I have traveled a ton, especially in the last few years. From traveling around the country four different times, to shorter adventures to just one location, I have gained a lot of knowledge for travel and have my tricks of the trade. So whether you are traveling to a con or for vacation, this post will be full of my tips for all kinds of travel.
Know Before You Go
Sure you know why you are traveling, be it a vacation, a convention, a wedding, whatever. But what is going to specifically happen there? How long are you there? And what is the location like? Details can help you make better decisions when it comes to many parts of the travel process.
I’m going to use a fairly recent trip of mine as an example. I went to a friend’s wedding recently. It was a 6 day trip for me, including flying there one day and flying back another. So 4 of those where wedding-related shenanigans.
There were specific things we knew were happening. The wedding is obviously one, so needed to bring attire appropriate for that. Also, it was mainly outdoors, which is good to know. We also spent a day in a theme park, which is definitely not the same as a wedding weekend wear natural. And there were activities that I wasn’t taking part in because of school needs, so I knew I didn’t need to pack for that. And all of this was taking place in Northern Arkansas at the beginning of June, so prepping for that was important. You get the idea, right? Knowing what is going on with where you’re going is a vital part of making your traveling experience better.
Pack Like A Pro
Invest in Your Luggage
If you know you’re going to be traveling a decent amount, invest in your luggage. I personally am a fan of hardshell suitcases because they can handle a ton of travel and have no significant issues. I used a hardshell suitcase for when I traveled the country twice and the only thing I had to do was replace the wheels between the two trips. And you can find hardshell luggage at lower prices and they will still hold up pretty well.
I also believe the same for things like backpacks, duffel bags, smaller bags, and personal items. I invested in my backpack I used for one of those summer-long cross country trips and it is still in great condition and held all the stuff I needed for that adventure, which was a lot because it was a work trip. I also have a mini backpack I got from Amazon that is great for shorter trips and as a personal item on flights. It holds a ton of stuff too which is super useful for such a small bag.
Know Where to Pack What
Packing should never be just throwing your stuff in a suitcase and hoping you have everything. It is also insanely inconvenient to accidentally pack your headphones in your checked bag.
I actually make a packing list for most trips and will organize it by what bag it goes in. That way I know for sure I have everything I need in the best location for it. You want to make sure things like chargers, headphones, your wallet, and such are easily accessible versus things you really don’t need accessible like clothes for the trip and such. This method works well if you are a last-minute kind of packer because you just go through your list and put it in the right bag.
Fold vs. Roll vs. Cubes
The greatest packing debate of our time: folding vs. rolling vs. packing cubes. I have used all three and I can tell you what the best method is. And that is *drum roll* all of them.
Actually, mixing the three works out pretty well. I am definitely a fan of packing cubes, which you can get pretty cheap on Amazon, because you can organize the cubes to best fit your needs. And then in the cubes, you can fold and roll to best fit your stuff in your luggage. I’ve personally found that I can’t roll my pants because that takes up more room than folding and being able to put stuff on top of them. But smaller items like tank tops and undergarments roll well. It really just is a form of Tetris and you have to fit different shapes together.
Do You Really Need That?
Overpacking is pretty common, and I used to be guilty of it. But that extra stuff you think you need, you probably don’t.
How to determine if you really need something? That is why knowing before going is important. If you know what you’re doing and some basic things about where you’re going, you can determine what you actually need versus what you aspirationally think you need.
Now, a shortlist of some of my travel must-haves to maybe help you out on your next trip.
Noise Canceling Headphones
How To Not Hate the Traveling Part of Travel
I personally loathe the traveling part of travel. This is the car rides, flights, train trips, boats to wherever you are trying to go. I used to always have to sleep through these moments because I was known as a “bad traveler” in my family. But now that I have traveled so much, including traveling only by charter bus for 2.5 months, I have gotten a lot better with the traveling side of travel.
Prepare Your Entertainment
Whether it is music, and audiobook, a TV show, or a movie, you have to have it prepared. No matter if it is a flight or a train or a car, I always download what I want to watch/listen to offline. It is easier to enjoy your playlist when it isn’t cutting out from lack of service, and the same goes for your movie or show. I feel like for many people this is common sense, but it is easy to forget to do. When I know I have a flight coming up, I browse Amazon Prime movies and download ones I may want to watch. I have a travel playlist that is always saved offline on Spotify. When I do take my Switch, I have a couple games I can play offline easily. These little tasks help keep me from feeling completely miserable while traveling.
Snacks. Yes, just snacks.
Traveling is unpredictable and sometimes very lengthy. I’ve spent entire days in airports before. And sometimes things get delayed and you’re suddenly power walking through an airport (yes, I am guilty of this) and your plan to grab dinner during your layover has been prevented. So I am not a proponent of having snacks during any and all travel. And if you don’t want to spend your money on overpriced airport food, you can bring your own snacks to spare you that trouble. Also, have a bottle of water. Traveling is annoying enough without dehydration.
Have a Plan but Be Flexible
I am very much a planner, especially with traveling. Having a plan keeps me calm and then I don’t have to worry too much. But I know that being flexible is also a key part of not getting frustrated when something in the plan goes wrong. Delayed flights are a great example of this because it happens a lot and is a huge plot twist. I have my fair share of flight delay stories that are horrifying, but those taught me how important it is to be flexible. And when you are open to being flexible, you’ll stay calm, and then customer service for whatever went wrong will likely be more helpful.
Those are my quick tips for traveling! So whether you are prepping to go to a convention, heading to a theme park, or just on a general vacation, I hope some of these tips helped you out.
Do you have any go-to travel tips? Share them in the comments.