travel

Life-Hacks Every Frequent Traveler Needs to Know

June 15, 2016

I have been attempting to write this post for the past 6 weeks. Having been on 12 flights, visited 6 cities in two countries and spent a whopping 9 days at home, you’d think I’d have found some plane-time to actually finish this post.

Life-Hacks Every Frequent Traveler Needs to Know to make travel easier, more enjoyable and without a side dish of stress. You can't live without these!The real problem? Planes are my sleeping pill. I talked a bit about my sleep troubles in this post, but what I should have added was that all the hours I spent laying awake in my own bed (albeit this was only for 9/42 sleeps) I likely made up for by my plane naps.

There’s something about the heat of the planes, the tiny quarters I can fetal position in and the abundance of white noise that knocks me out. Alls to say is that I should probably stop planning to work on posts while in flight and just accept the fact that flying modes of transportation is like giving me a massive dose of melatonin.

But here I am sitting on a plane heading from Denver to Toronto (stop 2 on our way home from Albuquerque) and the screaming children behind me and the pouring rain outside that have grounded our plane seemingly have other ideas than allowing me to sleep.

This means I’m actually able to finish this post and y’all can rest easy knowing how it is that I’ve managed to survive the last few weeks on the road (or in the air).

But for real, I have some amazingly hilarious and horrifying travel stories to share, but instead I’ll let you learn from my lessons and impart onto you these life-hacks every frequent traveler needs to know:

1. Global Entry/Nexus/TSA pre-check

I don’t know how it works in the US but in Canada, if you apply for Nexus (a border crossing card for expedited US Canada Border travel) you also receive Global Entry and TSA pre-check. The amount of time I’ve saved from having these designations has legitimately given me years back on my life. I cruise through security (you mean you take your shoes off at security? ew) and customs is a breeze (until they discover the copious amounts of energy balls in my bag) and if I’m forced to wait in any kind of line I’m ready to stage a coup.

Pay the money, travel to the middle of nowhere for the interview and get yourself global entry. You can thank me later.

2. Don’t even consider checking a bag

For real, don’t do it. Not even once you’re through security and they offer you free checking at the gate. Letting my bag out of my sight means opening up the possibility of running into baggage issues. I don’t care if you like to travel with your entire wardrobe, get a free checked bag or have a fucking ball-gown with you, keep calm and CARRY-ON.

3. Keep a prepped toiletry bag in your carry-on

At this point, I barely have to unpack my bag except to swap out clothes. I have a prepped and ready to go toiletry bag in my carry-on at all times. I own two of any product under the liquid limit and for anything over I have mini reusable containers that I fill up whenever they’re running low. This way I never have to unpack and repack my toiletry bag when I am passing through my home.

10 Wellness Tips to Revive Your Travel - Healthy Travel Hacks.

4. Get yourself a passport case

I live in fear of losing my passport(s). I’m well aware that my passport is essentially my currency while I’m travelling. Without it I’m not leaving or going anywhere. I’m notorious for shoving my passport into weird nooks and cranies and then having a semi-panic attack thinking I lost it. My Mom carried my passport for me till I was 21 and then I handed it off to C to hold. But baby’s gotta grow up at some point.

C made me this epic passport case and it’s literally become my life-saver. Default mode is to always put it back in the case. It’s prevented many a passport mishap and has taught me how to be a responsible adult.

Life-Hacks Every Frequent Traveler Needs to Know to make travel easier, more enjoyable and without a side dish of stress. You can't live without these!

5. All Hail the Blanket Scarf

As sad as this is, I wear the exact same outfit to and from the airport every time. Currently it’s these sweatpants and this shirt from albion fit. They’re moderately chic but basically sweatpants so I can contort my body into whatever pretzel shape is required to sleep on the plane. I also ALWAYS travel with a blanket scarf. Why? Because it quadruples as a blanket, pillow, occasional jacket if it’s cold and when need be, can be used to mask the the fact that my “personal item” is wayyyyy oversized.

Life-Hacks Every Frequent Traveler Needs to Know to make travel easier, more enjoyable and without a side dish of stress. You can't live without these!

