Introduction: My Top 10 Travel Tips (Mainly for Flying)

Welcome to my tips for travelers.

I have been flying since I was born, back in my day you could smoke on a plane, we didn't have cellphones and you used to dress up to fly.

It was an experience, it was fun.

that was then, now its a bus, we are just crammed into a metal tube, sometimes not even given a cookie for a 5.5hrs flights.

I have traveled for work about once a month for the last 10+ years so i am not a road warrior but someone who travels enough for it to be a drag from time to time.

here are my tips that i have adopted to make my life easier. Enjoy!

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Step 1: Use a Car Mount on the Seat to Hold Your Phone

This one is my favorite, i need the car mount when i travel for rental cars anyway, so i always have it with me.

just stick it to the tray table and boom instant mount, this makes life more comfortable as you don't have to hold your phone.

i use this one:

i like it because its super sticky and sticks to anything without leaving a mark. Its a gel type which sticks much better than a suction cup.

In the USA i have also been allowed to do this on take off and landing and it doubles as a headphone holder.

image source: iottie

Step 2: Get TSA Precheck and Prep for the Security Line.

TSA precheck just makes life easier,

you can leave your laptop and liquids in your bag and keep your shoes and belt on. Plus you get to the front of the line!

Here is a comparison of the services you can get:

But one thing you can do anyway is be ready for security when you get to the front, you usually have a short wait in which to prep but sometimes you need to plan when you pack.

That means:

  • Nothing in your pockets (put it in your bag or travel vest with it zipped up)
  • Watches and large necklaces off (put it in your bag or travel vest with it zipped up)
  • Laptop and liquids out of the bag (so pack according and know where it is), In other countries tablets have to come out too
  • Be ready to remove your shoes, belt and jacket
  • the goal is never to put anything loose in the bins and to be ready BEFORE you get to the front of the line.
  • Pay Attention! and keep an eye on your stuff, people swipe stuff coming out of the security xray.

Bonus points for putting a specific sticker or mark on your stuff so you can spot it at a distance.

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Step 3: Bring Headphones and Have Something to Listen To.

It amazes me how many people don't bring headphones anymore.

Pack some headphones, i usually bring 2 pairs, a set of over the ears and a set of in ears.

I use these:

Why skull candy, well good question, the main reason is i got them free at a tradeshow... the other reason is they fold up.

these would be a good choice but they are not as compact:

The over the ear design is nice because it is more comfortable for longer listing and offers better noise insulation from the outside. I also like it because they are fairly obvious that i am listing to music and don't want to chat.

Not wanting to chat might seem rude but i have often been stuck on a 4hrs flight with someone who won't let me read my book.....

the other reason for headphones is kids. kids on a plane is everyone's dread. its not the kid's fault, no one likes being stuck in a seat for hours and if they start screaming its bad for everyone (its worse for the parent, trust me), but with headphones, just stick em on and listen to your favorite jam and its much more bearable.

Don't forget to bring something to watch/play/listen to, streaming services don't work in the air as they are often blocked by the inflight wifi, so plan ahead and get what you want before you leave.

Image Source: Skull Candy

Step 4: Get a Travel Vest

The issue with travel is how to keep all of your stuff on you and easy to get at.

Added points for not loosing anything.

My solution to this is a travel vest. Personally i use the ones from scottevest:

I have 2 scottevests, one for summer and one for winter.

this has zipper pockets for you to store things like passports, wallets and phones so you put everything in your jacket when in the line for security and do the zips up. when its through the xray, just put the jacket on an you have everything.

I like one with removable sleeves so i can wear it when its hot. a hood is nice if it is raining,

the front pockets are all accessable while in flight (if you keep it on) so its easy to get to your stuff and you dont have to put anything in the seat pocket, which often is dirty/ has used gum in it. plus stuff is often left behind.

I keep mine prepacked with stuff i use often like hand sanitizer, a flashlight, some nitrile gloves, a ziplock baggie, a pen.

