Nobody likes the actual “travel” part of traveling — especially if it involves airports, and especially during the holidays. But since we all have to do it, why not make it as easy as possible?
Here are a dozen travel tips guaranteed to take (some of) the stress out of your upcoming trip.
1. Expect your check-in luggage to get lost
This isn’t going to happen on most flights, but it pays to be prepared in case it does. Keep things simple: Always have a spare outfit and a little bag of toiletries in your carry-on, plus any other necessities you can’t live without (medications, etc.).
2. Wear your bulkiest clothes
This is a must for winter travel. Rather than let your puffy coat and chunky scarf take up half your suitcase, wear them on the plane! Your winter wear will be right at home on a freezing cold flight, and easily accessible once you arrive at your final destination.
3. Always bring an empty, reusable water bottle
Just because you can’t bring large quantities of liquid through airport security doesn’t mean you have to leave your water bottle at home. Save a few bucks (and the environment) by packing an empty, reusable water bottle in your carry-on, and filling it up once you get through security.
4. Print everything
Or, at the very least, make copies of any important documents you plan to bring, including your passport and/or other forms of ID — especially if you’re traveling internationally. It’s also helpful to have all your hotel, restaurant, and other travel information not only saved in your phone, but also written down somewhere. You never know when you could have a phone disaster — better safe than sorry!
5. Invest in an inflatable neck pillow
You’re never too young for an inflatable neck pillow. Does it look silly? Absolutely. Is it a brilliant invention that makes sleeping on an airplane just slightly less impossible? Definitely. Inflatable versions take up less space, and are generally less bulky and annoying, but if you’re feeling really dedicated (or desperately need to sleep), you can give one of these ostrich pillows a try.
6. Wear shoes that are easy to take off ( … preferably with socks)
If you aren’t wearing slip-on shoes when you travel, what are you even doing with your life? It makes getting through security approximately one million times easier, and your flight way more comfortable. (That being said, if you’re a total badass who feels her/his/their best traveling in heels, more power to you.)
7. Bring more underwear than you need
You will never regret bringing more underwear when you travel, because there is no such thing as too much underwear. This is just a fact. They don’t take up a lot of space, and you’ll sleep easier knowing you aren’t going to run out.
8. Pack alcohol in travel-sized containers
For those who like to take the edge off of air travel by indulging in an alcoholic beverage either pre-flight or on board, save yourself the money and bring your own. Simply fill up your travel-sized shampoo/conditioner/body wash containers with your drink of choice, and enjoy as you please.
9. Resealable bags are your friends
It’s impossible to understate just how useful resealable bags are when traveling. You can use them to separate a wet swimsuit from your dry clothes, or to protect your jewelry. You can use them as a last-minute toiletry bag, or to pack away some leftover pie. Make sure to have a few on hand at all times.
10. Bring an external phone charger
Rather than desperately fight your fellow travelers for access to an outlet to charge your phone, why not skip the stress and just bring an external charger? It’s a godsend when you’re running low on battery, especially when they’ve announced a delay or even just “last call” on your flight.
11. Bars make the best plane snacks
Pro tip: You should never board a flight without your own food. And, whether they’re homemade or store bought, a good old-fashioned bar — granola, protein, breakfast, or otherwise — makes for the best plane snack. They’re easily portable, fairly resilient in a carry-on, and create a minimal mess.
12. Thou shall not travel without hand sanitizer
It’s cold and flu season, y’all — and airplanes are basically just giant, sealed containers filled with germs. Even if you aren’t much of a germaphobe, play it safe this holiday season and invest in an illness-fighting spray or gel.
This article was originally published on Shondaland.