6. Travel wipes

This may be a tall-tale but one time my Mom was sitting next to a flight attendant on a plane ride and she shared that they only give the seats a sterile wipe-down once every three months. This scared the bajeezus out of both of us and I’ve now taken after her by whipping out travel wipes and wiping down the seat, tray table and seatbelt as soon as I get on the plane. I can’t tell if C is embarrassed or endeared by it…

wipes-and-propolis

7. Avoid the plague with propolis

When you travel frequently, you’re likely no stranger to sickness. Being flown in an airtight cylinder across a continent will certainly put you at risk for god knows what illness so I’ve become a propolis spraying freak. I’m obsessed with Beekeeper’s Naturals (I talked about them here) and they’re my first defence when it comes to avoiding the plague.

8. Stay Organized with TripIt

If you’re going to download any travel app, let it be TripIt. My Dad got C and I hooked on TripIt and it’s been a complete game-changer. It’s hooked up to your email so when a new flight, rental car, reservation etc…gets emailed to you, it automatically creates a new trip in the app and places all according reservations under that trip.

When you travel as much as we do, you occasionally lose track of where you’re off to next so trippit becomes your second brain. I love any app that can think so I don’t have to.

9. Download your local Google Maps

Perhaps the most important tip here is to ALWAYS DOWNLOAD THE MAP. Because 95% of our travel is outside Canada, we depend on wifi to use our phones, but GPS doesn’t require wifi so if you download the map, you can prevent getting lost even when you’ve got zero cell service.

Granted, I can’t read a map but when I’m clearly walking in the opposite direction of the blue dot, at least I know where I’m at.

Life-Hacks Every Frequent Traveler Needs to Know to make travel easier, more enjoyable and without a side dish of stress. You can't live without these!

Of course there are other super important hacks like always carrying an empty water bottle and SNACKS SNACKS SNACKS, but I thought I’d avoid the obvious on this one. Plus if you want more tips you can read this post on Wellness Tips while on Vacation.

In case you’ve missed some of our past trips, you can catch up by watching this video from the Bahamas and this one from New Orleans. I went off the radar for Minnesota, San Francisco and New Mexico, but fear not, I will be back in action for our next trip to ICELAND!!!! You better bet I’ll be using all of the life hacks above.

Any hacks to add? Are you a frequent traveller? 

One last thing! I’ve got a new video up of My Morning Routine when I’m home between trips! Have a look. Would love to hear if you guys have a similar routine or what you do differently!

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  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    June 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Damn girl, you really have been traveling all over the place! I am obsessed with your passport holder, can C start an etsy shop haha?! And I totally agree with keeping your bags with you. One time we checked ours at the gate because the flight was full and they ended up getting lost. Luckily we got them the next day, but I was not a happy camper until we got them. All my makeup was in there and the next day was New Years Eve!
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Gains through Strawberries

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      June 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Ugh that’s super frustrating! Glad you got the bags back! I told him to start an Etsy shop 😉 I’ll keep you posted!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    June 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Alright – you’ve convinced me! I absolutely NEED a blanket scarf! My coworker has one at the office because it is SOOO COLD in our area and it’s also sooo cute on her! I love multi-use items like that.
    Lisa recently posted…Identify Your Obstacles

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      June 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      You NEEEEEED a blanket scarf! If you’re cold all the time like I am, it’s a perfectly acceptable way to walk around with a blanket on haha!

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    June 16, 2016 at 3:52 am

    I LOVE travelling and am travelling a lot according to Boyfriend (though I wouldn’t mind travelling even more 😉 ). This year I’ve been to Sri Lanka, Rome, St. Petersburg so far and a trip to India, Brussels and Vienna are already planned.

    I have a hard time sleeping on airplanes, it’s exactly the things you mentioned (crammed space, all the white noise and lights, etc) which keep me awake. And when I fall asleep I wake up with a kink in my neck or back.. lol I sound like an old lady 😀

    In Europe they introduced a new rule on most airlines: you can only have one carry-on item with you, so if you have a carry-on + a bag/purse, you either have to put the bag in your carry-on or check it :-/ grr

    Ugh they don’t wipe down the seats and stuff? I’Ll be bringing my own wipe then from now on!