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Step 5: Know Your Plane and Seats

Lets be honest, unless you are flying 1st class or business, flying sucks, the seats are cramped and there are all kinds of factors that can make it even worse like lack of power sockets or a bulge you didn't expect on a 5+ hrs flight that give you leg cramp.

Seat Guru lets you see what the plane is like and what features and seats it has so you can try to pick the best one.

Step 6: Move Away From Being Un-Preferred. Go Gold

So i have coined a new term Un-Preferred. That's what most non regular travelers are.

Most airlines, hotels, car rental places and other types of things you use when you travel have Tiers to reward their best travelers.

Unfortunately to make their "Preferred" customers feel like they are getting more the average Joe/Jane is getting less/worse service. This is Un-Preferred.

An example is Airline tiers. ever wondered why you always have zone 3-4 on your boarding pass. yep lack of status. Once you get status you get perks like free checked bags, free seat upgrades, cheap or free Exit row seats, earlier boarding (which can sometimes mean the difference between having to gate check your bag and not). WIth rental car companies it can mean the car is there quicker and with hotels you often get a better room and or free stuff or free wifi.

But i don't travel enough you say, fear not, there are ways to game the system in your favor:

  1. Get gold Star Alliance for the price of silver:
  2. Get the credit card for that airline: Nerdwallet
  3. Sign up with all the airline.hotel and rental car groups you use and try to use them more often.

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Step 7: Get a Carry on Bag That Actually Fits the Overhead Bin.

If it doesn't fit your going to have a hard time.

ok stop laughing, basically you will have to check your bag and possibly lose/break your stuff as it gets checked.

here is a comparison, get a bag that fits the airlines you use.

Bonus points for something that is light and durable with a lock.

image courtesy of

Step 8: Get (super)Charged

In the age of tech, we use a lot of power. when you are on the road you don't always have a socket handy to charge our devices.

Be cautious of public usb chargers, some of them connect as a media device which could allow access to your device from the host.

there are also less sockets in airports than there needs to be so be on the look out. QI wireless charging is becoming more common so having a phone that supports it can help. They can be found for most phones, i have one on my work iPhone and my personal android: QI charger adaptors

I have the approach that i need a few power sources.

1. Wall charger if you only have one device then a simple wall charger is fine. i use this: Anker 6 port charger its 6 ports, will fast charge "i" devices as well as android, and can deliver 6x fast charging at one go. as a plus is has a long cord so you can keep the devices closer to you. bring a spare charge cable for your device in a different bag so you are not left stranded if you break or lose one.
2. Backup battery. So i usually take a spare phone battery for my android: Anker Phone batteries and Anker external batteries
3. Car charger: pack a car charger if you are going to be using a rental car.
4. Bring a spare. i pack a spare wall charger and a spare device cable for my critical devices and put it in a different bag.
5. INTERNATIONAL: if you are going international make sure you have a plug adapter and that your devices can handle the voltage of the destination country.I often also bring a power strip and use the adapter on that.

Plug and voltage lookup by country:

Note: i am not affiliated with Anker but their stuff is good value and actually works. they also stand behind their products.

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Step 9: Don't Spread Out in the Place Where You Are Staying

When you get to a hotel, don't unpack your bags into all the drawers etc... if you are only staying a few days hang up anything that you don't want wrinkled and leave the rest in the bag.

You are much less likely to lose things if you do this and it saves time too.

bonus points is for using the free stuff they give you in the hotel room instead of bringing your own.

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Step 10: Travel Light But Be Prepaired

You don't need lots of stuff to travel, but sometimes things can make the difference between a good trip and a bad trip.

  • be sure to check the local weather so you can know what to expect.
  • pack an extra shirt, underwear and socks as a just in case.
  • bring a small umbrella if the locale is likely to rain.(TBH i bring one anyway)

At the end of the day all you really NEED is your ID and your credit card, so if you have those, and you think you have packed what you need, don't stress about it.

Hope you have enjoyed these, if you have any suggestions pls comment below.

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