You consider yourself a savvy traveler. You’ve got slip-on shoes for the security checkpoint, a handy case for your travel documents, and you know exactly how long it takes to get to the airport, even in heavy traffic. But despite your experience, you still find yourself frustrated by the unexpected challenges that come with frequent trips and last-minute changes in travel plans.
Believe it or not, even veteran travelers can learn a thing or two. Before your next trip, incorporate these 10 tips into your system (of course, you have a system):
1. Protect Your Devices
No matter how carefully you pack, your phone, laptop, or tablet will take a beating while traveling. Protect your devices by investing in a quality case. Otterbox offers a wide range of options that can protect your gear from drops, falls, and even submersion in water for up to a half hour. Take your security measures a step further with an anti-theft app like Prey, which uses GPS data to help you track down a lost or stolen device.
2. Load Up on Apps
Must-have travel apps aren’t just limited to security. FlightAware can help you stay updated on the status of almost any flight. If an unfamiliar airport is part of your trip, turn to GateGuru. This app will keep you on top of any changes in your itinerary and can direct you to airport amenities, rental cars, and even local weather.
3. Know Your Wi-Fi Options
Finding Wi-Fi in unfamiliar territory can be a challenge. Grab the Wi-Fi Finder app for your iPhone or Android device, and you’ll never have to hunt for a hotspot again. Plus, you can stay connected after you’ve boarded with Gogo’s Traveler’s Pass. With unlimited Wi-Fi access and a flat monthly rate, it’s a must-have for frequent travelers.
4. Pick Up TSA-Approved Gear
Cut down your wait time and safeguard your belongings by investing in TSA-approved travel gear. Your laptop can remain in your bag at security (though the TSA may still request you remove it) with a TSA-approved laptop bag. And keep your luggage locked down tight with a TSA-approved luggage lock.
5. Break Down the Language Barrier
Frequent travelers are sure to find themselves in a location where they don’t speak the language. Instead of fumbling with guide books or playing an awkward game of charades to find out where the bathroom is, try iStone. With over 300 phrases in 12 languages, iStone can help you feel at home all over the world.
6. Say Goodbye to Outfits
If that skirt only goes with this top, or if that blazer only goes with those slacks, put down your clothes and take a take step back from your luggage. Packing clothing that only goes with another specific article is a recipe for an over-packing disaster. Instead, pack a wardrobe that’s multi-functional. Make sure every article of clothing in your luggage goes with several others. Better yet, pack so that everything goes with everything else. Your bag will be much lighter, and you’ll be able to devote less time to fussing over your clothing and more time to taking in the sites once you reach your destination.
7. Give Yourself a Buffer
Travel can do wonders for easing the stress of a hectic career and family life. Make the benefits last by planning a buffer day between your return home from a trip and your return to the office. Easing back into your work life can help the rosy glow of your lovely beach vacation last a lot longer. Spend the day recovering from jet lag, catching up on your emails, or just relaxing. However you choose to spend it, a buffer day is far better than the jarring reality of slipping out of your cargo shorts and into your immaculately pressed, dress-code friendly chinos.
8. Plan for Your Return
Even if you built in a buffer day — and especially if you didn’t — coming home to a messy house or an overgrown lawn can put back all the stress you tried so hard to get rid of. Tackle any chores that need to be done before you leave. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Consider the TSA Pre✓™ Program
Ever wonder who those people are who get to skip the line and breeze right on through security? Chances are that they’ve been pre-approved through the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre✓™ program. This program allows frequent travelers to apply for pre-approval, which means a much quicker security screening process.