    I also always have a big scarf with me besides a cardigan that I can layer on if the AC is too cold or use as a pillow or blanket, makes the whole trip more comfortable. I also have some hand sanitozer with me when travelling, who knows if we’ll find bathrooms on our way, this way I can always have my hands clean before eating 🙂

    And how long/when will you be travelling to Iceland? I heard it is stunning! Are you planning on visiting other countries in Europe if you’ll be in the neighbourhood already? (I’d SO love to meet you in person! 🙂
    Stella @ Stellicious Life recently posted…Oriental Lentil Casserole

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      June 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Aw nowhere else in Europe this time 🙁 We’ll be in Iceland for 5 days. So excited! Frustrating about the new rule on European flights…except that their flights are so much cheaper than ours so it’s kind of worth it!

      • Reply
        Stella @ Stellicious Life
        June 20, 2016 at 3:48 am

        Oh sorry to hear we won’t be meeting now, but I’m sure you’ll be amazed by Iceland, the photos I’ve seen! and I’m sure it’s even more breathtaking in person. (You’ll have to come back to tour Ireland and Scotaland as well, both are stunning!!)

        Yes, I love how thanks to cheap flights I was able to jet off to Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, etc. even when I was a college student for about $30-50. I was under the impression that domestic flights within the US are cheap, that’s not the case?
        Stella @ Stellicious Life recently posted…Oriental Lentil Casserole

        • Reply
          Davida @ The Healthy Maven
          June 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

          Not like Europe, unfortunately! And even less so in Canada and Toronto –> US. We get charged international taxes even though some flights are less than an hour to the states! It’s craaaazy! Thank you, lovely! Hoping to visit Scotland one day and would love to get back to Ireland!

  • Reply
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs
    June 16, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Spending the $50 on my Nexus card is very probably the best $50 I’ve ever spent. Actually, it’s a toss up between that and my dolly cart I use in my condo.

    I will; however, check a bag. Mainly because it helps with my Trader Joe’s purchases, and only if I’m actually planning on going to TJ’s while in the US.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Online Dating in 10 Steps

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      June 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      haha okay I get that! I’m just terrible and hide them in my “personal item”…which is not so personal lol

  • Reply
    Greg Semos
    June 19, 2016 at 7:55 am

    As a seasoned traveler and organization nut, it amazes me how often people can’t keep track of their expenses. Piles of paper, and wrinkled notes are not the way to know what you are spending and where. Expensify, a great online app lets you click a picture of your receipt, and automatically have it scanned and entered into a very friendly spreadsheet. Download it, or even better, get your accountant or organization to adopt it and never fill out a form again. Best part, you can use it for free for ever. If your a company, it’s a few dollars a month, and it saves dozens of hours of time, tracking entering and filing.

  • Reply
    Alysia at Slim Sanity
    June 21, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I never actually checked a bag ever in my entire life until we went to Colorado in January. Because 1) I have a fear of lost luggage and 2) I have a fear of spending stupid amounts of money. Honestly checking the bag was way cheaper than I thought. And now that we have to travel with a child and a bazillion different things, checking a bag is probably the norm. Waaah!

    PS so jealous of your morning routine!!!! Can’t wait until I can work from home…some day. 🙂 Even then I’ll probably still get up at 5 AM because I’m a freak like that.
    Alysia at Slim Sanity recently posted…Fresh Basil Spread

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      June 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      You’re lucky you’re an early riser! I hate waking up before 9:00 AM but I do it cause I have to!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats
    June 21, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    GLOBAL ENTRY KICKS ASS! However last trip….. Uh, it didn’t really help all that much because apparently I had “explosives” on my clothing. LMFAO! And they took my tuna! DAMMIT!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…HOT DOG! These Are Good!

  • Reply
    Lynn @ The Actor's Diet
    June 29, 2016 at 1:17 am

    TSA Precheck saved my life!
    Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet recently posted…Baked Sesame Tofu and Vegetables

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