly, either before you get in line, or, if the line is long while you’re in line, take a deep breath!!!!
*Third, if you can manage it, before getting up to the TSA agent, who will check your ticket(s) and id(s), try to run through the things you’ll need to do. Remember you’ll have to take off at least 3 things:
-Take out laptop/ipad/etc.
-Put cell, wallet, coins, etc. in your jacket pocket, suitcase, purse, somewhere that’s not actually on you. At screening they will have a little basket to put these things in if you don’t have a spot for them. Don’t forget to pick them up on the other side before you leaving the area!
*Fourth, place your above mentioned on the conveyor belt to go through their screening. You will either walk through one of the body scanners or the old-fashioned scanners. The first one you step in, stand still with your hands above your head and when they tell you step out. You will feel silly but watch the other people do it and you’ll be a pro. The second, you just walk through when they tell you.
*Fifth, gather all your items on the other side of the scanners. Don’t forget the items you might have placed in the little basket (cell, wallet, etc.)
*Sixth, double-check you have everything 🙂
And Viola! You’ve survived security.
If you’re traveling internationally make sure you get your passport on time. It can take up to 6 weeks to get your passport after you’ve mailed in your application.
If you already have a passport make sure it won’t be expiring within 6 months of your trip.
My parents just got denied an international trip because my dad’s passport was within 5 months of its expiration! Talk about frustrating.
Are you looking for a better way to carry your passport? Update it, want more protection or need to carry two?
My favorite and the one the I own, use and love is from Travelon. This passport holder not only is cute but is totally functional too. It has several pockets inside to hold your passport(s), of course, but also your tickets and any other important documents you may need to have with your passport. It has RFID protection so you won’t have to worry about anyone stealing your information. And it zipper closure so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out and getting lost or in the wrong hands!
Check to see if the country(ies) you’ll be visiting requires a visa before arrival.
We took a trip to Brazil a few years back and we had to get a visa before even leaving the States.
We had to have it all express mailed etc because we waited until the last-minute. It was so expensive to begin with and having to do it express just made it even more so.
You’ll be more relaxed knowing you have these things researched before your trip!
Not sure what type of travel accessories you might want/need to have with you on your travels? Check out 10 Helpful and Practical Travel Accessories!
Still not sure you can travel without stressing? Learn How to Travel Stress Free.
And just in case you really hate! to fly but would like to work on overcoming that, here are 6 Reasons you Hate to fly and ways to work through them!