The expense, logistics, and pain of packing are usually what turn people off of travel. Here are some of the travel hacks I have learned over 15 years of logging frequent flyer miles.
Roll your clothes: Flight attendant after flight attendant swears by this tried-and-true technique. It is amazing how much space you can save by rolling your clothes and, surprisingly, it helps to eliminate wrinkles.
Stay in one color family: I’m essentially talking black vs. brown. When I’m choosing what to wear it is either heels, flats, boots, or sneakers, in either black or brown/warm colors. This means you only have to pack one color family of socks, jackets and accessories.
Designate travel toiletries: Instead of worrying about remembering every item I need to pull myself together and stay clean and moisturized, I have a travel size of all the toiletry items I need, including medicines, which I refill the smaller containers before every trip. It might not be a bad idea to designate a travel charger for each of your electronic items in a small bag also. This way you never have to worry about running through the house to gather those items or getting somewhere and realizing you forgot them.
I keep one or two protein bars or a small snack in my under-seat carry-on. There is nothing worse than being “hangry” (hungry + angry) on top of the hustle and bustle of travel.
Time and again, I see travel stories discussing the best day of the week to book. When you travel o en for business you know there is not a lot of choice and many times you have to book last minute. I have found an amazing app and website that is a game changer: it is called Skiplagged (skiplagged.com).
Here’s how it works: I often fly from Kansas City, Missouri to Charlotte, North Carolina. Let’s say a one-way ticket costs $300. Skiplagged will find me a flight from Kansas City to Atlanta, Georgia for $120 with a layover in Charlotte. You guessed it – I can hop off the flight in Charlotte and never look back with an extra $180 in my pocket. It is literally the same exact flight as the $300 direct.
The airlines allegedly do not like this practice, but it has been deemed legal. According to the Skiplagged website, United Airlines sued this company and lost. The first few times I used this service I went to the gate agent of the flight from Charlotte to Atlanta to be courteous and let them know I would not be on the flight. They really did not care. They did not note it in the system or need to report it to anyone since I did not have any checked bags.
Caution: You cannot check bags if you are flying Skiplagged, and if you do not board early and the flight fills up there is a chance your bag will be taken and checked to the final destination. I have saved thousands of dollars using this method. However, I had to give a few hundred dollars back one time when I was flying to Boston, Massachusetts and they needed to check my bag to New York – my final destination
– in theory (but I was really staying in Boston). I had to bow out of the flight and rebook on the next flight.
I would not suggest this to someone who is not a risk taker, who must arrive at a certain time with no wiggle room, or who would not have the means to rebook if necessary.
Stains: I have found a magical formula for red wine and spray tan stains (which I may or may not incur on a regular basis). A small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with hydrogen peroxide is a magical stain remover. Grab an empty ketchup bottle from the dollar store and treat those stains when you return home.
Phone battery life: It has become increasingly difficult to keep a charge through a day of traveling. I have found these tips to work really well:
• Make it a habit to close all open apps.
• Dim the brightness as low as you can stand it.
• Use the low power mode when your phone gets under 80 percent.
All this does is keep apps like email and Facebook from searching for new data in the background, even when you aren’t using them.
• Check what’s robbing your battery.
I have an iPhone. I once went into Settings>Battery and found at the bottom of the page the top item under Battery Usage was a coupon app that I never use! It was running in the background and automatically alerting me to discounts as I drove by stores in which I don’t even shop.
My hope is you’ll use these tips to save money and time. Hopefully, you can just sit back in that airline seat and smile as you move across the world making your dreams come true. Happy and safe travels!
Jennifer Jo Cobb is a public speaker, corporate spokesperson and a NASCAR team owner and driver. In addition to racing, she is the founder of Driven2Honor (www.Driven2Honor.org), a non-pro t to recognize the efforts and plights of our female military members. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.