If you travel a lot, you know it can be a pain in the butt at times. Delays, slow security lines, last minute gate changes, short layovers in between flights, lost luggage, and other annoying events that seem to try to get in the way of arriving happily to our destination. There’s no way to control most of the hiccups that occur, but there are tools that can make travel as breezy as possible. I’ve compiled a list of things that help me keep my cool(as much as possible) on the go. Let’s get to it!
1. TSA Precheck / Global Entry / Clear
People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend, Clear. My first experience with clear was at BWI airport about 2 years ago. A kind representative saw me look at the security check line in horror (45 minutes before my flight). After she called me over, it only took about 3 minutes before I was signed up for the trial and was escorted to the front of the queue. I made my membership official once the trial was up, and Clear has been saving my behind since. If you like living on the edge (like mwah), pleeeeease do yourself a favor and go register for Clear. It’s totally worth it in most airports (and they’re expanding). Combine it with Precheck and you don’t have to waste time stripping down. You’ll probably spend a max of 10 minutes in airport security.
As for Global Entry, this is good for anyone who hates waiting in the customs line after traveling out of the country.
It’s a good deal: $100 for 5 years and some credit cards waive the registration fee. Be mindful that Precheck & Global Entry can have a pretty lengthy registration and interview process. However, there is a new option to do an interview on your way back into the US if you pass primary approval.
2. A Pouch of Some Sort
I travel solo a lot (and in foreign countries) and the last thing I want to do is look like a vulnerable tourist digging for cash in a huge, expensive bag, waiting to be robbed. I personally use a bra pocket. It’s also just good for going out if you don’t want to bring a bag or you’re afraid to lose your wallet. I imagine a slim wallet is the equivalent for men. While exploring, I also use an RFID blocking pocket belt. I just feel safer knowing my things are close to me and not easily accessible to sketchy folks.
3. Universal Plug Adapter
I love this plug adapter. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for all your charging needs for whatever country you go to. This adapter works in Switzerland, Italy, Australia/China, UK, USA, Europe (Schuko & 2-Pol Euro). Still, always double check what adapter the country you’re visiting uses. I find it’s best to purchase one before arriving to your destination.
4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
This is self-explanatory. I always see some brave soul without headphones being seated right next to a baby screaming at the top of its lungs. Don’t be that person. Buy some decent noise cancelling headphones. There are some for all budgets.
5. Luggage Scale
Have you ever gotten to the front of the luggage check line and placed your bag on the scale to find out it weighs 51.2lbs? Now you have to sift through your tightly packed bag for the one thing you might be able to stuff into your carry-on then wrestle with the luggage to zip it shut in front of everyone. Yea? Well, now you don’t have to be caught off guard. I generally pack light, but recently I’ve been staying in places for extended periods of time, so naturally, I pack more. Using this scale helps me track my luggage weight and be more strategic about what I pack. Most airlines allow Business and First class luggage to weigh 70lbs, but when flying coach, I refuse to pay $75 to check a bag that’s 4 ounces from being free. This gadget will make checking luggage smoother and you’ll avoid the dirty looks of impatient travelers who knew to stuff their carry-on instead.
6. Bungee Straps
There’s something about not having a bag strapped to you that helps you run faster to your connection. I wouldn’t consider Bungee straps a necessity, but it definitely makes my life a bit easier while commuting through airports, train stations, etc.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you considering investing in these travel tools. What things do you use to make travel easy breezy? I’m always looking for suggestions.