Even for seasoned travelers, taking a trip can be stressful. Logistics have to be sorted out and (in most cases) money has to be spent to make it all happen. It's a good idea to take steps to make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible, whether it's a work trip or a personal vacation of some kind. Here are seven ways to simplify and improve your travel experience.
1. Get Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
One simple way to make your trip smoother is to sign up for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. TSA PreCheck is a program that allows you to bypass the usual security lines at airports so you don't have to remove your shoes and jump through other hoops to get to your gate. Global Entry is a similar program specifically designed for an easier arrival back into the US from a foreign country. So if you have to fly somewhere, getting approved by one of these programs can make your trip a lot more efficient.
2. Just Take a Carry-On
To save time and mental energy, consider just taking a carry-on bag with no additional luggage if you're flying somewhere. Depending upon the nature of your trip, this will be more or less possible. But even if you're taking a longer trip and need to take a larger suitcase of some kind, reducing the total number of items you need to carry and keep track of can be a big help.
3. Get Any Relevant Apps Ahead of Time
Downloading and setting up any apps that are relevant to your trip can help save you time. Your airline probably has an app that can be helpful for boarding and keeping track of miles over time, for example, and your hotel reservation can be easily stored and found in the hotel's app.
4. Take What You Need for Sleep
Whether you're flying or driving, bringing something like an orthopedic pillow can make the world of a difference by allowing you to sleep better during travel time. Or perhaps a sleep mask is something that will help you get rest. Whatever it is that you need to relax on the way to your destination, you should bring it and make use of it so you can maximize your comfort during travel and avoid the consequences of poor sleep and posture.
5. Make a Plan
While it's pretty obvious, it's important to remember that planning your trip is typically better than winging it. Even if you don't plan every aspect of the trip, just a basic skeleton outline will give you some direction and help you know what to expect. For example, because meal logistics can be such a big part of any trip, plan when you'll stop for meals and when you'll just push through and have things like protein shakes to save time and money.
6. Budget Your Trip Ahead of Time
Budgeting ahead of time for your trip can help you set your expectations for how much room you have for spending on non-essentials. One way to do this is to determine a ballpark figure of what you want to (and can) spend, and then transfer those funds to a debit account that is dedicated to such trips. Then just use that debit card the entire trip and you'll have an easy way of tracking your purchases and overall expense.
7. Get Purchases Shipped Home
Finally, if you make purchases on your trip, it can be stressful trying to find a place for everything in the already-full luggage you brought, and weight limits on luggage units at airports can add to this stress. But you don't have to pack everything you buy and take it to the airport. Ask the stores if they can ship your purchases to your home. The added cost of shipping may be well worth the ease it affords you.
These seven ideas can equip you with what you need to enjoy traveling more. Just a little bit of planning ahead can make a big difference in the quality of your time away from home.